Bored with the “same old” South Tampa restaurant scene, I was pondering some dining choices last week, when a friend suggested trying the “new place” in the spot on Howard Avenue once occupied by Ceviche. Intrigued by his recommendation about the fabulous food served in “private, curtained booths”, I decided to check it out.
Ciro’s Speakeasy is the latest venture by Gordon Davis and is located in the first floor of the Bayshore Royal Condominium. I was anxious to see his latest creation, as I loved Le Bordeaux and Ceviche is one of my favorites. The entry to the restaurant is unmarked! Ring the bell and they “peek” before granting entry! Step into the bar and your eyes must adjust to the very dimly lit (pitch black) bar area which features the same high tops as the old Ceviche, but with a fabulous aquarium, as the focal point of the room.
The “sultry experience” and prime seating is definitely achieved via the “private booths” with curtains, so plan to get there early if you want to snag one of those precious spaces. They are first-come, first-served. Positioned well away from the bar, they offer a very intimate lounge experience.
Draw the curtain, dim the light and press the button to summon the wait staff for your hand made libations. Enjoy some of the “french inspired” items on the menu, which are more tapas-style than full-course. The menu has some nice options. The tuna poke was fabulous. A huge fan of “pork belly”, we also ordered the flatbread but the barbecue sauce was overwhelming and the “flatbread” was really focaccia. Please, Gordon, leave the barbecue sauce over at Smoke, but keep the pork belly. Overall, I really enjoyed it. On the plus side, the atmosphere is intimate and romantic.