The 22 best Tampa Bay dishes our food critic ate in 2022
What was one of the best factor I ate final yr? It’s a query I ask myself each December, as I whirl by a group of meals photographs on my telephone, sift by recollections of meals and go over notes scribbled to myself tableside the previous one year.
There was the quesabirria taco I ate on one of many coldest nights of the yr, oozing crisp edges of melted cheese and dunked right into a warming darkish crimson consomme. The crispy-fried latkes paired with caviar over an extended, Aperol Spritz-soaked brunch with buddies. There was the dreamy uncooked scallop dish served in a punchy chive-laced cream and fiery strips of cumin- and chile-spiked lamb that made my lips tingle with pleasure. There was vegan sushi and Dan Dan noodles and the creamiest of panna cottas. There was simply a lot.
Whittling down my annual rundown of favourite dishes isn’t a simple feat, however right here they’re, in no explicit rating or order: my most memorable bites of 2022.
Editor’s be aware: A number of of the dishes listed under first appeared in our weekly Style publication. For updates on the most recent restaurant and eating information, join here.
This story is a part of our Greatest New Eating places of 2022 sequence. Approaching Wednesday: Tampa Bay’s Greatest New Eating places of 2022.
Sesame tuna salad at The Tides Seafood Market & Provisions
I really like this charming seafood market and restaurant in downtown Security Harbor, which highlights regional seafood, meats and produce. I’m significantly smitten with their sesame tuna salad, a tasty mixture of seared ahi tuna and avocado, mango, radishes, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes, all served over a mattress of contemporary greens from Brick Avenue Farms.
305 Important St., Security Harbor. 727-699-8433. thetidesmarket.com.
Dan Dan noodles at Dang Dude
There’s loads to like on Dang Dude’s fast-casual menu at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa, however I used to be significantly wowed by this bowl of fiery Dan Dan noodles. Slick with a creamy Sichuan peppercorn sauce, the thick noodles are topped with fried shallots, which add each taste and a substantial amount of dimension. The noodles are nice on their very own however even higher with a couple of items of the spot’s tender lemongrass rooster.
615 Channelside Drive, Tampa. dang-dude.com.
Mussels at Brick and Mortar
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Dinner at St. Petersburg gem Brick and Mortar is all the time a deal with, filled with reliable favorites (the tuna tartare, the braised brief rib, the burger). However of us can be sensible to not miss out on the occasional specials, which on one night included Prince Edward Island mussels swimming in a wealthy tomato sauce studded with morsels of chorizo and white beans, served with a charred lemon wedge and crispy toast for dunking.
539 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-822-6540.
Huarache con carne asada at El Huarache Veloz
The specialty at this Pinellas Park Mexican restaurant is the huarache with carne asada, made with a masa dough folded round smashed black beans and fried till golden and crispy. Thick strips of grilled steak, scallions, nopales (prickly pear cactus), queso fresco, cilantro and a pink salsa are piled on prime — a pleasant mixture of flavors, texture and plenty of spice.
7100 forty ninth St. N, Pinellas Park. 727-525-6028.
Burrata at Timpano
The Hyde Park Village restaurant does a singular tackle the basic cheese-and-tomato combo, the place the gentle, creamy orb of burrata is paired with Sicilian pistachio butter and a candy and sticky tomato jam. Paired with crusty slices of grilled bread, there’s some genius candy and savory mingling occurring. It’s laborious to not fall for that sort of grownup peanut-butter-and-jelly enchantment.
1610 W Swann Ave., Tampa. 813-254-5870. timpanohydepark.com.
Fish unfold at Trophy Fish
There are few smoked fish spreads I don’t love, however one in every of my all-time favorites has come to be the one served at Trophy Fish, St. Petersburg’s out of doors cocktail bar and seafood hub. Made with fresh-caught amberjack and served with a bevy of vibrant and colourful pickled cauliflower, pink onions, jalapenos and Fresno chiles, I wish to pair it with a dunk within the fiery home made scorching sauce and the crunchy garlic-rubbed crostini.
2060 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-258-7883. trophyfishstpete.com.
Vegan sushi at Home of Vegano
Who would have thought 2022 can be the yr Tampa Bay found vegan sushi? At St. Petersburg’s Home of Vegano, proprietor Thalia Tatham makes a convincing argument for throwing out the fish. I really like her volcano rolls, made with lion’s mane and king oyster mushrooms, avocados, cucumbers and “spicy krab dynamite.”
655 thirty first St. S, Suite A, St. Petersburg. 727-506-8627. facebook.com/houseofvegano.
Yellowtail crudo at Haven
Among the many many wonderful decisions at this South Tampa restaurant, I particularly cherished this tackle uncooked yellowtail, which arrived paired with fava beans and crispy-fried artichokes. Punctuated with little pops of warmth from fresno peppers, a vibrant Meyer lemon French dressing tied the entire dish collectively.
2208 W Morrison Ave., Tampa. 813-258-2233. haventampa.com.
Panna cotta at SIX
Whereas testing the rooftop vibes on the JW Marriott at Water Avenue Tampa, I fell laborious for this dessert, a creamy, puddinglike vanilla bean-laced panna cotta. Topped with a passionfruit gel and studded with mangoes and a crunchy brown sugar crumble, it was like a decadent spin on a breakfast parfait, however a lot, a lot better.
