Bern’s Steak House (Tampa)

Posted on February 8th, 2021 · American Desserts Seafood Tampa

Bern’s Steak House, 1208 South Howard avenue, Tampa, Florida 33506, (813) 251-2421,

A recent e-mail received from long time Jeff Eats’ reader, Andy Gold…

Hey Jeff,

As you know I’ve been reading you for years, blah, blah, blah.

Just curious, have you ever eaten in Bern’s Steak House in Tampa? The reason I ask, is because my wife and I are going to be visiting Tampa on some personal business the first week of March and we’ve been hearing about this legendary upscale Steak House for years and figured we’d give it a shot. It’s very hard to get a reservation, etc.

Your thoughts as always would be appreciated.


Andy Gold

Andy Gold,

As you may- or may not know, Bern’s has been around since 1956. If you check YELP and other review sites, many-many-many people swear by this joint!

Long story short, over the years I’ve eaten in the joint 3-times with the latest outing having been in January, 2020.

All I can tell you is that IMHO- Bern’s Steak House is an absolute JOKE! Its overpriced food stinks and its service is absolutely horrendous (no, make that- atrocious).

Just in case you were wondering, the reason for the 3- outings, business associates picked the joint.

As you know, food reviewing is purely a subjective call. You know the game- what I like, you may hate and vice versa.

In life there are things that can’t be explained…with that in mind, why anyone would rate Bern’s Steak House as being top-shelf is beyond my comprehension!

Thanks for being such a loyal reader…


Jeff Eats

32 Comments to “Bern’s Steak House (Tampa)”

  1. Lee Gross says...

    My son attended The University of South Florida in Tampa a number of years ago. As a result on two trips up there from Miami my wife and I ended up eating at Bern’s. You are so right, this joint is a joke. Actually it’s a tourist trap. Why anyone would rate this as being a good steak restaurant is beyond me.

    • robertw says...

      Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor have it at 4-5 stars. I dont doubt your comments. I dont understand it because Yelp customers can be pretty nasty about tourist traps and especially overrated places.

  2. Jerry T says...

    Bern’s has a great wine selection.

    Its food and service aren’t the best.

  3. My husband and I ate there a few years ago.

    It reminded us of those Medievil Jousting joints that you find in Orlando and other tourist cities. Garbage food with a bunch of noise and overpriced.

  4. Lou Adler says...

    Andy Gold,

    Don’t waste your time.

  5. Al Hertz says...

    Have to agree, the food and service are not the best.
    That said, they do have a terrific wine selection.

  6. Ron Pistone says...

    I’ve lived in Tampa 30 years.
    I’m very familiar with Bern’s.
    Before moving to Tampa, I lived in Manhattan for 33 years.
    If Bern’s was in Manhattan, it would last about 25 seconds. It’s a bush league restaurant.
    I will say that its wine selection is huge.
    Why its so popular is a mystery to me.

  7. Louis Densmore says...

    If you have eaten in steak houses like Peter Luger’s, or Keen, or Bazaar Meat, or CUT, or Jeff Ruby’s you know that Bern’s is a lousy steak house.

    Why it has such a big following is beyond me.

    • robertw says...

      Actually there is an article in NY Times calling Peter Lugar the worst most overrated place on the planet. So I dont know the story there either. Bazaar Mets I have heard great things. NY Times food critic gave Peter Lugar 0 stars. THe review became infamous.

  8. Vernon Robinson says...

    Calling this joint a JOKE, is being kind.
    It is the consummate blue collar steak joint with a crowd who doesn’t know dick about what good food and service are all about.

  9. Marvin Sinclair says...

    Shoney’s had better steaks and seafood.

  10. Max K says...

    Was in Tampa this past weekend for the Super Bowl.Had heard a lot about Bern’s, ate there this past Saturday night. Food was garbage and the service was horrendous, with sides showing up long after entrees, no serving utensils, no plates for sharing appetizers, no refilling of water or drinks, no one clearing used plates from table. What a mess.
    Never ever go there.

  11. Peter Ford says...

    This restaurant is for people who think that Denny’s is a top notch diner.

  12. Jeff,
    You got it pegged right, JOKE!

    One of the most poorly run restaurants I have ever been in. As for the food, second rate. Bern’s reminds be of Rao’s in NYC. Impossible to get a reservation, all kinds of buzz, but the food is basically lousy in the end.

    Bern’s has a big rep. It’s a tourist trap. But what is, is!

    • Robert E Weisberg says...

