Bern's has been a Tampa icon since 1956 and known for its large steaks of course but also so much more in an upscale casual ambiance.
From 25 types of caviar to a world's largest wine cellar with over one-half million bottles, Bern's offers truly unique and 5-star dining in a real steakhouse environment.
Start with a tour of the kitchen and the wine cellar with a small group to see what goes on behind the scenes. You WILL be impressed.
Bern's is only open for dinners and reservations are highly recommended and bring a camera!
AND DON'T FORGET TO EXPERIENCE THE DESSERT ROOM!
Favorite Dish: I don't believe that I could ever choose a favorite although the filet mignon I had may be the best steak I have ever experienced.
Also, the dessert room is about as awesome as it gets.
Bern's Steakhouse, located on South Howard, looks an awful lot like a high-end French whorehouse, but it is actually a high-end Tampa steakhouse. And you don't just come for a quick dinner; you get the whole dining experience to include about 5 courses to the meal, a tour of the kitchen, a walk through the amazing wine cellar, and finally a trip to the upstairs dessert room.
We arrived right sat 7:30pm, a few minutes before our dining companions, and we waited in the front room of the whorehouse... I mean restaurant...with with its red velvet everything, marble busts, and carved wood bannister on the steps leading to the upstairs rooms (Dessert rooms that is).
We were soon seated far in the back of the restaurant, past the kitchen. I started my meal with a Blue Point Toasted Lager beer from Long Island, and the others had sweet tea, ginger ale, and water. Later we got an awesome $100+ bottle of wine to sip with our dinners. We all had steak in 10 ounce and under portions. Believe it or not, after the complimentary cheese, salads, French onion soup, onion rings, and carrots, an 8 or 10 ounce steak was more than enough food. I had mine rare with a warm center, and it was juicy, tender, and full of flavor with its light sprinkling of salt, pepper and garlic.
After our meal we took a tour of the huge kitchen (I think they said it is 3x as big as the dining area). Then we went downstairs to the massive wine cellar, which the sommelier said was the second largest in America. They have some 100,000 bottles of wine on site, plus another 400,000 bottles next door in a windowless, climate controlled building. The oldest wine is an 1802 Madeira, and the most expensive is $30,000 a bottle.
After dinner and the tour of the kitchen and wine cellar, we found our way up to the dessert floor, where we we seated in a private booth shaped a bit like a wine cask. The dessert menu runs some 65 pages, but it is mostly dessert wines, ports and sherries. I had an Irish coffee and got to sample some banana cheese pie, a chocolatey liquid center pie, and a rich, tasty macadamia nut sundae (which the waiter claimed took 300 recipes to perfect). Our dessert alone ran about $65 before tip!
Everything in Bern's is homemade including the bread, cheeses, even the pots and pans. Bern's has its own farm in Tampa where many of the vegetable are grown and served fresh. I believe the utensils and metal pans are handmade at the Bern's Steakhouse factory in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Bern's was established in 1956 by Bern Laxton, who is said to have been a huge fan of French wine. He bought many of his older French wines while touring Europe and from high-class auctions.
In 2011 Tampa Bay Metro Magazine named Bern's the "Best Classic Dining" in the Tampa Bay area!
Bern’s Steak House is listed as one of the world’s best and has been featured on many of the foodie shows. Bern’s has absolutely amazing aged steaks, one of the largest wine cellars in the world, an amazing caviar list and some fantasy worthy side dishes.
Don’t let all the fancy foods and features this is a place EVERYONE will enjoy. It’s a totally unique and seeing the interior alone is worth the visit.
Some things to know about Berns:
• If it’s your first time do the tour – Bern’s is know for its high standard and food and offers its patrons a tour, take it, you’ll enjoy seeing the restaurant, its cooking areas and wine cellars and learning about how they maintain their high standards.
• Reservations are recommended, especially during the holidays.
• If you arrive without reservations and no tables are available, eat at the bar. The bar is actually one of my favorite rooms in the restaurant and the full menu is available.
• Take time to read the ten page menu and don’t be afraid to ask the waiters questions. Main dishes include chicken, fish, foie gras, lamb, pork, lobster and veal but its of course known for its amazing aged steaks.
