When it comes to waterfront dining at Riverhouse Reef & Grill, the views aren't limited to just stunning sunsets over the Manatee River and Tampa Bay. The eatery's dockside seats overlook the scenic mile-wide Manatee River and is surrounding by the Regatta Pointe Marina. Diners can view dolphins playing, manatees napping, and breathtaking sunsets from Tampa Bay. Amid that natural tableau, Riverhouse's cooks bring the freshest catches to their tables, from their signature lobster pot pie, fresh Gulf oysters, local caught grouper and Mahi, and Gulf seafood pasta.
But seafood isn't the only edible draw here. The culinary team also specializes in preparing certified Angus beef, including burgers crowned with cajun crawfish sauce, seasoned sirloins, and house-cut ribeye steaks. Cooks cater to vegetarians too, with dishes such as grilled portabella sandwiches with roasted red peppers and parsley pesto. Meanwhile, their waterfront bar serves up a variety of draft beers including Key West Ale house margaritas, and signature martinis, and features an extensive wine list. Riverhouse also features a daily happy hour and a Sunday brunch menu.
There's a reason that everyone refers to Tara Sell as Sweets. A true southern belle, Tara is not only sweet and friendly in demeanor, she spends most of her time in the Sweets' Bakehouse kitchen, whipping up a delightful array of sugary treats. Within her colorful turquoise shop—firmly rooted in Bradenton's Village of the Arts—Tara and her kitchen crew fold local Florida and Georgia produce and premium ingredients into creative cakes and inventive baked goods. This also extends to lunchtime, where customers have choices such as gourmet sandwiches and wraps. Throughout the year, Tara spreads her culinary expertise amongst aspiring cooks during her fun and informative cooking classes.
A family-owned eatery overflowing with friendly service, SweetBerries comforts lonesome stomachs with blankets of tasty custard, fresh soups, crisp salads, and loaded sandwiches. The menu transports tongue buds to the Big Easy with the New Orleans muffaletta sandwich, piled high with savory meats and homemade garlic-and-olive salad ($6.99). Take a romp through a fancy cheese garden by opting for the savory gorgonzola salad ($6.89), then reward your diligent plate-landscaping accomplishments with a delectable custard indulgence. Put on your best creativity cap or diamond-encrusted hard hat to prepare for a Concrete concoction, which includes a helping of hard-packed frozen custard blended with your choice of candied, fruit-filled, or nutty accoutrements ($3.30/small with one mix-in; $.60 for each additional mix-in).
At The Firkin & Fox, Tampa-area gentlefolk bond over a menu of English-inflected pub fare alongside a selection of 16 draft beers. Crispy calamari ($8.99) runs on chipotle dipping sauce, and traditional fish 'n' chips ($7.99 for one piece; $10.99 for two pieces) or cottage pie ($8.99) pay edible homage to America’s allies across the Atlantic: the Luxembourgers. The Firkin burger, topped with bacon, jack cheese, and chipotle onions ($9.99), meets hourly meat quotas, and the portobello-mushroom sandwich ($7.99) shimmers with a balsamic glaze and pesto mayo. Draught beers such as Bass and Boddingtons—hearty ales from Britain—complement rousing games of billiards. The convivial pub invites communal dining in or out of doors, and boasts a squad of sportscasting televisions with immaculate hairdos.
While it is a fine purveyor of Hispanic foodstuffs, Acapulco Tropical also dishes out flavorful Mexican fare in the kitchen of its in-store café. Relying on natural, native ingredients, chefs create traditional dishes for carnivorous and seafood-centric palates. Early risers can catch a breakfast of huevos con nopales, in which eggs team with zesty seasonings and cacti culinary wits ($5.49). To launch lunchtime appetites, try a griddled quesadilla filled with asada, carnitas, pollo, pastor, or queso ($1.99). Or fill up mouth caverns with anytime entrees of burritos with a choice of any meat with rice and beans ($3.75), nachos ($6.49), or tortas ($4.25).
At Samurai Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, the chefs set out to create a fully engaging dining experience for guests, relying on showmanship and knife skills in addition to interesting flavor combinations. Surrounded by rich earth tones and in front of patrons' very eyes, they man gas-heated hibachi grills and juggle platefuls of steak, seafood, and vegetables into flashes of fire. Across the room, the sushi chefs avoid open flames and high-wattage light bulbs entirely as they roll a number of traditional and contemporary maki, filling each one with delicate cuts of fish and piquant dabs of sauce. Amid the bustle of flashing knives, sputtering grill tops, and standing ovations, flat-screen TVs also keep guests entertained at the restaurant's fully stocked bar.