Tampa is a summertime city. That means more time spent outdoors wearing less clothing. For you to look and feel your best, you need to eat healthy. Whether you are rocking a bathing suit on a stand up paddleboard, jogging down Bayshore Boulevard or just relaxing somewhere in a hammock, the energy you expend from nutritious, clean eating will leave you feeling better than anything fried of covered in cheese will. And even if looking great in a bathing suit isn’t your top priority, eating healthy in the middle of the day can propel your day forward like nothing else can. Skip the fries, and you will be amazing to find you don’t need an afternoon nap!
No matter what your goals are, knowing the best places to score something healthy for lunch is a good thing. Below are three great places to grab a healthy lunch.
This South Howard restaurant is owned by the Ciccio Restaurant Group, just like many of its neighbors – but unlike the fast-casual scene at Fresh Kitchen or the party scene at Green Lemon, Ciccio Water has more of a relaxed, trendy vibe. It is a sit-down restaurant with take-out options, and the menu features everything from sushi to power food bowls they call “California Bowls” to brick oven pizza. This is a great place to bring a work meeting since the menu is light, diverse, and affordable. They have dairy free, gluten free, and vegetarian options all clearly identified on the menu.
Suggested Order: Water Guacamole with vegetables instead of chips, and the Thai Bowl with Sticky Rice.
All the way down at the far end of 7th Ave in Ybor City sits The Bricks. Bar/Restaurant, but mostly restaurant, this place has a simple, but unique and elevated menu that is both tasty and healthy. The Bricks was inspired by Skatepark Tampa, and you can definitely sense some laid back skater culture when you walk in. According to their site, they “serve creative recipes, locally roasted coffee, classic cocktails and a lot of everything for all to enjoy. It’s delivered with a bit of edginess, class, love, but most of all, an experience you won’t find anywhere else.” (source). Everything on the menu will look familiar but will seem totally new on the plate. This is a fantastic place to meet with friends, co-workers, or to just unwind at alone at the bar. Everyone is welcoming and the food is fantastic.
Suggested Order: Hummus (trust, it’s great), Veggie Cuban (a healthier take on this classic, meaty sandwich).
Armature Works is a fantastic market in Tampa Heights that seems to have sprung up out of nowhere. The building it is housed in was once a maintenance facility for Tampa Electric’s (TECO) streetcars. It is enormous, and is filled with dozens of food and drink vendors. Graze 1910 is a food vendor in the Heights Public Market Hall and encourages its patrons to “Enjoy downtown Tampa skyline views on the Hillsborough River and Graze with us.” (source). You can order to-go and fight for some seating in the main hall, or just sit right at the Graze counter and enjoy waiter service. Whichever you choose to do, the gourmet/healthy vibe of Graze’s menu items will leave an impression as large as the TECO Streetcar Warehouse itself. So grab some complimentary sparkling water from one of the water vending machines located around the market, and place your order!
Suggested Order: 1910 Slaw and the Blackened Ahi Tuna Salad
This place is super unique, in that it offers pretty standard café favorites alongside a full sushi menu! Located centrally on Nebraska Ave in Seminole Heights, this menu has something for everyone. Whether you are a fan of classic salads, sandwiches, or sashimi and nigiri, there is something here for you! It is described by Google as a “small bright bistro with counter service” – making it an easy, no-nonsense place to grab a quick, healthy lunch. It maintains an incredible Google star rating, which should really be all you need to check the place out.
Suggested Order: The Heights Roll and a Beet Salad
If you find yourself downtown and in need of a healthy lunch, look no further than the unpretentious, but delicious, Dio Modern Mediterranean. This simple café is defined by its fantastic outdoor seating on the corner of Twiggs and Franklin in downtown Tampa. Grab a seat under a large and leafy tree and watch the foot traffic wander by. Downtown has never felt so charming. The menu offers Mediterranean starters, salads, and sandwiches, which are easy to build a healthy and filling lunch out of! So grab a seat, and grab a bite at this fantastically plain downtown café.
Suggested Order: Prosciutto and Fruit with Smoked Turkey Panini
This insanely popular, fast-casual bowl-slinger is an obvious choice for this list, but that doesn’t make it any less deserving. This counter-service healthy restaurant opened up recently by the Ciccio Restaurant Group took South Tampa by storm, turning a quiet corner on South Howard Ave into a permanent traffic jam. The chain has since expanded to a few other locations, so you should not feel the need to limit yourself to the original location. The menu is simple. To order you simply choose a base for your bowl, some vegetables, some protein, some sauce, and a smattering of optional toppings. Food is prepared fresh every day and is made with the health-conscious in mind. In fact, this is what they say about themselves on their website: “We believe in serving fresh, high-quality ingredients that NOURISH and energize your body. WHAT WE EAT SHAPES OUR HEALTH, affects our appearance and determines our disposition. BE HAPPY, EAT FK. Our food is made from scratch and fresh-to-order. FROM OUR GRILL TO YOUR BOWL, AS FAST AS YOU CAN POINT. Our PRESSED JUICES, TEAS, JUICE FRESCAS are prepared in-house daily. Just like our taste buds, our RECIPES CHANGE WITH THE SEASONS.”
Suggested Order: A 4 bowl made of brown rice, kale salad, parmesan broccoli and almond crusted chicken with the creamy white ginger sauce.