Helen Freund - Food and Dining Critic

Food and Dining Critic

I write about food and restaurants in the Tampa Bay area. When I’m not writing about food or restaurants I’m probably talking about food or restaurants, or, you know, actually eating food at restaurants. I was never a picky eater, and never had a chance to be: Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, saying ‘no’ to things like geoduck sashimi or fiddlehead fern pesto just wasn’t cool. Instead, I tried everything, and have ever since. I studied journalism at the University of Washington and cooking at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. I most recently was the restaurant critic and dining editor of Gambit Weekly in New Orleans - another place where people love to eat and drink. When I’m not eating, I’m probably scuba diving and tagging along with spearfishers, hoping they’ll spear some dinner for me.

  1. Raviolini del Plin is on the menu at Rocca Italian restaurant in Tampa.
  2. Chilean sea bass is served at Ponte Modern American in Midtown Tampa.
  3. Psomi in Tampa's North Hyde Park was one of two restaurants to receive Bib Gourmand distinction from the Michelin Guide on Thursday.
  4. Diners enjoy lunch at Bodega in downtown St. Petersburg, one of many restaurants in the area dealing with the setbacks induced by heavy construction underway in the city.
  5. A surf and turf burger is served at The Helm, a new seafood market and restaurant in St. Pete Beach.
  6. Champagne and a shellfish tower are served at The Pearl, a new restaurant at Water Street Tampa.
  7. Chief's Creole Cafe in St. Petersburg has closed.
  8. The lauded Seminole Heights restaurant Ichicoro Ramen closed abruptly last week.
  9. The downstairs dining area at Union New American, which opened at Tampa's Westshore City Center on Tuesday.
  10. Lilac at the Tampa Edition hotel is one of three new restaurants highlighted in the Michelin Guide Florida's 2023 guide.
  11. Danielle McCoy serves a Bin Board to guests at Bin 6 South, a new restaurant that serves up big flavors in a tiny St. Petersburg space.
  12. Calida, a new wine bar and restaurant, is now open in St. Petersburg's Crescent Heights neighborhood.
  13. Tampa Bay Times reporters Gabrielle Calise and Helen Freund will be your guides in the new One Day in Tampa Bay newsletter.
  14. The Pearl restaurant at Water Street in Tampa.
  15. Chelsea “Zeana” Jackson drinks a Walter White at Mad Hatters Ethnobotanical Tea Bar in St. Petersburg. The drink contains kratom, a substance that Florida legislators have taken steps toward regulating.
  16. Coasis, a new restaurant and bar in Seminole Heights in Tampa, opened this week.
  17. Bern's Steak House will now require guests to submit their credit card information, prior to booking.
  18. Owners Yarinel Ramos and Robert Sickler opened their natural wine bar and restaurant Bayou Bodega in Tampa in 2021.
  19. Japanese-inspired noodle bowls and other pan-Asian dishes are served at Wagamama, now open at Water Street Tampa.
  20. Small Giant bar and restaurant opens Friday at Water Street Tampa.
  21. The Estuary, a new modern American restaurant from the owners of the Little Lamb Gastropub, opens this week in downtown New Port Richey.
  22. Brothers Christian Jackson, left, and Joshua Jackson, of St. Petersburg, review a reservation calendar at Roam Steakhouse and Bar in St. Petersburg.
  23. Bouzy, a new champagne bar and restaurant from the Cru Cellars team, opened Monday at Tampa's Hyde Park Village.