Stroll through an Oldsmar farmers market early in the morning and you might run into Andrew Koumi rifling through baskets of tomatoes in search of the ripest ones. The mastermind behind Green Market Cafe, Andrew was still in college when he hatched the plan to open an eatery that served healthy takes on sandwiches and soups. When discussing the inspiration behind the restaurant with reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, Andrew explained, "I wanted to create a place where I'd like to go and eat everyday."
Arms laden with bags of produce, Andrew returns to his café, where his chefs fold the fresh vegetables into crisp salads and toasty grilled flatbreads. Because everything is made to order, chefs are able to accommodate special requests, adding extra tomatoes or picking out any raisins that look too much like a California Raisin. Diners chitchat over cups of organic tea inside the colorful dining room, an open space tinted with greens, purples, and pinks to please the eye. The building is also home to Kiwi Frozen Yogurt, Green Market Cafe's sister shop, which serves wholesome yogurt with candy and fruit toppings.
Founded 25 years ago by Bostonian Bob Theriault, the Boston Cooker crafts definitive New England dishes from fresh seafood flown in weekly. A hearty cup of New England chowder ($2.99) or a bowl of sherry-imbued lobster bisque ($4.50) offer tasty starting points on the fish-laden menu, while shrimp and eggplant Parmesan ($12.99) delivers ample bounty from land and sea with eight grilled shrimp over eggplant steeped in marinara. A glass of house Chardonnay ($4.50) pairs well with broiled and buttery Boston Scrod ($15.99) as well as the baked stuffed flounder topped with a delicate Newburg sauce ($14.50). Patrons can imagine they're in an old New England eatery while quaffing Boston brew Samuel Adams ($3) in a wood-paneled dining room bedecked with Red Sox and Bruins banners and wall-mounted fish. Finish the meal with a rich Boston cream pie ($3.99) before protesting the tyrannical English government by throwing shiploads of Queen Elizabeth's electro-rap album into Tampa Bay.
Suro pairs a sushi menu filled with fresh selections with a seasonally changing dinner menu. The spring and summer menu featured festive first-course options, like the barbecue-glazed bacon-wrapped shrimp ($9), and the crispy duck spring rolls ($9), while Suro’s mighty main fare pleased protein-lovers, like the Dijon and panko-crusted rack of lamb served over a parsnip puree and drizzled with blueberry-port demi glace ($25), or dayboat sea scallops served over corn fondue and chorizo ($24). Suro also offers pearly portions of fresh nigiri and sashimi ($2+), alongside rolled classics ($5+) and artfully constructed maki. Conquer culinary mountains by ordering the Mount Fuji, a swaddled tuna, salmon, and snapper creation with fresh veggies flash-fried and topped with Suro’s house lava sauce.
Central Park's ingredient-stacking chefs craft a menu of amply portioned bread cocoons that span international borders. The Midtown meatball sandwich's house-made meatballs orbit a fresh-baked hoagie roll amid a nebula of marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese ($6.99), and the Pittsburgh pastrami glazes the namesake protein with spicy mustard, adding heaping strata of grilled onions and swiss cheese to its grilled rye bread ($7.29). The deli's continental comestibles include an array of wraps ($6.29–$6.99) hermetically sealed to preserve flavor, as well as a gyro whose beef and lamb blossom within its pita casing, unfurling a kaleidoscopic mixture of onion, tomato, and tzatziki sauce ($5.99). Central Park accessorizes its crusty creations with a slew of sides, such as its house-made coleslaw and potato salad ($1.79 each), evoking childhood memories of picnics and capture-the-mountain-lion tournaments.
Café Kiln offers a variety of ways to cultivate creativity. Paint and glaze a blank piece of pottery, fuse glass, tile your own mosaic, or nurse a tender hunk of clay into form. The all-inclusive art emporium doesn't charge a studio fee, and all supplies (glaze, tools, instruction, paints) are included. Start by selecting your piece of pottery or mosaic shape. Consult stencils and stamps for design direction if you're stumped on the design—with more than 100 colors to choose from, Café Kiln rivals the Crayola Big Box with its wardrobe of hues. Mosaic creations will be ready for you to take home that day. Allow a week for pottery pieces to be fired and glazed.
Many of the exotic herbs and flavorful spices in the kitchen of Desi Tadka came from India, where tropical trees grow thick with curry leaves and colorful flowers blossom with saffron. The eatery's chefs fold these traditional spices into a sweeping variety of authentic Indian dishes, pulling from recipes indigenous to the province of Punjab. They stir tender morsels of chicken, lamb, and seafood into delicate curries, and garnish aromatic biryani rice dishes with sliced almonds. The chefs bake kebabs and tandoori specialties in a fiery clay oven, along with naan breads stuffed with garlic, chicken, and vegetables.
As chefs oversee the cooking in the kitchen, servers bustle about the dining room. They refill glasses of fine international wines and uncap frosty bottles of imported Indian beers. When taking orders, the servers take note of special dietary concerns, such as an aversion to spicy food or a tendency to transform into a field mouse upon eating any kind of gluten.