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. Zach Pace, left, and Ro Patel will soon open Ten Rooms, an ambitious new dining and retail destination inside El Centro Español in Ybor.
  2. Char siu lechon, coconut-ginger braised greens and chicken adobo bao buns are served at Lucky Tigre in South Tampa. The restaurant is moving to a new address at 1713 N Albany Avenue soon.
  3. The Pearl restaurant is among six new Tampa restaurants highlighted in Michelin's 2024 Florida guide.
  4. A strip steak is served with a black garlic demi-glace sauce at The Estuary in downtown New Port Richey.
  5. Two people were killed in a multi-car crash on US-19 on Saturday night.
  6. Eat Art Love, a new cafe and art gallery, opens next week in St. Petersburg's Warehouse Arts District.
  7. Tampa Bay Times food critic Helen Freund reflects on returning to the dining beat in 2024.
  8. Patrons enjoy the festivities along the Sparkman Wharf on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021.
  9. Bianco di Ampeleia, 2017, from Tuscany in Italy, is pure into a glass at Cru Cellars on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 in Tampa.
  10. Canadian Maurice Harquail of Ottawa gets a couple of pecks on his cheeks from friends Heidi Watson, left, and Kerry Kinsalla, both of Port Richey, while attending Flanagan's Irish Pub's 2015 St. Patrick's Day Street Festival on Tuesday in downtown Dunedin. The annual party is celebrated with live music, bagpipers, Irish step dancers, traditional Irish food and beer.
  11. A chicken crosses 7th Avenue in Ybor City on Friday, May 19, 2023.
  12. Morgan Zuch mixes up a cocktail at Mandarin Heights in Tampa.
  13. A standup paddle board yoga class moves into the Reverse Warrior pose while balancing on their boards as the towards the end of an evening on the water on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 in Gulfport.
  14. Steve Knapp, 54, left, his wife, Deanna Knapp, 53, and their dog Minnie stand in flood waters outside their home along Ramada Street in the Weeki Wachee Gardens area Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. High tides and aftereffects of Hurricane Idalia caused heavy flooding in several areas.
  15. Budae Jjigae - Kimchi soup with vegetables, pork, spam and ramen, with Korean side dishes at Dooriban, 600 66th St N. in St. Petersburg.
  16. Norma Bauerschmidt visited the Sponge Docks at Tarpon Springs in December 2015 as part of her travels around the county. [Driving Miss Norma | Facebook]
  17. Check out the funky public art at WhimzeyLand, also known as the "bowling ball house," in Safety Harbor.
  18. Visitors to the Don CeSar hotel, at 3400 Gulf Blvd, enjoy the water at St Pete Beach.
  19. A yellow Pirate Water Taxi boat floats down the river near the Tampa Riverwalk in Tampa in 2018.
  20. Dockside at the Big Catch at Salt Creek, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 in St. Petersburg.
  21. Raviolini del Plin is on the menu at Rocca Italian restaurant in Tampa.