• Order one steak and split it and get sides for two. This will allow Bern’s to slice a larger steak and cook it to absolute perfection. Don’t worry this is what the locals do and what Bern’s recommends. Only works if both of you like your steak cooked the same way.
• The entrees here are reasonably priced given the exceptional quality and all the extras (soup and sides).
Budget tips –
o It’s easy to spend a ton of money here. However, it’s also really easy to have a fantasy worthy dinner for two for less than $60 (including tax and tip). A trip to the desert room is extra.
o Alcohol and wines can easily double your bill here.
o Soft drinks here do NOT have free refills and are a bit pricey.
o Since the entrees come with sides, if you order appetizer etc you won’t be able to finish the meal. Stick with the main meal and save your $ for the desert room.
Favorite Dish: • The steaks come with either soup or salad and a choice of veggies – you won’t make a bad choice but I recommend the vichyssoise (cold potato soup). It’s absolutely amazing!
When you arrive be sure to make a reservation for the desert room! It will be hard, but do save room for desert (or at least room to split one) and if you’re a coffee drinker DO order their coffee! Yum!
Their coffee is out of this world. You can buy a bag of beans to take home too!
bern's steakhouse was established in 1956 and is a tampa institution. excellent steak and seafood selection. the restaurant offers a lounge and a huge wine selection. one of the better restaurants in tampa. dress code is coat and tie or business casual. reservations are recommended.
Bern's specializes in steaks. A non-descript exterior hides an interior worthy of Disney (including a foyer/lobby that one pictures a bordello to look like). The showiness extends beyond the decor with an extensive eclectic wine list and menu. The smooth waiters steer one to the abbreviated menu and winelist and suggest one share a bigger steak than order two smaller, individual steaks. However, sharing does not extend to the vegetables accompanying the steak - one of my companions was handed her half of the steak minus any veg. and had to ask for the veg. to be equally shared.
Unlike top class steak restaurants you do not get to look at a selection of steak, but you do get to see a tray of them (looking much the same as each other!) when you tour the kitchens - a feature of the restaurant. The menu talks about ageing but I did not read that section, so assumed - perhaps wrongly - that all the steak were aged. My 1/2 of "Delmonico" steak did not have the mouth feel of a rib eye style piece of meat and it was tough to boot. Aged? Hmmm.
The waiter offered to replace my steak which I refused. So he gave me a free dessert instead.
The companion who shared my steak did not comment then but has said that his was tough too and that he is happy not to experience Bern's again.
The after dinner tour was of their wine cellar and kitchens (nothing out of the ordinary if you have been to Napa and Europe), culminating with a walk up the stairs to mock casks in which we were seated for dessert. Again an extensive menu and accompanying wines and liquors. A neat marketing move as we would not otheerwise have ordered desserts.
I asked our server why the Ridge Geyserville was marked as $54.95 (or $56.95) up there and about $60.95 in the dining room. She did not know. All she could say was that they did not offer many of the ame wines upstairs and downstairs.
For the price we could have done better at a Ruth's Chris. But do go to Bern's for the spectacle.
Favorite Dish: Nothing.
They claim to have the most extensive wine list in the country.
The waiters train for 1-2 years before they serve you!
Favorite Dish: Voted America's best steak house by Wine Spectator magazine. Phenomenal wine list.
You have to get a steak (but the Rack of Lamb is good too).
BERN'S STEAKHOUSE $$$$
Picked as the best Steakhouse in America by the Wine Spectator.
Largest wine list in the world.
Absolutely cool place! This place looks like a bordello, there are many separate rooms, each unique. One is red, another one is green. You have to move upstairs to a special room to eat your desert.
Bern's Steak House
Old Meeting House
Both these places are unique, off the beaten path and are frequented by locals.
Favorite Dish: Steak at dinner at Bern's. This is a unique experience and is pricy. However, make sure you have time to enjoy the dessert bar after dinner.
The Old Meeting House is a lunch spot nearby which has home made ice cream. Sandwiches and milk shakes recommended.
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