The 10 Best Breakfasts In Seminole Heights, Tampa

Seminole Heights, Hillsborough River
Seminole Heights, Hillsborough River | © Simon Kellogg/Flickr
Catrina Pang

The historic central Tampa neighborhood of Seminole Heights has recently become home to a burgeoning restaurant and bar scene, attracting numerous foodies and beer and wine enthusiasts to set up residence in the area. Whether you’re looking for trendy new spots or classic long standing establishments, Seminole Heights’s breakfast scene is full of crowd pleasers. From soul food to freshly baked goods to crepes to classic diner fare, you’re sure to find something in Seminole Heights that you’ll love.

1. Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe

Cafe, Restaurant, Bar, American, BBQ

Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, Tampa
© Daniel Lee/Flickr
Located in the heart of Seminole Heights just minutes from Downtown Tampa, Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe offers an eclectic cuisine, intriguing art and live music Fridays, and during Soul Food Sundays, a unique menu reflecting Chef Ernie’s creative personality and love for food. The Sunday brunches are much talked about and are always crowded. People love the perfectly cooked fried green tomatoes, huge portions of chicken and Belgian waffles, large biscuits with gravy, rich and creamy bacon mac and cheese, and delicious shrimps. They also have excellent options for vegetarians and vegans, including the Vegan BBQ Sammy . The bar offers well poured drinks including a fantastic Bloody Mary with a big short rib, Goblet Mimosas for only $10 Sundays, great sangrias, as well as a notable selection of craft beers. The restaurant, with both indoor and outdoor seating, has cool decor that gives the place a quirky homey feel. Lines start forming outside before the restaurant even opens, so it’s definitely best to get there early.

2. The Refinery

The Refinery

In 2010, Greg Baker and his wife Michelle founded The Refinery on the principle that good food is a necessity, not a right, and they have since accomplished their goal of serving great food at prices that don’t break the bank. If it wasn’t grown in Florida or produced using ethically sound methods, you probably won’t find it at the Refinery. Each ingredient is of the highest quality and comes from folks who take great pride and care of their processes, employees, and earthly footprint. They change the menus three to four times a week, working closely with local farmers, artisans, and suppliers to ensure that the best of what they have to offer each week is utilized. From sausage to salad dressings, everything at The Refinery is made in house and from scratch. Customers enjoy sitting out on the roof for brunch when the weather is nice.
Address & telephone number: 5137 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL, USA, +1 813 237 2000

© Nicole Kibert/Flickr

3. The Independent

Bar, Cafe, Nightclub, Restaurant, Pub Grub, American

Independent Bar and Cafe, Tampa
© Arnie Kim/Flickr
Opened in 2005 with the mission of supporting non commercial music while and encouraging a sense of community, The Independent was one of the pioneers of the craft beer movement in the Tampa Bay area. The ‘Indie,’ as it has become known, has a comfortable and ambient atmosphere, with no TV screens to distract from conversation so that guests can fully enjoy hanging out with friends and family in the year-round outdoor Biergarten or the custom cedar wood bar inside. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, The Independent serves up gourmet coffee and tea, fresh baked goods, and some of the best bar food in the area. One half of the restaurant is the bar with all of the beers, appetizers, salads, and sandwiches you could want, while the other half is a café that offers different types of coffees and teas as well as a selection of breakfast items. Favorite breakfast items include the leberkäse sandwich with egg, the German sausage, the Green Eggs and Ham, fresh croissant sandwiches, and brioches.

4. Nicko’s Fine Foods

Diner, Restaurant, Greek

A Seminole Heights breakfast staple, Nicko’s Fine Foods is a classic old diner known for its affordable and tasty food. Crowds swarm to the restaurant on weekend mornings. Luckily for breakfast lovers, though, the meal is served all day long. With consistently satisfying meals like the amazing biscuits and gravy, the french toast, the breakfast bacon and egg sandwich on Cuban bread, and the corned beef hash, it’s no wonder that locals are regulars at this place. They even serve Joffrey’s Coffee, considered by many to be the best in Tampa. The restaurant’s biggest claim to fame is the fact that Elvis once dined there back in the day, so there is now an entire booth dedicated to the singer, covered in Elvis themed memorabilia, that was apparently the booth that he sat in. People love to get the chance to sit in the Elvis booth, have a chat with the owner or watch him do magic tricks, and enjoy the reliably fantastic foods. Popular choices include two eggs over easy with hash browns and an English muffin, an omelet with grits, scrambled eggs and hash browns, waffles, and the Greek omelet. The chef can even make a healthier version of a dish for you if you ask.

5. Jet City Espresso

Coffee Shop, Coffee, Tea , Vegetarian, Fast Food

A unique Seattle style coffee shop with two locations in Tampa, Jet City Espresso was introduced to the area in the mid 90s, starting the trend of offering Seattle coffee and delicious baked goods. Jet City is the place for everyone, with gluten free and paleo options, as well as alternative milks like almond, soy, and coconut. They use compostable paper products and make a great effort to diminish their waste footprint. All of the café’s drinks are uniquely created by Jet City, and the specialty signature drink is the one and only Café Borgia, a honey and orange infused latte. Jet City uses organic milk and even makes their own whipped cream. The Seminole Heights location is the only one that offers a food menu, but if you aren’t a local, it’s worth the drive to get a taste of one of their signature salads, unique sandwiches, omelets, and brunch offered all day long. Patrons fall in love with the homemade scones, muffins, cookies, and cakes, as well as the quiches, bagels, and french toast. In addition, the café offers free wifi and a cozy environment, perfect for a quiet morning of studying or working while enjoying delicious coffees and tasty foods.

