Ulele – Tampa Heights Newest Gem

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For non local peeps, Tampa Heights is a let’s call it……evolving neighborhood.  However some great restaurants have been coming into the area and a lot of projects have been popping up revitalizing the area.  It is such a beautiful location surrounding the river and with easy access to downtown.

The restaurant was the visionary of the well known Columbia Restaurant Group which that restaurant is a landmark when people visit this area and Ybor city.  Ulele is named after the Tocobaga Indian Princess who apparently saved the life of the Spanish conquistador Juan Ortiz.  There is a large statue in her honor at the front of the building.  The menu is a very farm to table concept where the meat is listed down to the local farm it was raised on.

I met my girlfriend Veniece on the most gorgeous sunny Saturday for lunch.  I love trying lunch at higher end places.  The menus are usually more affordable so you can try a few different options.  The building opens up onto the patio with a gorgeous view of the waterfront.

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Definitely was bustling.  I thought I almost heard the waitress wrong when she said that wait would be an hour and a half.  I said “sure for two” and gave her my number for a text alert.  Restaurants always say that and the wait is never that long.  We stalked out two seats at the bar and got down to the most important part…..figuring out which of the fantastic sounding specialty cocktails to narrow it down to.

I am not a huge cocktail drinker by any means but I do love a light and refreshing drink especially when it’s warm out.  Nailed the drink choice.  Not too sweet or tangy.  It was just perfect and didn’t kill my stomach afterwards like some overly sweet drinks do.

Ring of Fire on the left and Native Summer on the Right

They also brew their own beer.  Of course they do.

We were talking and catching up and noticed it had been 45 minutes after staring at the amazing menu for too long we decided to order.

Let me tell you what those burgers were legit.  You know I’m a self proclaimed burger connoisseur and this one was delicious. We also split the portbello mushroom burger.  Amazing.  We got a side of the chimichurri sauce which had avocado in it.  I want to put that over all fries from now on.

After we ordered our food and had it served…..an hour and a half later I got a text that our table was ready.  Next time I will definitely do open table.

I really liked the concept of local ingredients and FL history.  The decor and artwork on the inside was museum worthy.  I overheard all the servers talking about how rare the pieces were and from what private collections they were acquired from.  I definitely want to go back to soak up all the history and culture the next time.

So my overall opinion is that the spot is absolutely gorgeous and such a treat for a beautiful weather weekend.  I do want to go back for dinner but definitely with a reservation!  Great new Tampa gem which is already making National top lists which is pretty impressive considering they have only been open for a few months!

Do you go to the newest openings or do you wait for all the hype and excitement to die down?  Is there an area in your local city that they are revitalizing and all the new trendy spots are heading there?  I can’t wait to go back!  xoxoxoxo  

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27 Comments

  1. January 22, 2015 / 5:25 AM

    I seriously cannot wait to go here.
    I think I’m going to spend all afternoon there, which is totally fine, bring on the cocktails!!
    March can’t come soon enough!

  2. January 22, 2015 / 11:39 AM

    This place looks awesome and the food–my mouth is watering for a burger at 6am! haha I’ll have to remember this if I’m ever down your way! :)

  3. January 22, 2015 / 11:43 AM

    The sprawling floor to ceiling windows with the view are incredible!!! Anywhere that has a burger like that makes me happy!!! xo, Biana – BlovedBoston

  4. January 22, 2015 / 12:08 PM

    This place seriously looks and sounds awesome! The windows are amazing. And that burger looks SO good! Definitely need to check this out the next time I’m in Tampa!!

  5. January 22, 2015 / 12:24 PM

    Looks amazingly, delicious!!!!! And that drink, cheers!

  6. January 22, 2015 / 1:15 PM

    This place looks like fun- and what a view!
    I hate waiting for a table- but at least you girls got seats at the bar so you could pass the time with some yummy cocktails! :)

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  7. January 22, 2015 / 2:04 PM

    Wow, that is beautiful! The food looks amazing! There’s a very old neighborhood here called Riverside/5 Points that has gone through some revitalizing over the last few years and they have a lot of really cool, local type places I want to try!

  8. January 22, 2015 / 2:08 PM

    J and I almost always sit at the bar when we go out now. We got tired of waiting on tables when we lived in Charlotte and are never together enough to remember to make reservations–but it also allows for our dining experience to be more “social” which is always fun! This food looks freaking delish and now I’m craving a burger at 9AM.

  9. January 22, 2015 / 2:22 PM

    ah i love going to new spots and checking them out. that place looks awesome. maybe awesome enough for a blate? a girl can dream ha. and love that photo bomb at the end :)

    cheshirekatblog.com

  10. January 22, 2015 / 2:43 PM

    can’t believe the waiting! thats ridiculous. but the place is gorgeous and the food looks yummy! i love portobello mushrooms on burgers, yum!

  11. January 22, 2015 / 2:44 PM

    idk if i’m more jealous of the food or that sunshine. damn!!

  12. January 22, 2015 / 3:23 PM

    Those burgers look really good!

  13. January 22, 2015 / 3:28 PM

    Local ingredients are always the best when it comes to restaurants. It draws me in. We have burger place up here in Ohio called The Rail. It’s 100% Ohio produce, beef, and beer. Nothing you eat there isn’t found in Ohio. (:

  14. January 22, 2015 / 3:47 PM

    This place looks gorgeous!! And the food sounds amazing! Just patiently waiting for my FL trip over here :)

  15. January 22, 2015 / 3:50 PM

    Drinks, burgers and local farms?! I’m so there. Thanks for the tip about the wait, I’ll definitely be doing a Saturday after my spending freeze is over!

  16. January 22, 2015 / 3:51 PM

    I love checking out places like that! Love the outdoor seating for sunny days!

  17. January 22, 2015 / 5:58 PM

    This place looks fabulous! All I need is a good cocktail, yummy food, and outdoor seating and I’m happy as a clam :)

  18. January 22, 2015 / 6:02 PM

    That place looks so cool! And OMG those burgers!!!!!!!!! You know I am a burger connoisseur myself! I just love a damn good burger and those look like great ones!

  19. January 22, 2015 / 7:07 PM

    My kinda spot! Love that hungry photo-bomber in your pic haha. Burgers must be legit to try for sure and the chimichurri sounds insanely good!

  20. January 25, 2015 / 7:59 PM

    I’ve heard great things about this restaurant! Definitely on my list to try sometime soon!

  21. January 26, 2015 / 4:02 AM

    That burger looks so good!!! I havent had bread in sooo long I want to jump through the screen!

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