Wimauma…a Romantic Treasure in South Tampa

February 3, 2012 No Comments by Champagne Girl

Every once in a while I find a restaurant that I simply adore. It is not just the food that wins me over, but the staff and the ambiance. When I lived in California, I had a few places that were very special to me and since I have been in Tampa, I have been trying to find such a place. I am happy to say that I have found that at Wimauma.  Located at 4205 South MacDill, Wimauma is the culinary brainchild of Chef Gary Moran and his adorable wife Amy.

I have been to Wimauma three times over the last three weeks and each time I find yet another dish that knocks my stilettos off. On my first visit, I met a few friends and we shared three appetizers. The first one we tried was the Crispy Fried Florida Oysters with Guacamole, Cilantro & Smoked Tomato Jam. One bite and I was hooked. Words can’t describe this ambrosial dish. I have had this appetizer on every visit because I just can’t enough.  I love the pairing of the guacamole and the smoked tomato jam.  The flavors blend so well together that the combination is intoxicating. This dish is like a little black dress, you just have to have it.

Crispy Fried Florida Oysters w Guacamole, Cilantro & Smoked Tomato Jam
Photo courtesy of Robert Azmitia Photography

 

The second appetizer we tried was the Grilled House Made Thai Style Sausage with Green Papaya Salad & Sour Orange-Ginger Aioli.  The sour orange-ginger aioli is fabulous and I love the way it pairs with the Thai Sausage. This delectable little number is perfect for sharing.

 

Grilled House Made Thai Style Sausage with Green Papaya Salad & Sour Orange-Ginger Aioli
Photo courtesy of Robert Azmitia Photography

 

The third appetizer we tried was the Cracker Meal Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes with Crispy Country Ham, Watercress & Buttermilk-Ranch Vinaigrette.  This dish is, in my opinion, the essence of Florida-fresh cuisine. The presentation is beautiful and I love the added touch of the crispy country ham. If you dine at Wimauma, this appetizer is a must! 

Cracker Meal Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes w Crispy Country Ham, Watercress &
Buttermilk-Ranch Vinaigrette
Photo courtesy of Robert Azmitia Photography

 

As we all looked over our menus, I was drawn to one item in particular……Shrimp and Grits. A few months ago, I had asked a question on my Facebook page and wanted to know if anyone had ever experienced love at first bite.  Amy Moran responded and said that she was dining at a place in South Tampa and loved the shrimp and grits so much that she had to meet the chef.  Low and behold, the chef was her now-husband, Gary Moran. I could not think of a better reason to try this dish and let me tell you, it is beyond delicious. It consists of large, Florida shrimp sautéed with tomato, basil, white wine and pork bark and then served over old school grits.  Since living in Florida, I have become quite fond of grits and these are the best I have ever tasted.

Shrimp & Grits- Large Florida Shrimp Sautéed w Tomato, Basil, White Wine & Pork Bark,
served over Old School Grits
Photo courtesy of Robert Azmitia Photography

My friend went with Beef Two Ways, which consists of Grilled NY Strip & Red Wine-Chocolate Braised Beef Shoulder served over Orzo with Fresh Ricotta & Rosemary.  He raved about this dish and had I not been so full I would have tried it.  This is the dish I will be ordering on my next visit.

Beef Two Ways-Grilled NY Strip & Red Wine-Chocolate Braised Beef Shoulder served over
Orzo with Fresh Ricotta & Rosemary
Photo courtesy of Robert Azmitia Photography

 

Another friend of mine tried the Pork Two Ways which is Grilled Pork Loin Served w Smoked Pork Belly, White Beans, Collard Greens & a Sherry-Mustard Sauce.  She could not stop talking about how wonderful it was!  I was so busy enjoying my shrimp and grits that I forgot to ask for a bite. :)

 

Pork Two Ways- Grilled Pork Loin Served w Smoked Pork Belly, White Beans,
Collard Greens & a Sherry-Mustard Sauce
Photo courtesy of Robert Azmitia Photography

 

My friend Kristie ordered the Southern Style Fried Chicken Bucket served with French Fries, Hushpuppies & Honey-Mustard Sauce.  I am a huge fan of comfort food and fried chicken is one of my favorites. I tried a piece and was truly impressed. Their fried chicken is some of the best I have ever taste. Moist and tender it is perfectly seasoned. 

Southern Style Fried Chicken Bucket served w French Fries, Hushpuppies & Honey-Mustard Sauce
Photo courtesy of Robert Azmitia Photography

 

As we ate, sipped on wine and enjoyed good conversation, I was drawn to the chalk board menu which is a focal point of the restaurant.  I saw something that I knew I just had to try….a Chocolate Bacon Brownie.  As the saying goes, “bacon makes everything better,” and this dessert proves it!  A rich, decadent chocolate brownie with hints of bacon and served with butter pecan ice cream, this dessert is a crown pleaser. I have had chocolate covered bacon before, but this dessert is much better. We also tried the Peanut Butter & Jelly  Crème Brulee which is simply divine. 

 

 

 

Chocolate Bacon Brownie
Photo courtesy of Robert Azmitia Photography

Wimauma is one of the freshest concepts in town and showcases true Floridian cuisine with innovative dishes and their reinvention of Southern classics. In a few weeks, I have some visitors coming to Tampa from my hometown of San Jose, CA.  I will definitely be taking them to Wimauma. Chef Gary and Amy have done an unbelievable job with their restaurant and their passion for fresh food speaks volumes. Every time I have gone in for dinner, I have experienced some of the greatest service and have been made to feel like home.  They have made me feel like family and for a California Girl trying to fall in love with Florida, they have made it very easy. After living here for eight years, I have finally found a place that makes me feel at home.

If you are looking for a special place for Valentine’s Day, I highly recommend Wimauma. To view their special Valentine’s menu, please visit their Facebook page by clicking here.

 

Wimauma on Urbanspoon

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