6. West Tampa Sandwich Shop & Restaurant

Restaurant, Cuban, American, Vegetarian

With some of the best Cuban bread in town, West Tampa Sandwich Shop & Restaurant has earned its reputation as a great place for simple, fast, delicious breakfast food and sandwiches. Visitors rave about the café con leche, the perfect Cuban toast, and the Southern style grits. Its tasty foods and great prices make the place extremely popular on weekend mornings. Guests just walk in and grab a table in the large front room, smaller back room, or patio at the rear. Servers are usually pretty quick to come over to your table with menus, ready to take your drink order. Nearly every breakfast includes the famous café con leche, but if that’s too much milk for you, they also offer a great colada, which is Cuban coffee made on the stove in a coffee maker. The amazing Cuban bread comes out first in a big basket with butter, and then the meal follows. A popular meal choice is the West Tampa Breakfast Special, with eggs, pancakes, bacon or sausage, and grits.

7. La Creperia Cafe

Cafe, Restaurant, French, American

A small, narrow café with table and bar seating, La Creperia Cafe gives you the feeling of being in Paris. The extensive menu includes over 60 varieties of breakfast, savory, and sweet crepes, with favorites like the Mamma Mia (egg, cheese, ham, and mushrooms, with a tasty mushroom sauce on top), the apple cinnamon crepe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the Southwest breakfast crepe, La Basic with egg, ham, and American cheese, and the Spinach Feast crepe with eggs, feta cheese, ricotta cheese, spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms. The sweet crepes are made by the front window, allowing passersby to watch and enticing them to come inside for a taste. Patrons also love to sit outside and watch people walk by, and they can even order French drinks like Orangina to go with their meals. The breakfast crepes are served all day long and the café has an excellent selection of specialty coffees. The servers are known for being friendly and making good suggestions, and the crepes are all very filling, satisfying both crepe lovers and non crepe lovers alike.

8. Café Hey

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Coffee, American, Vegan

Cafe Hey, Tampa
© bionicgrrrl/Flickr
One of the most popular breakfast and lunch places in Tampa, Café Hey has drawn in people from all over with a love of local art and good food. Patrons are huge fans of the delicious and fresh pressed sandwiches, with favorites like the A to Z Sandwich (avocado, turkey, provolone, tomato, and eggs), the turkey sandwich with cranberry, the VLT (vegan bacon, tomato, lettuce, and veganaise), and the ham and pickle sandwich with spicy garlic chutney and sharp cheddar. People also love the breakfast burrito, Cuban toast, yogurt parfait, tuna salad, and the 1 Up, which is a lightly pressed wrap with egg whites, turkey, and cream cheese. They also have self serve coffee carafes with two different roasts to choose from, in addition to an extensive menu of teas including the naturally sweet rooibos teas. It’s a great place to relax and unwind in a cozy and endearing environment while admiring the imaginative creations of local artists that you can even purchase if you want. With many options for vegans, vegetarians, the lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant, and ethically motivated, Café Hey is a universal crowd pleaser.

9. Mama’s Kitchen

Diner, Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Vegan, Vegetarian, Italian

Preparing traditional favorites from scratch daily, Mama’s Kitchen uses the best ingredients with a focus on quality. Their menu includes a large variety of breakfast, lunch, and diner selections that provide many classic Greek, Italian, and American tastes. You can kick off your day pretty early at Mama’s Kitchen, with breakfast at 6am offering a variety of omelets, egg specials, pancakes, waffles, giant skillets, and much more. The service is always friendly and fast paced, and the staff always aim to deliver an experience beyond what is expected. People love the down to earth atmosphere of the restaurant, where they can enjoy favorites like the breakfast pitas, burritos, ‘Heart Attack Omelet’ or ‘Lean Mean’ omelet, as well as all different kinds of meats. The place can get really crowded on weekends, but weekdays tend to be much better if you’re looking for a quick meal.

10. The Three Coins Diner

Diner, Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian

A Seminole landmark since 1984, The Three Coins Diner serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner 24 hours a day, seven days a week in a fun, family restaurant. The place is often filled with regulars who love the friendly staff, simple classic homemade breakfasts, and decor. Little candy machines give the restaurant the feel of an old school local diner. The food is all fresh and delicious, always coming out hot and fast. Everything is reasonably priced and the portion sizes are great, and they also have never ending cups of coffee. Kids love the Mickey Mouse-shaped chocolate chip pancakes, making the diner one of the most popular breakfast spots among Seminole Heights families. People are also fans of the outside patio perfect for people watching, as well as the fact that the diner is a fantastic place to satisfy a breakfast craving at any time of the day or night.

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