Spring Commencement is upon us!

Graduating classes from the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa share their commencement dates with a wildly fun weekend in May... Cinco de Mayo

After the 2018 commencement ceremonies, family members, friends, and graduates will need a place to eat and celebrate. That's where we come in. We put together a list of top restaurants in Tampa so you know where to go for lunch or dinner after your college graduation.

Each of these restaurants offers something unique, whether it's their atmosphere, food items or specialty drinks. Make your graduation in Tampa extra special with these delicious restaurant options!

Top Shelf Restaurants in Tampa 

These are much more than restaurants. They are exquisite dining experiences.

While the price tags are higher than your neighborhood bar and grill, you are certainly getting what you pay for at these classy, sophisticated, top-shelf restaurants in Tampa. Visit each of the restaurants' business pages and take a look at their menus. We promise their food will make your mouth water and your stomach swoon!

Bern's Steak House

Bern's is one of the biggest celebrity hot spots in Tampa. If you eat here, you will experience first-class treatment in the steak house's sophisticated atmosphere. Bern's also has one of the largest wine collections in the world! Their 500,000 bottles are kept in a chilled wine cellar underneath the restaurant. You can take a full tour the day of your Bern's visit, making the most of your dining experience. If you're looking for a classy place to celebrate your graduation, try Bern's Steak House near the Hyde Park district, not too far from UT. 

Eddie V's Prime Seafood

You can celebrate your graduation in style at Eddie V's, with USDA prime steaks, some of the freshest seafood in Tampa and specialty drinks. Any dining experience at Eddie V's is a trip to remember, making it worth the drive to the International Plaza and Bay Street area. Each steak is hand cut and aged for over 28 days, ensuring peak flavor. Fresh fish arrive daily and are paired with the perfect vegetables, hand-made tortillas (for the fanciest of fancy fish tacos) and more! After you toss your graduation cap in the air, take a trip towards the Westshore District for a celebratory meal that will leave you feeling like a high society member. 

Columbia Restaurant

What could be a better way to celebrate your graduation in Tampa than to eat at one of the most historic restaurants we have? The original Columbia Restaurant in Ybor opened in 1905 and has been family owned and operated since that time. The menu features a delicious array of soups, tapas, steak, seafood, paella and more. Your taste buds will dance with each bite! Ybor City is close enough to both USF and UT that your family won't have to drive too far, but it's removed enough from each campus so you can get away from Tampa graduation traffic. Columbia is open for both lunch and dinner, so you can enjoy the savory, authentic restaurant even if you graduate bright and early. 


Graduating college is all about turning a new page in your life and experiencing fresh, exciting things, right? Ulele is a great place to start. Inspired by authentic Native American meals, each dish at Ulele offers something unique for the palate. Fresh food combinations like Florida pompano, stuffed Maine lobster, gouda grouper and more are just the beginning of the dining experience at Ulele. Reward yourself for all your hard work with quirky and delicious desserts, like Ulele's famous bacon maple ice cream! You're sure to be impressed at this downtown Tampa restaurant, celebrating your graduation day with great food and even better memories. 

Great Tampa Restaurants, Close to Campus!

Fancy restaurants are great but if you want something a little more laid back for your graduation lunch or dinner, we have some cool restaurants in Tampa just for you. If you're looking for something close to the University of South Florida or the University of Tampa...


Fully immerse in a festive mood by visiting Acropolis for your graduation celebration! Acropolis offers an array of Greek treats with fast and wonderful service. And with two locations in Tampa, one in New Tampa by USF and the other on Kennedy a short spin from UT, both graduating classes can find something delicious to celebrate. Acropolis will also keep you entertained with more than just Pomp and Circumstance, as their dancing waiters bring more and more wonderful cuisine.

Miller's Ale House on Fowler 

At first glance, Miller's looks like a cool sports bar. In reality, it's so much more! Miller's on Fowler opened earlier this year and is already a staple in the USF area. There's a wide variety of entree items for you to choose from, including sizzling fajitas, fresh salads, build-your-own burgers and their famous "zingers." Take the edge off your long-awaited graduation day with a HUGE choice of domestic and craft beers on draft. Even though you'll be a college graduate, you can get delicious mixed drinks and specialty cocktails perfect for a college student budget. If you're looking for high-quality food for a reasonable price, head to Miller's Ale House on graduation day! 


