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Skip the Beach in Tampa

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2. Where to Eat


Beer and wine on display at the Refinery (left); the dining room at edison: food+drink lab (right).  

Snag a reservation for dinner at the Refinery, which has earned three James Beard Award nominations since opening in 2010. Housed in a converted Craftsman-style bungalow on an industrial stretch in Seminole Heights, the restaurant features a homey aesthetic and a market-oriented weekly menu that mixes high and low: Think sweetbread-stuffed tomatoes ($10) offered alongside a vegetarian sloppy joe ($13).

Channel your inner food geek at edison: food+drink lab, where you’ll find liquid-nitrogen milkshakes ($4), a dessert menu designed around a map of the taste buds, and wine served by the 375 mL Erlenmeyer flask (from $15). Opened last August by chef Jeannie Pierola, formerly of famous Bern’s Steakhouse, the restaurant is appropriately illuminated by lots of Edison bulbs and has a menu that changes daily, as the chef reinterprets classics for her du jour egg dishes ($11), charcuterie boards ($12), and PB&J sandwiches ($9).

Relive Tampa’s past as a gangster haven at Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club, where the Prohibition-era theatrics include a dress code, a password required to bypass the unmarked entrance (given to you when you book a table), a written list of house rules, and a waitstaff decked out in pearls, suspenders, and fedoras. The cocktails are a throwback to the twenties, but the food is less self-consciously retro, anchored by a slate of small plates including black-truffle popcorn ($9), raw oysters with Bloody Mary sorbet ($18), and prime beef tartare with a foie gras emulsion and fried quail egg ($18).


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