The appropriately named On Swann, located on the corner of Swann Avenue and Oregon Avenue, is Tampa, Florida’s Hyde Park neighborhood’s newest restaurant. The interior displays a simple, yet chic open kitchen and bar concept that mixes nice touches of stone, velvet, and wood that give a nod to refined rustic design. The fresh flowers and friendly staff, along with the open dining room and large windows give the new establishment a warm and welcoming feel. The antique mixed silverware was also a nice touch showing that the design was thought through down to every little detail.We decided to take the risk of dining on the grand opening night of the restaurant, knowingly lending ourselves as guinea pigs to the fresh set of waiters and chefs ready to display their talents. We went for an early dinner assuming that it would be pretty crowded due to the local media coverage the restaurant had recently gained. At five o’clock we walked in the door and were promptly seated. Although they had already been booked full for dinner service, they were able to squeeze us in to one of the few tables available.
The cuisine is branded as American fresh and seasonal, and menu offerings were limited to a page but contained a variety of small plates and entrées. The dishes were not your typical burgers and steaks like many American styled restaurants offer. On Swann’s Chef Ponte did a fantastic job of capturing flavors from across the country using fresh, seasonal, and (when available) local ingredients. The menu offers everything from Nashville inspired hot chicken to coastal cuisine fresh fish and even New Orlean’s beignet-like zeppole’s with parmesan and ricotta whip.
We began our meal with the warm parm zeppoles and whipped ricotta corn dip as well as a cheese and accoutrement board. The zeppoles, which are traditionally coated in sugar as a fried dessert, took on a savory transformation being coated in parmesan. Accompanied by the warm fresh whipped ricotta dip, this zeppole appetizer was both filling and delicious. The saltiness of the parmesan coating combined with the creaminess of the ricottawas the perfect bite. You never know what to expect with a chef chosen cheese board, but On Swann’s cheese board was an excellent assortment. The cheese board included artisan crackers and cheeses from the cream, blue, and cheddar families, as well as both dried and fresh fruit and Marcona almonds. However, while the cheeses themselves were delicious, the show stopper of the plate was the locally sourced honey and locally made strawberry-basil jam. Paired with the various cheeses, the honey and jam were incredibly tasty. We may have even asked for some bread so we could finish off the jam…
For my entrée I ordered the “Beets Salad”, which is actually listed as a starter, but is big enough for an entree especially after sharing an appetizer. The salad, which consisted of red endive, pear, citrus fruit, beet, whipped goat cheese, and pistachio vinaigrette was fresh and light. I would recommend adding bacon to the dressing in the future, as it lacked a small savory-salty component to round out the flavors. Others at the table ordered the kale salad and pimento cheese burger, both of which I was able to also try. The kale salad was tasty but had the crunch factor of a slaw and needed more dressing to give it some life. The burger was juicy and savory, great for a hearty meal.All in all, On Swann blew me away with the smooth and quick service on their first official night. The plates passing by all looked delicious and unique. The staff was friendly and took pride in every detail of the menu. The food and atmosphere were different and excellent, and I would definitely recommend this restaurant to a friend. The best part was that the menu offered reasonably affordable prices for the excellent food, making this the perfect date night or a break from cooking at home. Located in the Hyde Park district of South Tampa this restaurant makes the perfect end to an evening of walking around Hyde Park. I have no doubts that this will become one of the next go-to restaurants in the area, and may give others a run for their money.