Tampa >Food & Dining > Wine Exchange Bistro & Wine
1611 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL | Directions 3360627.937446 -82.476527
Neighborhoods: Historic Hyde Park North, Southwest
Favorite Spot! – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this spot! We often go here to enjoy the ambiance of sitting outside on the patio for a lovely evening. Would highly recommend!! Dinner seems to be much better than the lunch though!
poor service – Keep wallking on to another venue would be my best advice. The quite extensive menu here suggests they are fully prepared to serve lunch items in a timely manner. Au contraire. After waiting for our ordered food for 1 hour + , we were starved and had to leave. The manager claimed the kitchen is small and there is only one oven. A good suggestion would be to limit the menu to items that can be handled by the facility and avoid having to string patrons on with lame excuses. Also, the outdoor seating is extremely noisy. Be prepared to scream to be heard by your dining companions.
Recent visit to an Awesome place in the Heart of Hyde Park – I have been going to the Exchange since their days on Swann Avenue. While I think the new restaurant is beautiful in its own right, I do miss the character of the "French Bistro styling" of the old. But I am more thankful for what has not changed. The friendly, caring staff; the suberb wine selection; and plenty of outdoor seating. While the food remains (as in the old place) at times suspect, overall the quality has improved...I just wish it had improved enough to match the decor and staff and is the primary reason for 4 rather than 5 stars. The highlight of any visit to the Exchange begins with the staff. They are friendly and hard working. You can tell at once that they truly care for their guests and want everyone to have a great experince. On the occasions when something is not right from the kitchen ( I have yet to have a problem with bar/wine service) the management team has immediately stepped up and solved the problem. I disagree with other reviewers who have had problems with the staff. There are moments (thankfully becoming more frequent in this horrible economy) when this little bistro is filled with customers and the staff is pushed to the limit, but I have never experienced what previous reviewers suggest is unprofessional behavior. The Wine Exchange exudes an eclectic feel and humor that is unique in South Tampa....Alot of which has to do with the great staff. Go there with an open mind and empty stomach, watch the fascinating people walk by, and relish the opportunity to enjoy an outstanding selection of wines. Those with pretense should just walk by and keep going to Restaurant BT down the road.
Confused about reviews? – I live & work in the Hyde Park area. I would say that the WIne Exchange is one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa. I'm not saying that it is impossible for someone to have problem in their dining experience, but the staff & management have always been very friendly & accomadating throughout all my experiences. When asked by my customers where to dine in Hyde Park...I always suggest the Wine Exchange! Many people on their return to my shop have nothing but praise & thanks for the reccomendation.
Tweaking some things – I've been in the hospitality business for many years now. We, as a whole, seem to be even MORE critical than the average person. I've frequented your establishment quite a few times now, and here's what I've observed/overheard from your staff talking. For starters, drinking while working is not a good mix, ESPECIALLY for managers. Managers are supposed to set an example for the rest of the staff!! When things start getting busy, it's the responsibility of a manager to get off their butts, and help...the staff needs to understand that in such hard times, every table needs to be treated like they're the only table in the place! that means giving EACH table, EACH guest, the best possible service. The guests don't want to hear or be aware of the problems going on. The kitchen needs to really work on getting your BASIC menu items out in a reasonably decent time. 30 minutes max, decent. And so many times, the food varies. One day, a cook will make things slightly different than another cook. The food ican be great, depending on who is cooking. And since you're known for wine, being told several times now, that you're "in the process of changing your wine list" and that's why you're out of some of the menu, is ludicris! If things go wrong, and they will, be more willing to comp a MEAL...it leaves a good lasting impression, and a guaranteed repeat visit...a dessert in lieu of a 45 minute appetizer, does not suffice. Your foundation is good, but there are defenite cracks appearing. I'd hate to see yet another eatery go downhill, so I say these things in the hopes that things change, and you can have continued success, as a wonderful establishment. A few visits ago, our server told me she had only been there for a couple weeks. I told her that was the best service I ever got, in all the times I've been there. In our conversation, I found myself thankful for the few people left, in this day, who understand the importance of customer service and all that means..I have hope...