      Raos in NY also a disappointment? Tell me it ain’t so? I ate in the one in Vegas, its his relative or something. It was ok but nothing to go wild about. I think it was pretty overpriced. I have never been to Raos. I think a great topic for Jeff would be a list of places that are highly touted, but he thinks dont meet the hype.

  13. John Henderson says...

    My son attended The University of South Florida in Tampa a number of years ago. As a result on two trips up there from Miami my wife and I ended up eating at Bern’s. You are so right, this joint is a joke. Actually it’s a tourist trap. Why anyone would rate this as being a good steak restaurant is beyond me.

  14. Gene C says...

    My family has lived in Tampa for over 37 years.
    Over the years we have eaten in Bern’s many times. No question, it’s not a top notch steak house. That said, it’s decent enough to have a nice family meal in an always bustling restaurant.

  15. George Cummings says...

    Andy Gold:

    Right up front i am telling you that Bern’s isn’t even close to being a first class steak house.

    It’s a steakhouse for the blue collar folks here in Tampa.

    Now, for what it’s worth, Bern’s has a loyal following and built itself a real nice reputation.

    If you’re looking for the real deal upscale steak house, then Bern’s is definitely not for you, that is unless you want to see a bunch of men dressed up with sport jackets and women wearing dressy dresses and high heeled shoes thinking there out on the town.

  16. James Esposito says...

    Both of my kids went to college in Tampa. Tried Bern’s in 2001 and I, my wife and the kids couldn’t believe what crappy food and amateur service the joint had. This joint is strictly for the local folks who don’t know any better.

  17. Donnie F says...

    My party of 6 ate there last Saturday night. First time for all of us. We were in town for the Super Bowl and we’re from Miami.

    Our dinner was a disaster.

    Service was horrendous.

    The food was served in drips and drabs. Nothing came out on time.
    No one cleared dishes.
    No plates for appetizers
    No serving utensils.
    No water or soda or drink refreshing.

    As for the food, absolute garbage.

    This joint is a a total loser.

  18. Susan K says...

    Bern’s interior looks like the inside of the Munster’s house.

    The restaurant is for tourists only.

    • Robert E Weisberg says...

      I actually like that sort of charm. As long as the food is decent. Like a throwback to the 50s or something.

  19. Lou Falcone says...

    If you’re into the Peter Luger’s of the world, don’t waste your time even thinking about eating at Bern’s.
    Its food is average at best.
    Its service is haphazard and lousy.
    Its decor is depressing. The joint looks like the haunted house at Disney World.
    Its prices are all over the place. With steaks fairly priced but a 3-4 mini meatball appetizer priced at 40 bucks.

    As others have mentioned, this joint is for people who don’t know any better or tourists.

  20. Jeff,

    You got this restaurant pegged right.


    The last time I ate there was in 2011 and the crowd there looked like they were from central casting for the Dukes of Hazard.

    2011 was the first and only time I ate there.
    Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!

  21. If you like walking through a maze of whore house red velvet colored dining rooms, then you will love this restaurant. Mediocre food. Lousy service. Expensive prices. AND employees who actually believe that they are working in a top notch steak house.
    By the way, on your check there is a 12% service charge that no one who works there is going to tell you about. Apparently the owners don’t pay the staff and that 12% is there salary.

    I can’t believe that my wife and i actually fell for this joint’s hype.

  22. Not the best steak house ive ever eaten in. But, I kind of liked it’s hokey look and atmosphere.

  23. Vincent DeCarlo says...

    Maybe for the Dollywood crowd.

    Definitely not for this boy!

  24. Robert E Weisberg says...

    One overrated place to me was Matoranos. I ate at the one when they were in Hollywood Casino.
    I am not the most demanding picky guy. If some place has hype and the prices are high and the food is merely average I dont go back. Maybe others felt the same way because that place closed. Tons of Ego with the owner and it seemed to have that feel to it.

  25. When I went to the University of South Florida I had a chance to eat at Bern’s a handful of times. Why this restaurant is so revered is beyond me. The food, service, decor, vibe is strictly second rate. Someone here mentioned Disney’s Haunted House and another mentioned the Munster’s House, well that about sums this joint up, SPOOKY.


  27. Ted Ruby says...

    I love a good steak.
    I’ve eaten in Bern’s exactly one time.
    One time was more than enough.
    I’ll say no more.

  28. Lou Piccolo says...

    Food is ok. Not great, but ok.

    The service is terrible.

    No serving utensils for appetizers or main dishes.

    No plates for shared appetizers.

    Baked Potatoes arrive 10 minutes after entrees.

    No refreshing of drinks.

    Just a total mess.

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