Registry Tampa Bay

I’m a wine girl. So why am I recommending a restaurant called Whiskey Cake? Because, despite the name, the Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar at International Plaza is about a lot more than whiskey (although they carry over 300 selections of said beverage). It’s about unique, delicious, food; smooth mixed drinks you might not normally try; and fun.

The place has been open for only about three months, but the place is jamming. The ambience is immediate welcoming, thanks to the soft hues of rose-colored brick on the walls, blonde wood tables and comfy chairs. There are two open bars, one outside on Bay Street’s restaurant row (great for people-watching in cooler weather), the other inside facing an open kitchen and a magnificent counter-to-ceiling glass wall showcasing all those whiskeys.

The bartender directed us to several yummy appetizers. I had to try their deviled eggs, which come with a different gourmet topping every four weeks. This month’s version is topped with petite slices of sausage, adding an extra dimension of flavor. We also tried the Fondue Goat Cheese, said to be the restaurant’s most popular appetizer. No wonder; it’s amazing. The Fried Green Tomatoes with remoulade, lemon zest and parsley and the Arrosto Misto — fire-roasted vegetables with candied cashews and red miso butter — were both outstanding.

You might think that a restaurant with an emphasis on whiskey would cater to a male crowd, but that’s not the case. We saw lots of women trying whiskey flights and the bar’s unique elixirs featuring smooth whiskey and bourbon. One woman next to me ordered a Winchester 85 as an introduction to bourbon, and the two men on the other side of me chose the Tequila Rose, which was delivered with an edible orchid floating on top. The interesting menu and unique drink options open up an easy flow of conversation, making Whiskey Cake a go-to place for first dates.

If you are just going for the whiskey options, this restaurant has major buying power. Their offerings include rare and expensive whiskeys that can cost upwards of $200 a pour and Orphan Barrel, a rare whiskey that can be found in only three locations in Florida.

If you go to Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar (and you should), don’t miss sampling their signature dessert. It’s called Whiskey Cake, naturally, which is a play on a toffee torte.  I shared it while sipping on one of their smooth Cabernets — because, like I said, I’m a wine girl.

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