Ponte in Midtown Tampa was probably the most anticipated restaurant in Tampa. Chef Ponte has won basically every heart in Tampa Bay with On Swann and Olivia so the bar was high but everyone knew he would deliver.
I managed to get a reservation on the second day they were open (it was at 5:15 pm but I’m basically an old lady so it was fine). I wanted to try many of the menu items so I dragged along The Husband and one of my bffs.
The outside was as gorgeous as their Instagram suggested it would be. It’s right on the corner of the entrance to Midtown and there was complimentary valet parking right next to it.
We sat outside, which was nice but the traffic was really loud. I swear every South Tampanian with a tricked out Mustang drove by. The seating was really comfortable and it looked like there were heaters if it got chilly.
The inside was also super gorgeous. I loved the bar, which is first come first serve. I’ll try and grab a seat at the bar the next time I go.
We started with cocktails. The cocktail menu is super fun; they have a classic and modern version of popular drinks. We started with the modern Cosmopolitan, the modern French 75, and the modern Mai Tai. They were all so good!
We also tried the modern Negroni and modern Margarita, and loved those too. If I had to pick a favorite it would be the modern Cosmo, but they were all seriously so good.
We started with the mushroom soup and the French Onion Soup. The mushroom soup was hands down the best I’ve ever had, plus the presentation was fun. They essentially pour the soup table side. The French Onion was also delicious, and not too salty like they often turn out.
Since The Husband basically doesn’t eat anything on the menu, he ordered the Parker House rolls. They were so fluffy and delightful. They only make a limited number each night so our wonderful server said to order them as soon as you sit down.
A bread platter was also offered. Although they all looked good, we all had the focaccia. It was super fluffy and flavorful with all the herbs.
Instead of ordering entrees, we ordered a bunch of the starters to share. We had the burrata with roasted grapes and squash jam. The burrata was super creamy and the grapes were a nice touch. I hate squash, so I didn’t try the jam but it looked like it was probably pretty good.
We also had the lobster cappelletti and it was the star of the night! The sauce was so good, the pasta was so fresh, and the lobster was cooked perfectly.
We also had the escargot. I love escargot, especially when it’s so well made like this one. It was topped with a little puff pastry and so flavorful, and not at all rubbery. Snail perfection.
We couldn’t leave without dessert. We shared the cheesecake and it was *chef’s kiss.* It was light and fluffy and not at all dense, and tasted so good. Plus, like the soup, it is finished at the table and super fun.
Everything was so good, but the modern Cosmo, the Parker House rolls, the lobster cappelletti will absolutely be ordered probably every time we go.
We don’t eat red meat, but they have quite the extensive steak menu that people seemed to be really enjoying.
They do have a dress code, but it’s really just a reminder not to look like you just left the beach. No cargo shorts, flip flops, etc etc. If you are worried about the dress code, the patio has looser requirements.