Waterfront Restaurants That Are Making a Splash in Tampa Bay

Downtown Tampa
••• Chumbley Photography / Getty Images

Whether you're traveling to Tampa Bay for a romantic getaway, or just want to enjoy the view while you're in town for a leisurely vacation or business trip, you can dine out at one of the many waterfront restaurants in the city for a truly unique experience in central Florida.

Nothing spells romance quite like an evening over drinks and a sizzling steak with a sunset at your doorstep. Even if you're not with a significant other, waterfront dining is bound to make any evening more special.

From Bahama Breeze to Whiskey Joe's, there's a variety of restaurants in the Tampa area serving everything from seafood and Italian food to local specialties like crocodile nuggets and gumbo. While some are expensive and only available with a reservation, others offer a more relaxed environment—and one is only accessible by boat.

  • 01 of 05

    At Bahama Breeze, you will find tropical cocktails and seafood, chicken, and steak inspired by the flavorful and colorful ingredients of the Caribbean. At this gorgeous Tampa Bay location, you'll also experience patio dining, a beachy decor, and a priceless view overlooking the bay. One word to the wise: the place gets incredibly busy on the weekends, so don't think you can just breeze in whenever the spirit prompts. Reservations are required here.

  • 02 of 05

    As the name suggests, Hula Bay offers Hawaiian-style food with a dockside lounge and island bar. Not only can you dine while watching all the boats amble by, but you can also relax poolside later with a beverage in hand. You'll likely need a reservation on the weekend, and there's even a special "brunch by the bay" on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • 03 of 05

    The best thing on the menu at Jackson's is the sushi, and you can pair it with a shot of sake to really get your evening on a "roll." Other features include a full line of gluten-free and vegan options, an awesome waterfront view of downtown Tampa, and three different rooms for music including Top 40, Latin, and techno. Jackson's Bistro was also named the winner of the Wine Spectator Award in 2017 for its hand-picked selection of international and domestic wines.

  • 04 of 05

    A replacement for the Sloppy Pelican (which is a tale in itself), this seafood eatery features jumbo shrimp the size of a pork chop, live music, a full bar, and killer sunsets to wind up a perfect evening on St. Pete Beach in Tampa. Featuring happy hour specials including a 24-ounce "chum runner" drink, seafood, and American favorites like chicken wings and fries, Shark Tales is more of a dive bar and restaurant than a place for romance.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Whiskey Joe's bills itself as Tampa's only boat-up beach bar, which means you can land by canoe, catamaran, or any other form of watercraft before hopping onto dry land to enjoy a coconut full of Hurricane Juice at the Barefoot Bar. Food is mainly local specialties, but don't be surprised if you encounter little out-of-the-way exotica like alligator nuggets as well.