Gerard Jamgotchian, a native of Marseilles, France and L'Eden's chef, plates up a menu of homemade esculent experiences with diverse flavors from exotic locales such as India, Panama, and the Mediterranean. Amid the dark wood and exposed brick of the dining room or outside in the covered garden, morning munchers can rev up the day with a savory breakfast croissant, featuring eggs, ham, and swiss cheese, served with fresh fruit ($5.95). Open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, L'Eden slings out French classics such as ratatouille stew ($7.50), a duck-and-brie crépe ($14), or quiche lorraine ($9.50). Sample selections from various worldly regions without the use of red teleportation slippers by sinking teeth into the petit couscous inspired by Tunisian cuisine ($12), the vegetables biryani from India ($12), or the shaslik filet-mignon kebabs hailing from mother Russia ($14). L'Eden also carries a wine roster boasting selections from vineyards of France, Italy, California, and the child-laden hills of Neverland.
A complimentary glass of champagne greets each guest as they find their seats and prepare to embark on a three-hour journey. The two dozen adventurous souls converse, but grow quiet as a figure walks through a red curtain. Chef Richard Bottini introduces himself and describes the special menu of gourmet, seasonal dishes he has planned for the evening. True to its name, the restaurant features just six tables, and every meal at Six Tables is an intimate experience with twinkling lights illuminating antique crystal in a setting Gayot named as one of the top 10 romantic restaurants in the area.
Bottini, an award-winning chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, creates a new six-course prix fixe menu every day using seasonal ingredients and his expansive knowledge of French cooking. In the kitchen, he personally prepares each course, incorporating such delectables as Cornish hen and poached duck breast. Bottini breaks down each menu item in English or Klingon to diners and offers wine pairings with dishes, which can be tailored according to taste and diet.
Owner Linda Carr funnels years of food-industry experience and a deep passion for her community into Bagelicious & More, a friendly breakfast and lunch site that slings always-fresh bagels, midday snacks, and low-cal WiFi. Bagels run the flavor gamut from savory asiago to delicately sweet blueberry, and larger, egg-laden breakfasts lend a helping hand to CEOs who accidentally napped through the first two fiscal quarters. Lunch breakers can feast on hearty sandwiches and wraps or leafy salads, and a never-ending supply of Seattle’s Best coffee helps aspiring auctioneers ramp up to top price-shouting speed.
The shop offers traditional espresso drinks and bistro fare in a warm, rustic environment. A patio overlooks Munn Park for those who enjoy consuming bistro fare, such as panini sandwiches ($6.95+), salads ($3.95+), and a 24 oz. coffee frappe ($4.05) or a double-shot of espresso ($1.95). While feasting, enjoy the free WiFi in an oxygen-rich outdoor setting, or stay inside to take in the splendor of a 103-year-old brick wall. Black & Brew also features live entertainment such as acoustic music and improv comedy on occasional Friday and Saturday evenings.
Prepare 1,000 lunches in less than 20 hours. That was the challenge posed for The Brunchery’s catering staff. The eatery’s experts met the daunting request, quickly assembling the hefty sandwiches that The Brunchery has perfected throughout its more than 25 years in business. When President George W. Bush came to Tampa, the White House called upon The Brunchery's catering. In addition to corned beef, grilled grouper, and shaved steak piled on deli rye bread and kaiser rolls, The Brunchery plies guests with half-pound burgers seasoned by chipotle mayo and dill pickles.
But as its name implies, the restaurant doesn’t just craft food for lunch; it’s possibly best known for its morning treats. Made-from-scratch hollandaise sauce for benedicts and golden pancakes have earned The Brunchery awards including Best Place for Breakfast/Brunch from readers of the South Tampa Community News in 2010. When NBC interviewed owner Greg Elliot, the feature zeroed in on the restaurant’s signature french toast, which mingles cream-cheese sauce, bananas, strawberries, and slivered almonds.
Guests devour this lavish creation and others while dining among the dining room’s decorative dishware, Coke bottles, and shelves. Many of the objects come from Greg’s family, such as a hutch his great-great-grandfather built in the 1800s, making guests feel as at home as a rabbit in a top hat.
Inspired by the unique tastes and recipes of the Iberian peninsula, Chef Felix Piedra crafts a menu of inventive tapas and entrees to complement the spicy atmosphere of his Vizcaya Restaurante and Tapas Bar. There, he cooks up hot and cold tapas—dishes designed for sharing—featuring exotic seafood and béchamel sauce and infuses entrees such as Black Angus filet and paella with Spanish touches such as piquillo peppers. Piedra's sommeliers curate an extensive wine list that includes varietals from Spain, Argentina, and Australia, though patrons sometimes eschew international bottles for glasses of sangria, made in-house from caramelized fruit and muscatel and Rioja wines. Occasionally during dinner hours, flamenco dancers perform their passionate dance moves on the restaurant's stage, spinning majestically to traditional Spanish music while stomping out the text of Don Quixote in Morse code.