Just up Bruce B. Downs from USF, Stonewood Grill and Tavern is a chophouse serving appetizing elegant comfort food! Celebrate the new diploma in style with their surf' n' turf options, or select on one of their steakhouse varieties to award yourself a meal fit for a newly crowned graduate. Just don't ruin your appetite on the uh-maze-ing bread, probably the best bread basket in Tampa!


Other Great Graduation Spots

BRIO Tuscan Grille

An Italian steakhouse inspired by Tuscany is located at International Plaza and Bay Street. Brio is the grad-celebratory location if you are looking for a fancy-but-still-casual option. Offering pasta, seafood, and popular grilled fare, it's perfect for any party of recent graduates, family members and friends. With an extensive wine list, it's a tremendous spot to toast the new grad after convocation.

Byblos Cafe

Indulge on your special day with a feast of Mediterranean dishes. Byblos serves traditional Lebanese cuisine that will leave each celebrating member in a wonderful food-coma. A trendy, romantic restaurant with cozy seating and a great atmosphere for an intimate gathering, surround yourself with the people you love and dine on seafood, an array of meats, vegetarian delights, and pastas!

More info: Holy Kebab! Remodeled Byblos Serves Up Authentic Lebanese Cuisine And Entertainment

Beach Bar & Restaurant

You just can't go wrong with Beach Bar & Restaurant. Located on Courtney Campbell Causeway (and still on the Tampa side of the bridge), Beach Bar is the perfect retreat away from the hustle and bustle of campus. If you're like any college student ever, you probably want to just kick your feet back and take it easy after graduating! After all, you've earned it. At Beach Bar, you can taste the salty sea air and sip a coconut cocktail as you kiss college goodbye. If your out-of-town family members don't already have a place to stay, they can book a room in Bay Harbor Hotel, just steps away from Beach Bar. This place has the whole package! 


Grillsmith restaurant radiating comfort in style! With globally influenced New American grub, you can dine and party with your new degree in a fun and casual spot in Carrollwood. There's a big community bar onsite with a snazzy ambiance, and the new craft comfort menu is perfect for big parties: seven new dishes, including a wood-fired avocado toast.


Cheezy's at Ybor brings all the tastes of Italy with an intimate and cozy dining experience. Their Italian cuisine is incredibly authentic, the bar has everything you'll ever need, and be sure to ask about their Speakeasy below for the afterparty!. Graduating deserves an all-out celebration, and Cheezy's as well as its Ybor neighborhood can get you there!

More info: Cheezy's Bistro And Speakeasy Serves Authentic Italian Cuisine with a Side of Fun

Marlow's Tavern

An All-American bar and grill located in North Tampa that creates another delicious graduation dining option. Marlow's Tavern serves American pub fare and a bar designed for events, sports, and entertainment. Celebrate your academic achievements the casual and cozy with some hard-to-resist American classics!

Cinco de Mayo

Since both USF and UT graduations fall on Cinco de Mayo, we've included some of our favorite Mexican restaurants too!

O Cocina and Flights

Sophisticated, fresh, delicious... these and more can be used to describe O Cocina and Flights. This new South Tampa restaurant has a welcoming vibe and incredible food, not to mention an extensive drink menu! Head over to O Cocina and Flights for your graduation meal and enjoy all the vibrant restaurant has to offer.

Besito Mexican Restaurant

Besito means "little kiss," and is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Tampa. Besito has a warm atmosphere, flavorful dishes and promises a fun time. You'll be welcomed with open arms on your graduation day! 

Miguel's Mexican Seafood & Grill

Get a taste of Mexico at Miguel's, an authentic restaurant with a cool vibe and delicious menu. Miguel's is one of the best places to celebrate any event, especially your college graduation. 


Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar

Continue the festivities as graduation falls on the weekend of Cinco De Mayo, and Rocco's Tacos is the place to go on Cinco De Mayo! Rocco's is a Mexican restaurant and tequila bar that will keep the party going until the late hours. Nibble on some of their late-night snacks like quesadillas and tableside guacamole. With Cinco de Mayo as well, they'll have some Cinco De Mayo deals stashed for the celebratory weekend. This place will for sure be a party this weekend!

You can read about these classic Mexican restaurants and more in our Guide to the Best Mexican Restaurants in Tampa
Whether you rep Bulls green and gold or Spartan red and black, these restaurants are a perfect fit for your celebration. Let us know in the comments which are your favorites, and where you plan to spend graduation! Make your college graduation in Tampa extra special, and congratulations! 
Embark on your post-college life with the guidance of Tampa's dining options, by registering for free on 813area. Congratulations Class of 2018!