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Guide to Midtown Tampa: where to eat, where to park, what to see

The development at the southeast corner of N Dale Mabry Highway and Interstate 275 just welcomed a new restaurant, Sunda.
 
An entrance to Midtown Tampa development in 2022.
An entrance to Midtown Tampa development in 2022. [ ARIELLE BADER | Special to the Times ]
Published Aug. 1, 2023|Updated Aug. 1, 2023

After years of development, Midtown Tampa started introducing storefronts in 2021 and continues to roll out new spots. The complex at the southeast corner of N Dale Mabry Highway and Interstate 275 is like its own little city — home to stores, a hotel, office buildings and lots of restaurants.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re heading to Midtown Tampa.

Where to eat

There are several restaurants at Midtown, including Shake Shack, one of the first spots announced for the complex that opened to much excitement back in summer 2021. Here are some of our other favorite places to dine.

True Food Kitchen, a health-focused restaurant chain.
True Food Kitchen, a health-focused restaurant chain. [ ARIELLE BADER | Special to the Times ]

True Food Kitchen: This health-conscious restaurant was co-founded by Dr. Andrew Weil and backed by Oprah Winfrey, and it’s the first location in the Tampa Bay area. It’s in the thick of Midtown, nestled in The Commons, the open grassy space home to lots of monthly events. True Food is a table-service restaurant (though ordering takeout is easy to do) with a large indoor and outdoor dining space, and a lunch and dinner menu that goes heavy on veggie dishes and bowls.

BellaBrava: The second location of this restaurant for 2B Hospitality after its downtown St. Petersburg flagship, the spot offers Italian fare and a full drink menu. The interior is chic and compact, with a large bar that accommodates a lively crowd. It’s open for lunch and dinner, but the best time to come may be during happy hour, when you can get $6 glasses of wine and sangria, $4 well drinks and more.

The exterior of Chef Ponte’s Ponte Modern American restaurant.
The exterior of Chef Ponte’s Ponte Modern American restaurant. [ ANGELICA EDWARDS | Times ]

Ponte Modern American: The newest spot from chef Chris Ponte is an elevated fine-dining experience, with a gorgeous bar and dining room and an impressive food and cocktail menu. If you’re here to splurge, don’t skip on the $39 martini or the trio of wagyu steaks. Read our food critic Helen Freund’s review to know what else is in store.

Sunda New Asian: Opened in June, this restaurant’s concept is inspired by owner Billy Dec’s travels through Southeast Asia. The menu is vast and varied, from a sushi lineup featuring shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and lobster wagyu to entrees that feature black cod, grouper and the flaming chicken inasal. The trendy dining room is outfitted with bamboo and lots of greenery, a nice setting for the menu’s Asian flair that’s infused into the cocktails and desserts, too.

Oxtail potstickers and cauliflower at Sunda, in Midtown Tampa.
Oxtail potstickers and cauliflower at Sunda, in Midtown Tampa. [ MICHELLE STARK | Times ]
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Sal Y Mar: There are Latin-inspired snacks and a bevy of cocktails at this rooftop bar atop the dual-branded Aloft and Element hotel. “The lounge and restaurant features 360-degree views and a menu that dabbles in Latin and Caribbean-inspired small plates,” our food critic Helen Freund wrote. Read more about the spot here.

Where to shop

Keep an eye out for murals painted by local artists throughout the Midtown plaza, and monthly events including trivia, yoga, music bingo and markets. There’s a focus on public art at the development, which is also home to a sculpture by internationally acclaimed Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel and blue metal butterflies adorning the exterior of the parking garage fabricated by Los Angeles artist PunkMeTender.

Whole Foods: If you used to frequent the Whole Foods on the other side of Interstate 275, in the plaza with Target, it has now relocated to Midtown Tampa.

Elaborately decorated chocolates fill the case at William Dean Chocolates at Midtown Tampa.
Elaborately decorated chocolates fill the case at William Dean Chocolates at Midtown Tampa. [ MICHELLE STARK | Times ]

William Dean Chocolates: Get your sweet fix at this chocolate shop, the second location for the popular Belleair Bluffs business started by owner Bill Brown in 2007. Browse a long case of specialty chocolates, each little morsel elaborately decorated. They were even featured in the “Hunger Games” movies. There’s also coffee and gelato at this shop, where you can buy chocolate gift packages to take home, too.

REI: When it opened in 2021, this was just the fifth REI store in Florida, and the first one on the state’s west coast. (Another is coming to Sarasota soon.) Those who love the outdoors can get all the essentials here, from gear for hiking to camping to biking. Read more about the store here.

The REI store at Midtown Tampa.
The REI store at Midtown Tampa. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Joffrey’s: Midtown’s coffee shop isn’t Starbucks, but rather Joffrey’s, a Florida-based coffee company started more than 30 years ago. It’s the official coffee purveyor for Walt Disney World, but the location in Midtown is a new flagship location for the company. You’ll find the standard drip coffee plus espresso beverages and smoothies, plus a nice indoor and outdoor seating area ideal for remote work. And there is a large selection of bagged coffee to buy, including flavors you can’t find at other local stores.

Where to park

The view from a parking garage at Midtown Tampa.
The view from a parking garage at Midtown Tampa. [ MICHELLE STARK | Times ]

One thing Midtown Tampa has over some of the other new developments in the area is ample free parking. It’s easy to find a spot here.

Head to the side closest to N Himes Avenue to find the large Waterview Parking Garage. Across from Ponte, closer to the Cypress Street entrance, there’s a big free parking lot. Some of the restaurants have valet parking.