With the beauty of Florida's biggest bay on our downtown doorstep, Tampa Bay is home to a trove of tremendous options for local seafood. Crack open a crab leg, have at a half-shell! From grouper and pompano to stone crabs and Gulf oysters, be ready with your cocktail sauce -- your taste buds will thank you.
Recently added to downtown's convention district, this high-profile hang-out has a home in the Tampa Convention Center and includes a large balcony facing Franklin Street. The giant blue crab over the door should tell you all you need to know about the menu here.
Big Ray's Fish Camp
A staple of the Ballast Point neighborhood south of downtown, Big Ray's has added an outpost at the Tampa Convention Center next to The Sail, so you can have great waterfront views to go with your stone crab claws, grouper, and shrimp roll.
The Cuban and Spanish roots of this Tampa Bay institution (Florida's oldest restaurant) mean seafood plays a huge role in the menu. Great Florida fish such as grouper and pompano are always on the menu, as are shellfish. Go all the way with an authentic Spanish paella for a full seafood binge.
Oysters, oysters, and more oysters. Have them charbroiled drowning in butter, garlic and Parmesan cheese. You'll also find awesome fish, but oysters are where it's at. Wash them down in an in-house craft brew and a Tampa Bay sunset.
Perched among mangroves on the edge of the bay west of downtown, this perennial favorite may be a little tough to reach, but that makes a meal there all the more appealing. The panoramic view of the bay let you catch glimpses of pelicans skimming inches over the water or diving headfirst for a meal as you dive into your own delicious fish dish.
You'll get hooked on the laid-back, open-air vibe of this casual spot on the west end of the Gandy Bridge. The waterfront location makes it a perfect spot for boating into for a weekend bite. Or you can rent a paddleboard on site and explore the mangroves to work off that basket of shrimp or grouper sandwich.