Rusty Pelican - Tampa

4.6
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1770 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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American
Nestled along the shore of Old Tampa Bay is a fine dining oasis where locals love to meet and tourists love to discover. For 25 years, The Rusty Pelican has served Tampa Bay with elegant cuisine and rustic charm.Located at the southernmost tip of Pelican Island, this restaurant boasts a quiet setting for lunch and dinner yet is accessible from major roadways and just minutes from downtown Tampa.

The Rusty Pelican offers a wide array of amenities that include a full menu specializing in American cuisine. The menu features the Chef’s Daily Selections that provide diners with rare and delicious options to offset the incredible fresh seafood and juicy steaks that the menu already offers.

Please contact the restaurant for reservations over 8 guests. We will do our best to accommodate your reservation.

The Rusty Pelican can accommodate any event for 20 - 250, from weddings to corporate events and private parties in 1 of our 6 banquet rooms. Contact an event specialist 813.281.1943
What 1770 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Dallas
5 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food3service5ambience5

View was great, the steak was well done instead of medium. Waitress was great

H
Dallas
27 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Visiting family in Tampa, I had trepidation’s about suggesting a restaurant; particularly on a Sunday.
I’ve enjoyed Rusty Pelican in Newport Ca for years.
My fears were unfounded! Everything from our seats at the window, to the service, to the abundance of fare at the buffet was spectacular- thank you all!
It is always a pleasure (and relief) when same name restaurants are consistent with their food and service!

s
Tampa
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Takes me back to how Florida was. Dinner with great food and a view

CG
Tampa
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall3food2service4ambience3

Food was not worth the cost . Food taste was average. The service was good. Location is nice but still not worth the price for the quality of the food .

RP
Tampa
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The attention and customer service was great once i open de front door. We did not wait too much to get the table ready. The food was awesome! That crab cake is the end! Delicious. Drinks were really good. Taylor (our waitress) was excelent, thank you Taylor for the recommendations and great attention. You’re very sweet and awesome.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Birthday dinner beautiful restaurant

r
St. Louis
5 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful time, great food, wonderful atmosphere but most of all, Alex provided terrific service and was a lot of fun. She helped with menu choices and never let our drinks go dry, what a joy!!

LM
Tampa
9 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was great, but the meals were pricey. My daughter is a vegetarian, so they offered to make her a Scallop dish with Tofu instead of scallops. We were still charged the full price for that dish, $36! That was ridiculous! Otherwise, everything else was great & we had a nice evening.

H
1 review
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall2food3service2ambience4

Overall the Rusty Pelican was just OK. For the price of the meal we were expecting a better experience. We could have went to a less expensive local establishment and enjoyed the meal more. They didn’t have enough Waite staff available to really serve tables well. The food was portrayed and plated as being amazing but was just good.

p
Tampa
52 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall3food3service5ambience4

For the price you can go somewhere else. However, with their rewards program you will benefit with more visits. The best part of our experience Sandy our waitress. She makes it worth the visit.

JG
Tampa
32 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food with a fantastic view of Tampa Bay. The prices are a little bit steep but well worth it. The service was absolutely outstanding. Our server, Jade, is a true professional and had control of everything.

OT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Went for an early dinner on a Friday evening. If you're looking for a "scene-y" venue, go elsewhere. What you will get is a relaxed vibe, great food and cocktails, and a fantastic view of the bay.

CD
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great New Year's Eve dinner! Delicious food, great service and super ambiance. Would definitely recommend!

OT
Tampa
3 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

New Years Eve

JW
Tampa
4 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Perfect evening...... the Waitress was super nice and efficient. The food was delicious and the dessert was amazing. Very good night out to end 2019.

RB
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bday dinner for a dear friend. Service was prompt, friendly, and personable. Food came out hot and tasted excellent.

G
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Great strip steak and smashed potatoes. We also had the Brussel sprouts and salmon. They were delicious. Took awhile to pay our bill, but our waitress was slammed with 2 large tables. Another waitress checked us out.

