There are many excellent restaurants in Tampa Bay, but the places I keep going back to are food halls. I have now visited all three food halls in Tampa, and they continue to be the best meals I have had in the area. In this blog post, I wanted to spotlight Armature Works, Hall on Franklin and Sparkman Wharf.
If you aren’t familiar with food halls, they are basically food courts with a variety of artisan restaurants. The best part is everyone in your party can get a different type of cuisine and you can eat them all together. I try and save room for multiple dishes myself, because it is so hard to choose between all the amazing options! Each of the food halls in Tampa have their own highpoints, so I will describe them below to help you figure out which one to eat at in the future.
The first of the food halls in Tampa I want to highlight is Armature Works, which I have mentioned on the blog before. This is probably the largest of the three and has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. You will find it in The Heights next to the Hillsborough River. Not only is there a food hall, but also multiple restaurants, a large lawn for activities, a coworking area, and even events spaces for weddings!
The food hall part is actually called the Heights Public Market, but in my mind, it is synonymous with Armature Works. There are currently over a dozen options open with choices for every meal of the day. All you have to do is order at any of the different vendors and most will have your order ready shortly.
My favorites are probably a tie between Zukku Sushi and Dixie Dharma. The former has some insanely tasty and beautiful sushi creations and the latter serves up unique, southern style vegan food. If this sounds too crazy for you, don’t worry because there are plenty of other types of cuisine, including Latin American, Italian, Mediterranean and Barbecue. I also really like Graze 1910 which serves brunch favorites all day!
Many of the vendors have their own drinks, but the best spot for a cocktail or beer is the BAR at Armature. I usually order this first and then sip it while I wait for my food at the next vendor. You are welcome to come to this Tampa food hall for a drink, a full meal or just for an event! They frequently host yoga classes, paddles and instructional activities. It really is a community experience here, and you will have a hard time trying everything, even after multiple visits.
The Hall on Franklin
Next up for a crawl of food halls in Tampa is the nearby The Hall on Franklin. This is right next to one of my favorite Tampa breweries, Hidden Springs. I actually stumbled upon it after grabbing some cans from there. The Hall on Franklin looks a lot different than the other food halls in Tampa because it is primarily inside.
Another unique part of The Hall on Franklin is that instead of going up to different stands and ordering food, a waiter seats you and takes your order from any of the options. I found this to be much preferable because one issue I have with food halls is getting food at different times from others you are with. Sometimes I have already finished my meal from one place by the time Andrew gets his food from another!
With this, you can order from seven unique cuisine options and the bar as well. We went all over the map and had fancy cocktails, Fried Chicken Mac and Cheese, and Bao Buns. You would have a hard time finding this done so well at a normal restaurant! They were many other types of food to try with everything from poke bowls to taco and burritos to a breakfast café.
Not only is the food high quality, but the atmosphere is sophisticated and stylish. You can definitely get dressed up for a date night here or go casual, it is really what you make of the experience. The gorgeous interiors really lend this to a more upscale meal than the other two food hall options on the list and it is ideal to dine inside, although there are some exterior tables.
Last but not least is the most unconventional of the food halls in Tampa, Sparkman Wharf. This is right on the Garrison Channel Downtown and you can enjoy ocean views throughout the area. Though there are office spaces and a few retail stores, the main appeal is their dining garden and biergarten, which I count as a food hall.
There are nine different stands outside where you can get food, drinks or desserts. This includes a seafood shack, a pizzeria and a popsicle stand. My favorite is the Taqueria called Gallito, where I had delicious Al Pastor Tacos. The ceviche from Boat Run is also excellent, and the Chicken Sandwiches at Flock & Stock were quite flavorful.
I have even been known to grab a coffee from The Blind Tiger, but usually I stick to the biergarten. They usually have at least 30 beer options from local breweries. This is an awesome way to try a few different ones without having to go to each brewery! Be careful though, there are a lot of high ABV IPA’s!
Sparkman Wharf is entirely outside and every time I have been, it feels like a million degrees on the blacktop. I definitely recommend going in the evening as opposed to the daytime when I keep going. The lawn is a fun place to hang out at night and they even have yard games like corn hole and shuffleboard. Live music and trivia are common as well, so be sure to look out for community events. With such a lovely open-air space, this has become quite the community gathering spot!
Know Before You Go: Food Halls in Tampa Bay
For those who enjoy trying unique dishes in vibrant atmospheres, you have to visit these three food halls in Tampa. Each offer their own wonderful experience and the chance to try elevated meals and drinks. With vendors being added or changed, you will never have to eat the same thing twice, although I personally am always tempted to go back for favorites. Whether you are on vacation or a local, it will be an unforgettable experience for your taste buds! Here are a few things to keep in mind before going to these food halls.
- Both The Hall on Franklin and Sparkman Wharf are open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Armature Works is open all day every day of the week though.
- Each of the three food halls in Tampa has food for every budget and diet, including vegan.
- There may be a parking fee during nights and weekends at these food halls, but you can usually find free parking during the weekdays.
- Armature Works is half indoors/half outdoors, The Hall on Franklin is almost entirely indoors and Sparkman Wharf is almost entirely outdoors with the exception of a patio roof over the biergarten.
- Sparkman Wharf is the most dog friendly option as everything is outside, but they are allowed at outside seating at all three food halls.
- Check the Facebook pages to find out upcoming events.
- Support Black-Owned Businesses! The Hall on Franklin is a black-owned Tampa restaurant.
- All three-options offer takeout for if you want your meal to-go.
- These food halls in Tampa do not take reservations and seating is first come, first serve, although rarely an issue.
If you are looking for things to do in Tampa, I have a printable bucket list available here on Etsy!