It has been a pretty dreary week. Tropical Storm Colin whipped through Tampa Bay, leaving us muddy and flooded. This does not inspire date night at a new restaurant.
Fortunately, the weather appears to be clearing for the weekend. Try one of Tampa Bay's new restaurants spotlighted by our food critic Laura Reiley. From Portillo's to On Swann to Thai Prime, Tampa Bay is full of new tastemakers this summer.
The nasty weather got me thinking — takeout and TV sounds nice. I asked the Times features staff to name their favorite takeout spots. Me? I'm partial to swinging by Casa Tina (365 Main St., Dunedin). The Tacos Estillo Guadalajara with rice and beans is enough for two people to split.
Fresh Kitchen (1350 S Howard Ave., Tampa, and 4447 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg) got several votes.
"The smell of slightly seared Brussels sprouts and barbecued and basil chicken combine with your imagination in a restaurant about the size of an actual kitchen," said performing arts critic Andrew Meacham. "If you're hungry and want to eat healthy, choose a salad base, veggies and meats and be on your way to a table or your car within eight minutes."
Book editor Colette Bancroft votes for La Segunda Central Bakery (2512 N 15th St., Ybor City), established in 1915. "It has a fabulous takeout counter that serves one of the very best Cuban sandwiches in town, along with media noche, muffaletta and other hearty sandwiches," she said.
In St. Pete, neighbors Old Northeast Tavern (201 Seventh Ave. N) and Old Northeast Pizza (718 Second St. N) got high marks. So did Athenian Gardens (two in St. Pete, one in Largo) where Times designer Brittany Volk gets the "chicken souvlaki sandwich with, of course, a delicious scoop of potato salad. However, it's really hard to ignore the beautifully lit dessert cabinet as I pay my bill."
Pop music/culture critic Jay Cridlin raved about Hawkers Asian Street Fare (1235 Central Ave., St. Petersburg): "It's just so flavorful, so filling, and so easy to grab a carton of pad Thai or duck baos on my way home. By my third visit, Hawkers was saved in my phone, at the top of my takeout rotation."
Events editor Sharon Wynne found a rainy day way to feed her family at Taziki's Cafe (2649 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater). Call in advance. Ask for the take-home dinner for four, Sharon says.
"The meat comes with a Greek salad for four, roasted potatoes or basmati rice. For $5 you can add a huge side of grilled vegetables. This feeds my family of four, including two teenage eating-machine boys, and there's still plenty of leftovers."
Movie critic Steve Persall suggests Latin American rotisserie Pico Rojo (2475 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater). "Real chickens, succulent seasonings, melts in your mouth and on fingertips. Great sides include sticky-sweet plantains, steamed asparagus, quinoa with black beans, green beans. Flan is delicious, not overly sweet. They also do sandwiches and salads with the chicken. Easy in and out."