510 Water St., Tampa. 813-314-6666. sixtampa.com.
Shrimp toast at Noble Rice
A standout dish at this Water Avenue Tampa Japanese restaurant, the nice and cozy toast arrives golden-fried and crispy, tucked beneath a bouquet of contemporary mint and different herbs, laced with a candy drizzle of hoisin and tiny dollops of spicy tobanjan sauce.
615 Channelside Drive, Suite 112, Tampa. 813-542-2021. noblericeco.com.
Latkes at Wild Youngster
Brunch at St. Petersburg restaurant Wild Youngster is all the time a superb time, and the golden-fried, crispy potato latkes are all the time on heavy rotation. The combo of potatoes, crema, dill and chives creates bites which are equal components chewy, salty and creamy. No matter you do, don’t skip the non-compulsory caviar “bumps.”
2710 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-954-7425. wildchildstpete.com.
Chargrilled oysters at Roam
The spotlight at this St. Petersburg restaurant are the steaks, however don’t overlook their crazy-delicious Louisiana-style chargrilled oysters. Topped in a garlicky Parmesan-laced butter, the oysters arrived bronzed and tacky — melty in some components and crispy in others, brightened with a fast squeeze of lemon juice.
3405 thirty fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. 727-346-5242. facebook.com/roamsteakhouse.
Cumin lamb at Flaming Mountain Chinese language Grill & Skewer Bar
The lip-tingling sparkle imbued by Sichuan peppercorns graces many a plate at this Tampa Chinese language restaurant, which makes a speciality of northern Chinese language flavors and cooking methods. That features this dish, that includes tender strips of lamb swathed in a fiery sauce studded with chiles, onions and scallions.
13520 College Plaza St., Tampa. 813-609-8888. flamingmountainchinese.com.
Mushroom fettuccine at Bonu Taverna
A hearty pasta made with dried porcini and blended mushrooms, this dish at downtown St. Petersburg Italian restaurant Bonu Taverna is creamy, chock-full of mushroom taste and an general decadent delight. Does it have one thing to do with the wholesome drizzle of truffle oil? Presumably.
601 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-623-4505. bonutaverna.online.
Uncooked scallop at Meliora
Skinny slices of uncooked scallop arrive swimming in fragrant scallop cream, punchy with garlic and chives, at Sarasota newcomer Meliora. The recent cream gently cooks the scallop, and the result’s one thing akin to the warming, delicate flavors of a quahog chowder.
1920 Hillview St., Sarasota. 941-444-7692. meliorarestaurant.com.
Brussels and bacon flatbread at Gulfport Brewery
Past the good beer choice, I’m a giant fan of the flatbreads at this Gulfport neighborhood spot. My favourite is the On a regular basis I’m Brusselin, which comes topped with a tasty mixture of roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy honey-laced goat cheese, crispy slices of bacon and a thick balsamic drizzle.
3007 Seaside Blvd., Gulfport. 722-954-4109. gulfport-brewing.com.
Tacos at Martha’s Mexican Restaurant
The brand new Kenneth Metropolis restaurant incorporates a conventional Mexican menu and an extended listing of tacos to select from. Friends can mix-and-match, that means you possibly can triple up and have carnitas, al pastor and quesabirria on any given night time. My favourite? Palms-down, the tender and crispy carnitas.
4747 66th St. N, Kenneth Metropolis. 727-290-9725.
Calamari at Miggs Craft Kitchen
This charming Dunedin restaurant has a stable tackle the ever-present seafood appetizer, that includes crispy, bronzed rings of calamari bolstered by the acidity from a juicy tomato compote and a dunk in creamy chipotle aioli.
1582 Important St., Dunedin. 727-238-8951. facebook.com/miggskraftkitchen.
Buffalo Soul bowl at Florish
I really like the bowl choice at this South Tampa plant-based spot, particularly the Buffalo Soul, which incorporates a colourful meeting of Buffalo-seasoned breaded Inconceivable rooster nuggets, date-roasted candy potatoes, brown rice and lime-pickled cabbage. The bowl comes topped with toasted pepitas, inexperienced onions and a creamy ranch drizzle — simply the appropriate combo of crunch, spice and tang.
2307 S Dale Mabry Freeway, Tampa. 813-251-9009. eatflorish.com.
Queso birria tacos from Te Invito
Although the quesabirria craze of 2020 appears to have waned some, one of many strongest contenders within the style stays the model served at widespread meals truck Te Invito (referred to as “queso birria,” right here). The idea hinges on tortillas made out of nixtamalized heirloom corn, which renders them extremely flavorful and fragrant, crammed with braised brief rib and cheese and fried till crispy and oozing on the flattop.
Outdoors the Brutalist, 1776 eleventh Ave. N, St. Petersburg, and different areas. instagram.com/te_invito_tampa.
Dover sole at Lilac
You’d anticipate a timeless basic like this one to be mild and buttery, brightened with citrus notes and possibly slightly tang from a scattering of capers. This dish at Lilac, the restaurant on the new Version lodge in Tampa, is all of that, and extra: Punchy from a briny porcini mushroom grenobloise, the flaky white fish comes topped with crispy croutons and served with a dreamy de Puy lentil ragout, capped with a smoked paprika cream.
500 Channelside Drive, Tampa. 813-221-4600. editionhotels.com/tampa/restaurants-and-bars/lilac.
Mushroom pierogi at Pierogi Bar
When the hankering for a pierogi hits, this new Ukrainian restaurant in St. Petersburg is the place to go. I really like the pan-fried mushroom and potato variations, paired with a dollop of bitter cream and topped with candy caramelized onions.
6661 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-381-1212. pierogi.bar.