OT
Tampa
7 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Rusty Pelican never disappoints! Great food, atmosphere, wine list

H
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience2

The Rusty Pelican from years ago has changed dramatically, for the worse. Upon entering, the carpet was in less than desirable condition (worn and stained) and the carpet/wood transition appeared to be wet. Bringing a guest to brunch, at first glance, was quite embarrassing. Walking past the fireplace to the main dining area only diminished and set the tone of the brunch experience. We should have left. Noisy, brash, gone are the days where folks actually appreciated enjoying a lovely brunch or breakfast on the water. The gentleman that attended to us was stellar and engaging! Absolutely loved him! No, we are not elitists; simply was looking forward to a nice, seemingly semi-quiet and quality atmosphere for brunch. This was not it!

OT
Jacksonville
13 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had an amazing dining experience this evening. The tomahawk is a must! Thoroughly enjoyed the ambience and our dining concierge was spectacular. This restaurant is a must-dine when visiting Tampa.

OT
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Very elegant

DJ
Orlando
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Our food was mediocre at best. We ordered the calamari appetizer. The rings were human ring size. Like crumbs. Sauce was very tasty however. My husband's lobster tail was mushy; the filet was ok. I had crab stuffed fish (uneventful so have already forgotten what fish, grouper maybe.) The roasted brussel sprouts were best part of my meal. Service was good. Would we go back. Probably not.

BG
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience2

Rusty Pelican is an appropriate name. This place has seen better days. The view keeps them in business. Food is overpriced and marginal at best. We had a two pound lobster tail (really how old was this thing?) which was tough and burnt. My husband had 3 scallops and 5 carrots for $36. Building is cool but like an old school supper club. Clientele to match. Service was great but probably will not go back. Wish I could report a more positive experience.

JD
Tampa
3 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience3

Food is excellent, but ham & lamb were a bit overdone, everything else was delicious. The location on the water is great and ambience is also very nice, however, each year there are less Christmas decorations (this was year 10 for me for Christmas buffet!). Staff is excellent! Carver this year was a bit surly, but wait staff and other servers were pleasant, happy and efficient without being obtrusive. Thank you Rusty Pelican for another great Christmas!

E
Orlando
3 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Christmas family dinner and it was a wonderful meal

F
Tampa
7 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Once again, The Christmas Buffet at Rusty Pelican-Tampa was fantastic. We had a larger group this year so we were seated in a room with other large groups. This was fantastic, and the water views were so beautiful. They actually have 2 buffet rooms and we were very close to one of them which was never crowded. The variety of foods and deserts was awesome. Everyone enjoyed the buffet, atmosphere, and the extremely attentive wait staff. They kept everyone's Mimosa flutes full and the create-your-own Bloody Mary bar was well stocked with fixings.
Special Kudos to Don Gray, who is fantastic manager. He was everywhere and kept everything running like a top. There is so much to like about this place. We will be back for both our birthday's and Easter.

TC
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

On arrival we were promptly seated. It was Christmas Day, there were 2 separate buffets set up in two areas. The food and service were very good.

DM
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a good experience and staff is extremely nice

RA
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

By far the best Christmas buffet in the Bay Area
We plan to make our meal there a family tradition!

EO
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We've gone to Rusty Pelican on holidays once or twice a year for years. My only major issues are the increasing costs, and the valet parking.
Valet is free, but apparently is now mandatory, which prevents people from self parking in the handicapped section near the rear ramp. It was actually blocked by cones. I cant do the front steps due to disability. I can walk with assistance, but if we valet, I assume I would have to walk from the front all the way to the back ramp upon our arrival, and then from the ramp back to the front upon our departure? I have no idea what wheelchair customers do. The valets very very nice, but one valet asked us to leave the handicapped parking area, and that we had to use valet instead. Another valet said it was ok to park there due to our circumstances, and I was able to use the ramp. Maybe there is a front ramp I am unaware of?

g
Houston
4 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We went for Christmas Day Buffet and right away were greeted very warmly, even do we arrived 15 min early then our booked time. We were told that it was not a problem, that we could go inside and enjoy some charcuterie and Mimosas as we waited to be seated.
Once seated our servers were very attentive, no sooner we finish, our empty dishes were taken away and our mimosas glasses were never empty.
The quality of the food was amazing for a buffet. There was such good selections to choose from.
The setting is beautiful over the water, where we enjoyed seen the wild life.

i
Tampa
3 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was delicious! Great service and view. I would definitely visit it again.

TS
Tampa
8 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent Christmas Eve experience.

l
Tampa
13 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Food and service are improved but decor is that of a seventies country club. A shame since the view is marvelous

DI
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Gold flood Nice ambiance....especilly for us coing trop France