The Bungalow Restaurant boasts a burgeoning crowd in Tampa

Tomato Stack and Kingston Curry Shrimp are favorite appetizers.

Bungalow homes were popular for their simplicity, comfort and lack of ostentation. And that can be said about the food at the namesake Bungalow restaurant.

If being “in’’ were all, the Bungalow would deserve kudos. Built in 1919, this quaint building has served as a duplex, a book store, and most recently, a popular eatery that seems to host a crowd. With enough flat-screen televisions to indulge sports fanatics, weekend patrons also head here for  live music and plenty of drink specials. Good weather bodes well for al fresco dining on its porch and deck. The Bungalow offers convivial hospitality, a well-stocked bar, and with some luck working the menu, some memorable appetizers.

A new menu was introduced last week with coconut, cranberries and curry giving a flirty flip to chicken salad. Monterey Jack cheese, bourbon chicken, pineapple and roasted red peppers sway atop Key West pizza while hearts of palm ups the anty of spinach dip.

A pile of Kingston Curry Shrimp, tossed in a tempting, coconut and red pepper aioli, can be addicting. The Seared Ahi Tuna plate teases with a whimsical mango chutney. Sweet, sliced tomatoes — essential for a caprese-esque stack — alternate with fresh Mozzarella and basil leaves, and a swirl of basil vinaigrette.  Bungalow knows its mojo: crisp, fried yucca sassys up to a mojo vinaigrette, as mojo-marinated pork dots the nachos.

BBQ Pork Sandwich pairs homemade potato chips and cole slaw.

The kitchen does well with straightforward salads: a Bungalow Cobb is visually attractive  with grilled chicken, roasted peppers and hearts of palm, in a fruity, balsamic vinaigrette. Ceviche calamari couples roasted red peppers and tomatoes; Sizzling Steak invites cilantro and cucumbers, and Key lime teriyaki salmon and greens blend with a mango dressing.  New sandwiches include a Chicken Caesar Wrap; ham and Swiss on a pretzel bun; caprese Panini on a low-carb flatbread; and a grilled chicken and yellow rice Caribbean wrap.

Bungalow’s entrées are varied with a 10-ounce strip steak, veggie burgers, and more than a dozen sandwiches thrown in. Fresh grouper, mahi-mahi and other fish can be ordered grilled,  blackened, jerked, or glazed with mango or teriyaki.

A charred, Hawaiian chicken should never have left the kitchen. One look and you could see it was a dry bird. An overly sweet, sauce on the BBQ pork-caramelized onion sandwich came with so-so cole slaw and kitchen made, potato chips. Guinness beer-battered fish and chips was a strikeout because its heavy batter overwhelmed the fish (it wasn’t hot, too). However, we didn’t leave hungry, although we did miss out on Bungalow’s Key lime pie and chocolate chip cookie sandwiches.

The Bungalow Restaurant and Bar

Find it: 2202 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa
Hours: Sun: 10 am to 10 pm, M-Th, 11- 11 p.m. F, 11 am to midnight, Sat, 10 to midnight.
Way to pay: AE, MC; V
Call: (813) 253-3663
Web

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Another sign of the apocalypse: New York City’s  beloved Elaine’s closed last week. Getting in was a challenge: whether you had been waiting all day, had press credentials or was a neighbor for 20 years. Remember the opening scene in Woody Allen’s movie, Manhattan? That was Elaine’s. Know  Billy Joel ”Big Shot”  song? Another Elaine’s mention.  Author Stuart Woods begins most of his books with his hero having dinner there, too. Read more

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Man vs. Pepto Bismal: Tampa Bay area viewers can tune in to Man vs. Food Nation tonight (9:30 pm on Travel Channel) to cheer on three local eateries. Wrestler Jerry Saga turns up the heat at Rapscallions, 4422 Land O Lakes Blvd. in Land O Lakes, by to pin habanera- and-capsaicin extract-laced wings so incendiary that employees wear face masks around them.

Host Adam Richman sings praises for the alligator ribs at Skipper’s Smokehouse and samples a Cubano sandwich at Aguila Sandwich Shop (3200 W Hillsborough Ave.). I’ve yet to taste Aguila’s sandwiches so I’ll be curious to tune in.

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Big benefactor: Bob Johnston, president of Front Burner Brands, was on “Celebrity Apprentice” recently to give $25,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Read more

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The Boss is back: Buddy Valastro, the fourth generation star of Cake Boss and two other reality shows, talks flour and fondant Friday when he visits Tampa’s David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets start at $29.25. Call (813)  229-7827. I’m sure his stories will take the cake about his Carlos’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J.

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2 comments to The Bungalow Restaurant boasts a burgeoning crowd in Tampa

  • Julie Smith

    A couple of those sandwiches sound yummy. My list of Tampa restaurants I want to visit keeps getting longer.

  • John Kosik

    Not fair Mary. Just got in from work and what’s in the kitchen pales before what’s at the Bungalow.

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