Introducing 11 Kid Friendly Eateries That Wow Out-Of-Towners

new (2)We’ve only been in Florida for one year, but I already have my handful of spots I take guests. When looking for restaurant to take someone that is visiting Tampa Bay, I stick to the following requirements:

  • Kid Friendly – most of my guests are here to see the kids so this is a priority.
  • Good Food – a given!
  • Appealing Atmosphere – two for one if you will, see the sights and eat while you do it. Yes, sometime the food is the atmosphere.
  • “Mostly” Non-Chain – there are some great chain restaurants out there, but my rule (most of the time) is to never take someone where they could eat at home. Exceptions: Paciugo and Cooper’s Hawk.

Following is a list of my personal favorites along with a few submissions from fellow Tampa Bay Moms Blog Contributors.

  1. Bella Brava, 204 Beach Dr NE, St Petersburg, FL 33701 –trattoria16 Located in downtown St. Petersburg, this local favorite provides amazing pasta dishes and loads of people-watching. TIPS: Sit outside, kids portions are very large, do the Pasta Brava.

  2. Paciugo Gelato & Caffé, 300 Beach Dr, Ste. 120, St Petersburg, FL 33701 – 36fd5618cebe53b206fcd07082e85b37This is the only location in Florida and the gelato is downright diet busting worthy. TIPS: Sample, you can choose up to 3 flavors in the small size, sample again, try Violet.

  3. The Boardwalk Grill, Johns Pass Boardwalk, Madeira Beach, FL 33708 – boardwalkgrillAs the name suggests, it’s a hidden “fast-food” gem along the John’s Pass boardwalk. The food is cheap and a bit greasy HOWEVER the onion rings are as big as your hand and they have quite possibly the best burger this side of the bay. TIPS: Bring your camera, you are likely to see dolphins while you wait, fries are not impressive.

  4. Clear Sky Café, 490 Mandalay Ave, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767 – clearskyMost visitors to Clearwater Beach hit Pier 60 and stop! This café is the reason to head north. It’s not quite on the water but definitely a refreshing spot after a long day in the sand. TIPS: Check live music schedule, stop for photo ops in the lifeguard chair, shop the small portion menu!

  5. Cigar City Brew Pub, 15491 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33624 – ccbDon’t let cigars + brews scare you from taking the entire family. This is the spot to taste some local brews and enjoy a Cuban sandwich. TIPS: Grass-fed burgers, beer flights and Root Cream (root beer + cream soda)

  6. Wildflower Cafe, 1465 S Ft Harrison Ave #105, Clearwater, FL 33756 – main-buldingIt’s ok that there’s not much to see here because you will be staring at your food. Known throughout the bay as a breakfast spot, many also enjoy the soup and salad offerings at lunch. TIPS: Go early. (They close at 2:30 p.m. most days.) It’s a local favorite, Sunday Brunch, malted Belgian waffle!

  7. Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, (Three locations: 1901 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL; 13020 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL; Market Place East, 1912 W Brandon Blvd, Brandon, FL) – ClearwaterWhat visitor doesn’t love pizza? When you can’t decide on where to go, Anthony’s is always a crowd pleaser. TIPS: Paul & Young Ron, check out the lunch specials.

  8. Ukulele Brands, 4805 Land O’ Lakes Blvd, Land O Lakes, FL 34639 –    IMG_5351This is casual Florida dining at it’s best. Go for the fish, stay for the music. TIPS: Fisherman’s BLT, turtle and fish viewing on the patio, skip the weekend nights.

  9. The Shrimp Boat Grille, 1020 Bloomingdale Ave, Valrico, FL 33596 – shrimp-boat-grillDon’t let the name fool you. The Shrimp Boat offers an upscale atmosphere, five-star service and some of the best seafood around. Save room for chocolate cake, described by some as nirvana! TIPS: Coconut shrimp, $3 draft specials, call ahead reservations, Category 4 Tasting = kids at home.

  10. Chocolate Pi, 1205 S Howard Ave, Tampa, FL 33606 chocpiCupcakes, gelato, macaroons and pie…OH MY! Your guests will swoon over everything in this boutique bakery in SoHo, even the lattés. TIPS: Menu changes daily, order a few items and share, pack macaroons as a parting gift.

  11. Cooper’s Hawk Winery, 4110 W Boy Scout Blvd, Tampa, FL 33607 tampa Wine. More wine. Cooper’s Hawk also offers one of the BEST kid’s menus: chicken noodle soup, potstickers, salmon, etc. Fact: They are the nation’s only wine bottling recycling line. TIPS: Gluten free menu, Happy Hour starts at 3 p.m. so you can go early enough to have a late lunch and $5 glass of wine before the crowd!

We would love to hear where other Tampa Bay moms are taking out-of-towners. Please pass on your favorite spots.

(all images via location websites)

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