WEST SHORE — Dining options in the West Shore and Boy Scout Boulevard corridor multiply as Darden Restaurants continues to invest in the area. The company owns Capital Grille in International Plaza and Seasons 52 in front of WestShore Plaza. Recent rumblings portend an Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse to be built near the soon-to-open Container Store.
What is certain is Darden will open its seventh Eddie V's Prime Seafood this spring, a high-end seafood and steak house with menu prices comparable to Roy's, Ocean Prime and Bern's.
"The emphasis is on seafood that was likely in the ocean or gulf less than 24 hours before it is on your plate," Darden spokesman Hunter Robinson said. "We call that top of the catch."
What makes Eddie V's stand out from the pack?
"Live music," said Robinson. "Jazz and blues seven days a week in the V Lounge, which will stay open later than the dining room."
Robinson, quoting Eddie V's president Jim VanDercook, said Tampa was chosen for their first foray into Florida "for its strong reputation as a great restaurant town. We feel it will compliment the area and will give us the opportunity to showcase our distinctive concept and first-class service."
Eddie V's, 4400 W Boy Scout Blvd.; Visit eddiev.com for more information.
Turkish treats aplenty at Istanblu in Ybor
Istanblu, which adds authentic Turkish specialities to the Ybor City cuisine scene, opened Nov. 20 on Seventh Avenue at 20th Street in the former site of Sunday's Delicatessen. Restaurateur Levent Cilek also owns Shrimp & Co. down the block.
The name Istanblu is a twist on Cilek's native city, Istanbul, with a hint at live entertainment starting soon.
An appetizer meze platter — hummus, grape leaves, baba ghanoush and more — offers a variety of tastes to start at $19.95. Proceed to a mixed grill platter for a bit of everything: chicken and lamb kabobs, adana, gyro and meatballs, $19.95 at lunch and $34.75 at dinner.
For vegetarians, a veggie saute includes green beans, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, onions and red peppers served on eggplant, $12.95. Moussaka is $14.95; doner, also known as gyro, costs $7.95 at lunch; $14.75 for dinner portions. Rib-eye shish kabob skewers, lunch $10.95 or dinner $17.75, are popular.
Save room for baklava and Turkish coffee or tea.
Istanblu restaurant and lounge, 1919 E Seventh Ave., is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; till 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and until 9 p.m. Sunday. Visit istanbluybor.com or call (813) 304-2348.
Bay Bistro brings lunch to Riverwalk
The downtown lunch crowd can enjoy salads and sandwiches on the Riverwalk when Bay Bistro opens Jan. 16 at the Tampa Convention Center.
Weekday cafe and lounge service will make the center a destination beyond special events, said Eric Blanc, director of sales and marketing. The restaurant entrance is opposite the Sail Pavilion where the center offers evening drinks and entertainment.
Aramark's $6 to $12 menu includes portobello steak salad; tropical mango chicken salad and seared rare tuna with five-spice won ton salad. Sandwiches range from chicken pesto on ciabatta bread to grilled mahi mahi on whole wheat rosette bun. A Brie-L-T features sliced turkey breast and brie cheese on sourdough bread. A chicken mole quesadilla comes with tomatillo salsa, piquillo cilantro crema, black bean guacamole and queso served with jicama slaw.
Snack lovers will enjoy fried green tomatoes dotted with feta cheese; Bay Bistro fritters made with conch, shrimp, calamari and Gorgonzola chips garnished with praline and served with roasted garlic dip.
Blanc welcomes everyone who "works, lives or visits downtown Tampa" to stroll the Riverwalk and find Bay Bistro. Parking is available in the TCC garage, and valet service may come soon.
Bay Bistro, 333 S Franklin St.; will be open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, call (813) 274-8511.
Howard Ave. Lime has another citrusy name
At the stroke of midnight Dec. 31, the Lime restaurant became the Green Lemon. Owner Matt Lanza presented $1,000 Ciccio Restaurant Group gift cards to Toby Lincoln and Amanda Slansky who both entered the wining name in an online contest. The popular Howard Avenue bar was squeezed to rebrand to avoid conflicts with a large restaurant chain that trademarked the Lime name.
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