Valentines Day Dining in Tampa Bay

It would seem that almost every restaurant in Tampa Bay is having some kind of Valentines Day special for the big day of love. Here is a listing of some of the specials I have noticed, for the late-minute diner like myself. Even if you don’t have a Valentine – you might want to have a bite on some of these deals.

Bernini: This delicious Italian restaurant in Ybor City is offering 1/2 price pastas and entrees all week long until 7PM. $2 Finlandia Martinis. (813) 248-0099

BurgerMonger: Famous for its delicious Akaushi Kobe Beef – BurgerMonger will be giving away chocolate-covered strawberries to couples (while supplies last) on Valentines Day. They say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – and a BurgerMonger burger sure does please my stomach! (813) 968-6860

Cafe Kili: Dixie Blue will play an eclectic mix of country, early rock and roll, and cajun songs for visitors starting at 7PM. Special drinks will be on the menu including the Red Velvet Frappe and Raspberry White Mocha.  (813) 988-2879

Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant: The usual $4 tapas menu will be in effect Tuesday at Ceviche, in addition to two lovers specials: Mixed Grill and Mixed Fish specials for $39. First-come, first-serve basis. Numerous locations around Tampa Bay and Orlando.

Datz: Special cocktails, entrees, and desserts will be sold for V-Day. Some examples are pink polka dot pancakes and cherry martinis. (813) 831-7000

Fly Bar & Restaurant: Open 4PM-3AM. Patio dining and rooftop deck in Downtown Tampa. Live jazz music from 8-11PM and dinner. (813) 275-5000

Origami Sushi (Hillsborough): Free dessert on Valentines Day. Happy Hour 3-7PM with $1 sushi rolls. All beverages reduced price. (813) 878-2145

Pelagia Trattoria: This hidden Italian restaurant in the International Plaza will have a special Valentines Day menu available fro 5:30-10PM. Some things on the menu include lobster bisque, veal osso buco, and Godiva chocolate cake. (813) 313-3235

The Rack: Valentines Day blues troubling you? The Rack will have happy hour all night long on Valentines Day, in addition to their regular Tuesday specials. (813) 250-1595

The Refinery: Special Valentines Day menu available at this hot spot Tampa restaurant. The steak tartare sure caught my eye. Make sure to call ahead – they may already be filled to max capacity. (813) 237-2000

Senor Taco: Lots of buzz online for this Pinellas Park Mexican restaurant lately. Taco Tuesday brings tacos to the amazing price of $1. (727) 289-7080

Soobak: This excellent Davis Island Asian restaurant is offering a 5-course Valentines Day dinner which includes salad, appetizer, sushi, choice of meat, and dessert for $35 per person (+tax). Be sure to call ahead as space is limited. (813) 258-3377.

SoHo Sushi North: USF-area SoHo Sushi will feature a $55 (+tax) special for couples featuring 2 soups, 2 salads, 2 drinks, 2 sushi rolls, and dessert. (813) 977-8744

Spain Restaurant & Toma Bar: Offering a 4-course pre-fix menu for $45 per person (+tax) includes 1 alcoholic beverage, appetizer, salad , entree, and dessert. Live romantic music from 6-9PM. Regular menu also available. (813) 223-2831

Wimauma: The current talk of Tampa Bay. Special Valentines Day menu available for $40 per person (+tax).  (813) 793-1687

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BurgerMonger

I am a burger guy. I will be the person to order burgers in the most random locations. We could be dining at a seafood restaurant, classy Spanish restaurant, or even a place with hundreds of items to choose from, such as The Cheesecake Factory, and I will still proceed to order a cheeseburger and fries. No, I don’t get tired of burgers and fries. I am an American and this is what I live for: a juicy burger with fries, lots of ketchup, and mayonnaise!

I read about BurgerMonger when it first opened. A considerable amount of buzz swept the internet about it on food sites, such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, Chowhound, and even local newspapers. They had quite a viral marketing campaign. BurgerMonger uses 100% All natural Akaushi Kobe Beef and Kobe Beef quality is top notch. I put it on my list of places to try, but somehow it took me almost a year after adding it to my list to finally get to try it. I was a little nervous…would the buzz match the actual product?

I entered the restaurant on a Friday night, it was quite empty. Odd because BurgerMonger smelled heavenly inside. I decided to go with The BurgerMonger Akaushi 6 oz. burger for $6.99. I don’t think I have ever seen so many toppings before. It took me a few minutes to decide, but I went with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, ketchup, mayonnaise, and their special monger sauce. I also got Monger fries ($1.99), a 1/2 lb. portion of fries, as well as a fountain soda.

I sat in a booth near a USF Bulls sign. I admit I love a business that supports my team, the USF Bulls. More local Tampa businesses should jump off the Gator bandwagon and support their local sports team more.

My fountain drink tasted pretty good. The drinks actually tasted carbonated and not full of seltzer.

The BurgerMonger logo doesn’t scream delicious to me, but gets the job done.

The food arrived in a few minutes…

The fries were not very impressive. They looked and tasted similar to Five Guys fries (which I hate), but actually tasted worse and given the choice I would choose the Five Guy fries over these. I decided that future visits will have to be burger-only ventures (assuming I enjoyed the burger) because these fries simply weren’t worth $1.99.

My burger arrived and looked quite appetizing. It was hard to not dive right into it while I took some photographs. The smell of the burger was fantastic.

All the ingredients were neatly stacked. The vegetables looked fresh. Once I finally took into the burger it was like my mouth had gone straight to heaven. I momentarily blacked out from the rush of that burger and when I came to the entire burger was gone and I was full. Worth the drive from Riverview? Yes. A burger experience like none before it? Yes. This burger could make a bad day better and a good day perfect. The meat was easy to eat and packed full of flavor. Every bite was succulent and scrumptious. I immediately started text messaging my family. Must-have.

I found out at the end of my visit that they now have a BurgerMonger Monday special where you can get the same burger I had for $5 instead of $6.99. Sweet! Time to clear out my Monday evenings.

Burger Monger on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: BurgerMonger

Cuisine: American

Address: 10412 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa 33618

Neighborhood: Carrollwood

Phone Number: 813-968-6860

Website: http://www.burgermonger.com/