One of my favorite things about the Tampa Bay Area (besides the natural beauty, of course…) is discovering the little nuggets of its unique history. That’s what a writer loves to do — we soak up everything. And in the process we’re able to see how the big picture developed and show it to you through our stories.
The Hunt for Justice books are set in Tampa, Florida, where the fictional star of this series, Judge Willa Carson, lives with her husband George and their two labradors. George owns a 5-Star restaurant and they live on the premises. Wouldn’t you love to have gourmet room service meals prepared precisely as you wish every day? I definitely would!
Very often, the things I learn about Tampa inform the fiction in my books. This is true of the food too! It’s no surprise that I made Willa’s husband a chef, with Tampa Bay’s abundance of top-rating eateries.
Here’s a fun look at some of Tampa’s top dining choices.
Armani’s is one of the city’s most celebrated gourmet restaurants. Guests enjoy Italian cuisine while taking in the breathtaking view of Old Tampa Bay from the 14th floor of the Grand Hyatt. Those seeking an exceptionally luxurious meal can opt for the Presidential Dinner, a series of seven courses paired with fine wines. After the meal, visitors can wind down in the neighboring lounge which offers live entertainment from a classical pianist. Of course, before entering the establishment guests must ensure that they are dressed appropriately – athletic wear, tennis shoes, or T-shirts are not allowed.
Although more casual than Armani’s, Bizou Brasserie is a Tampa icon. Located in the former federal courthouse, the restaurant offers an American Nouveau cuisine alongside a wide variety of uniquely crafted cocktails. Live music can be enjoyed most Friday nights, featuring a mix of local talent.
Bizou Brasserie – Image courtesy of TripAdvisor
Café Largo is another popular eatery, known for its intimate atmosphere and elegance. Located in the gorgeous Belleair Bluffs neighborhood, the establishment has offered guests a unique space to enjoy romantic dinners or host private parties since 1986. A bistro, a café, and a fine dining restaurant all mixed into one, Café Largo has much to offer! The facility also provides private cooking lessons for those seeking to hone their gourmet cooking skills.
Established in 1948, Beachcomber is another of Tampa’s legendary landmarks. Frequented by local politicians and business leaders, the site has been home to many important meetings and luxurious dinners. The original building was built on Mandalay Avenue by owners Robert Heilman Sr. and Eva Nelle Heilman, but sadly burned in 1959. The Beachcomber was quickly rebuilt and is still a perfect place to relax while enjoying an elegant atmosphere and a satisfying meal. The restaurant specializes in prime stakes and seafood paired with a wide selection of wines.