I’ve been living in Tampa for almost 20 years now. We moved here because Miami was way too expensive, and now I’ve been here for two decades. There’s Tampa in my blood, even. Because my opinion probably equates to more than the average person’s that means I know a lot more about Tampa than most people. As such, I feel the need to give my thoughts on the best restaurant in Tampa.
First up, I will always recommend Cena. I know what you’re all thinking, and no. This restaurant is not operated by the world famous wrestler John Cena. I don’t know if I can fit all of my thoughts into this review. Think of everything you love about all of your favorite restaurants (unless you’ve never left your house) and multiply them by ten. In order to organize my thoughts and drastically reduce the size of this review, I am going to focus on a couple of the most important aspects that I think each restaurant characterizes well.
Cena’s specialty is pretty much all aspects of the restaurant experience. If you think of it, this Tampa restaurant has it. Unless you’re thinking of something that’s unrelated to Italian food, of course. Cena has all of the classics and so much more, so don’t hesitate to bring your picky children here. The dishes are all very filling, since Italian food is pretty much just 100% carbs. Your kids could even share a dish or two. I know a lot of people anticipate Italian restaurants to be on the expensive side, because it’s associated with class.
Luckily, all of the food is very reasonably priced. My favorite dishes are pretty much everything on the menu, which ranges from spaghetti to fettucini alfredo. I know a lot of restaurants just tote how fresh all of their ingredients are, but a lot of people don’t actually know what that means anymore. Cena’s chefs put a lot of thought and care into what produce they select, and it pays off in the end. It seems like each chef pours their soul into each order, and their sole purpose in life is to make sure that you have a good dining experience.
Another thing I love about Cena is the staff’s willingness to be friendly and helpful, even when they’re struggling to maintain their composure during the extremely busy times. I have seen Cena get PACKED, and somehow the staff always pulls through with a smile on their face. All of the waiters do their job well, making sure your glass is full without bothering you too much. I have to say, the servers at Cena really know how to strike a perfect balance between being really helpful and too helpful. On top of this, I’m always surprised at how clean the restaurant is. The tables are clean, the dishes are clean, and even the bathrooms are spotless.
A lot of restaurants usually skip over the bathroom part because they’re trying to stay efficient and bathrooms are supposed to be unsanitary. I don’t know how Cena’s staff does it. Cena is located in Tampa’s Channel district, which has some pretty buildings but not a whole lot of natural scenery. I’d recommend staying inside for this one. Because the owner is a loyal customer of ours, I know him and how he operates his business. Everyone likes to hear how well their restaurant is managed and how good the food is.
He has paid for our Tampa hood cleaning services for a very long time, and usually opts to select some of the additional services like kitchen equipment cleaning. You can never be too safe when it comes to restaurant safety. If you’re curious to learn more about us, make sure to read the about page on our website. I know one person’s opinion may not mean a lot, but Cena has a lot of positive online reviews that also sum up everything I have said.
Roux is next on my list, but don’t discredit it because it’s not at the top. Roux offers Southern cuisine, but with a New Orleans twist. Luckily for me, catfish and alligator are some of my favorite things to eat. This restaurant is right on the Tampa coast, so if you order something that wouldn’t spoil during the trip there then I’d suggest sitting on the coast. Roux has these really great lights on the interior that replicate natural lighting, so either option works.
Personally I’d prefer to stay inside because it’s less humid, and I like the music that they play. It’s not too loud, so you can actually carry a conversation while you eat. Tampa restaurants that blast music are the worst, because then everyone else raises their voices to overpower it. Again, the food, service, and overall experience here are great as well. My only complaint is that my stomach is so small, and Southern food is so filling. It may not be for everyone, but I know that it’s definitely for me. A lot of people online clearly had the same idea, that’s why there are so many great reviews online for Roux.
And finally, if you’re still unimpressed then there’s Fabrica Pizza. I love a good pizza, especially when it’s near Tampa’s Channel district. Must be a recurring theme in that area, having amazing food. If you thought the pizza at Cena was good, wait until you try it here. Pizzas are better when a place specializes in them, because that way all the ingredients revolve around that one dish. Even if you’re not much into pizzas, there are plenty of salads and side dishes to order.
I love the breadsticks as well, but there are still healthier alternatives if you’re dying for an appetizer. Overall, I don’t think I can decide which restaurant is my favorite. They’re each my favorite in their own little way, and that’s what so great about Tampa. I wish I could write as many positive reviews as everyone else, but my fingers couldn’t take all that writing.