the worst place in tampa! – Walking up to the Wine Exchange you would think you were in a different city! Until you get in and get told it will be an hour and a half wait! Which only ends up being 30 mins a good thing right! Wrong after getting drinks at the bar we were sat at a table outside by a hostess which was in blue jeans and a t-shirt classy? "ended up being the manager" the busser was dressed better and the "manager" smelled like liquior! After sitting down we waited I dont know about 15 mins for a server to come to the table which she smelled like an ash tray. So we order 2 apps to start and dinner well after waiting about 45 mins for the apps then the dinners come another 47 mins later we timed it min by min since the apps took so long! The dinner was so nasty we did not even eat it! The bread was cold! We could never get our waters refilled! The worst food we have ever had!!!!! So then after waiting for our check for another 20 mins. We dont even get a thank you! I would never eat their again not even if it was free! It is a waste of time and money to go into the wine exchange! You would be more happy eating dinner at the soup kitchen because atleast you would get something with some heart and soul put into it!
Disappointment – This dining fiasco began with our calling in advance to place our party on the wait list. When I asked if she needed my cell number, she told me she had no time to record it & abruptly hung up. The hostess greeted us with equal disdain upon arrival. We fled to the bar for a round of cocktails with a dear friend in town who accompanied us. Thirty minutes later, the hostess curtly informed us, "I need you to pay your bill so that I cant take you to the table." This was her way of saying, "Your table is ready, please pay up and follow me." We were escorted to a table on the enclosed patio next to a drafty door through which staff repeatedly entered & exited throughout the entire, painful meal. The outdoor heating system was operated by a thermostat behind our table. Throughout the meal, staff reached over our table to adjust it. Unprepared for an outdoor table next to a door, we began adjusting it ourselves, as we were freezing, not properly attired for this bizarre placement. The server was distant, detached & unavailable. The food was not memorable. The Wine Exchange, when located next to the cinema, was one of our favorite places in South Tampa. We'll never return or recommend it. How sad. In this economy, it is imperative to make the patron feel welcomed. We were a pleasant party who deserved better.
Best of all worlds – When I moved to Tampa 3 years ago I knew I wanted to live in the Hyde Park area because of the close proximity of the movie theater (since closed), the coffee shop and several restaurants - all within walking distance. Over the years I have become endeared to the Wine Exchange. From the modest cozy location I originally frequented to the newer, brighter and livelier spot I have never had a less than optimal experience. Whenever I have guests in town I be sure to bring them to my favorite restaurant and encourage them to try the baked brie appetizer or the delicious crab stacker. Since they acquired a full bar license I will from time to time try out a new martini but still stick to my passion of trying out new wines.
My favorite dishes usually include something that is blackened (scallops, shrimp or the filet) but I will sometimes be adventurous and try one of the nightly specials. My guests or I have never had a meal we didn't rave about. By the way, though the wine list is extensive the prices for the bottles are quite reasonable.
I will agree with a previous reviewer that the Wine Exchange isn't the best place for children in the evening hours.
Love this place, can't wait to go back again!
This place can't be beat! – I absolutely love this restaurant and I find its staff not only friendly and welcoming, but knowledgeable. People who give less than stellar reviews to this fine establishment are perhaps not well informed about the type of restaurant it is or have questionable tastes. This is not a very good place to bring children at night. Try coming at lunch instead. Especially on a Friday night, it could be packed and staff could be torn in twenty different directions at once. The food and the wine list are excellent. Any time anything is not 100% to one's liking, one should ask for the situation to be corrected. Never have I had any issue from staff on the very, very rare occasion when I wanted something changed or asked for a modification of a menu item. This isn't McDonald's, people, so please don't expect it to be 100% kid friendly in the evening hours. This is a bar, as well as a restaurant, so adults might not view the presence of small children as a plus. Personally, I don't drink on your child's playground, so don't bring your child to mine!
Will not Return – Agree with other "would not return" poster on 9-15. Although we have 2 kids and didn't have those issues with the kids, it is the food that was utterly disappointing. The lamb special was served cold (it had obviously been sitting out a while), the meat was fatty, and the vegetables tasted frozen. The salad with bland and boring. The kids pizza was OBVIOUSLY frozen and reheated, it was dry and tasteless. For these prices I expect better. Then whe we complained we were not offered any solution to the problem. We finished the meal and left. With so many other choices available we will not spend money here again. Bleh.
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