Fine-Dining Flavor on the Cheap in Tampa Bay

Fine-Dining Flavor on the Cheap in Tampa Bay

Date night is one of my favorite nights. For hubby and me it’s mostly about eating good food (when is it not?). Fortunately for us, living in the Tampa Bay area means we have a ridiculous number of choices to satisfy our foodie cravings.

Eating out gets expensive though, so we strategize to get the most bang for our buck.

Whether you need a cheap date night or an affordable time out with friends, I’ve got 5 restaurants that give you big flavor and special-occasion flare for a lot less.

Fine-Dining Flavor on the Cheap in Tampa Bay

Marchand’s Bar & Grill

If you really want to celebrate in high style, the three course pre-fix menu at Marchand’s Grill is quite a deal. This restaurant is inside of one of St. Petersburg’s oldest landmarks, the elegant Vinoy Hotel. From 5-6:30 (every day) they offer a special menu inspired by the year the hotel opened in 1925. For $19.25 you can select an item from each course: Starter, Entree, Dessert. The grandeur of the hotel ambiance and the impeccable service make this quite a bargain of a celebration.

Valet parking is also complimentary if you have your stub validated in the restaurant.

Fine-Dining Flavor on the Cheap in Tampa Bay

Gratzzi Italian Grille

The Early Bird Menu is what I recommend. From 4-5:30 (every day, except holidays) they offer a limited menu and for $15 you get an entree, soup OR salad, and dessert (usually it’s crème brûlée). Plus they have amazing complimentary bread and infused dipping oil, and their happy hour is during that time as well.

White linens and great service.

Fine-Dining Flavor on the Cheap in Tampa Bay

Mitchell’s Fish Market

This restaurant has a wonderful selection of fresh seafood. Usually that would cost you, but if you come during their Market Bar Martini Hour, Sunday – Friday, 4 pm – 7 pm, you can sit in the bar area and order off the Bar Menu, ranging from $4- $7. It includes oysters, fish tacos, calamari, tuna, and one of the best fish sandwiches of your life (it’s $4 and it’s huge!). Plus a selection of $5 cocktails.

I love that we can try like 4 different things and only spend $25 (plus drinks).

Fine-Dining Flavor on the Cheap in Tampa Bay

Fly Bar & Restaurant

This one’s for the cool kids. Seasonal menus, live music, rooftop bar. Best shrimp and grits I’ve ever had. Always something new to try and I’m never disappointed.

Sunday – Friday from 4 pm-6:30 pm they offer 1/2 off designated lounge menu items (items from the first section in this link) + it’s happy hour! On Mondays they also offer 1/2 price bottles of wine!

Fine-Dining Flavor on the Cheap in Tampa Bay

Burger Monger

Sometimes you would just die for a burger. Thankfully this place has got you covered. You can get dolled up if you want, but if it’s one of those nights where you’d rather be in lounge-wear or your husband refuses to put on a button-up shirt, then this is the place for you. It’s casual and family friendly, but the flavor is gourmet all the way. They really take pride in their ingredients, all the way from the beef to the milkshakes (made with Haagen-Dazs!) They also offer a nice selection of beer and wine.

Monday is $5 burger day! Some of the toppings are an additional cost, but there are also a ton of free ones. Their menu lists them all. If you have any room left after that monstrous burger it’s fun to split a “Shake and a Half” which is more than enough for two people.

It may read “fast food” at first glance, but Burger Monger is in another category, and so is their service.


Well now I’m hungry and need to do something about that…

What are some of your favorite affordable good eats?