World Asian chain Wagamama is now open at Water Side road Tampa. Right here’s what to understand.

TAMPA — It’s been a hectic couple of weeks at Water Side road.

Scorching at the heels of big-name openings like Boulon Brasserie, Small Massive and Wine on Water comes Wagamama, the one chain of the bunch and arguably probably the most informal of the lot.

The pan-Asian eating place first introduced in London in 1992 and has since expanded globally, boasting greater than 200 places. Tampa’s Water Side road addition marks the 7th U.S. location for the chain, which seems to be ramping up its efforts stateside. There are Wagamama places slated to open in Arlington, Virginia, and Dallas later this spring.

The spot’s call interprets loosely from Jap to “naughty kid,” and the menu options trendy interpretations of quite a few Asian cuisines, from Jap ramen bowls to Thai noodle dishes.

Wagamama isn’t a fast-casual eating place in the most typical sense of the time period — diners don’t order in an assembly-line structure at a sign in, and there’s swift desk carrier from the considerable waitstaff clad within the spot’s signature crimson T-shirts. However Wagamama’s “wok to desk” way is undeniably informal and the meals certain does come immediate. Plus, that is a world chain — carrier is very polished and there’s probably not to be a lot (if any) variation in a succession of foods. Consistency is vital, finally.

International pan-Asian concept Wagamama opened Feb. 11 at Water Street Tampa.
World pan-Asian thought Wagamama opened Feb. 11 at Water Side road Tampa. [ Courtesy of Wagamama ]

Dishes are known via crimson numbers at the menu (107, 91, 11) — a rather atypical machine, however one who’s applied all over all of the corporate. Dishes also are indexed as vegan or vegetarian, the place appropriate, and come with as much as 3 tiny chili pepper icons to demarcate how highly spiced a dish is.

I popped via on a breezy Thursday with a co-worker, a few days previous the eating place’s grand opening on Feb. 11. It used to be lunchtime, and where used to be full of diners.

There used to be a gradual hum all over the eating room, with other folks crowding the eating place’s lengthy bar counter and communal seating spaces in addition to a collection of high-tops. The entire thing had a buzzy, upscale cafeteria vibe, which felt lovely suitable, given the environment.

We began with a few fresh-squeezed juices, together with a vibrant marigold-hued ginger and turmeric immunity booster ($4) and the Tremendous Inexperienced ($6.50), a refreshing mix of apple, mint, celery and lime. There’s a complete record of Asian-inspired cocktails, too, from a Thai chili margarita ($11) to a Jap Highball ($11), however this being lunch, we made up our minds to stay with the softer stuff.

Bang Bang Cauliflower is served at Wagamama, a new restaurant at Water Street Tampa.
Bang Bang Cauliflower is served at Wagamama, a brand new eating place at Water Side road Tampa. [ HELEN FREUND | Tampa Bay Times ]
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For starters, we opted for the sticky and scrumptious Bang Bang Cauliflower ($9), a fiery jumble of crispy-fried cauliflower florets draped in a candy and highly spiced firecracker sauce, tossed with crimson onions, scallions, ginger and cilantro. Different “shareable” appetizers recommended via our server incorporated the edamame ($8), which comes tossed in a chili garlic salt, and the Chili Calamari ($12), which options squid dredged in cornstarch and fried till crispy, served with a chili and cilantro dipping sauce.

From there, the menu expands to incorporate salads, sandwiches, together with a red meat brisket banh mi ($14), curries, noodles, like a ginger rooster udon bowl ($16), rice dishes together with a rooster teriyaki donburi ($17.50) and a collection of ramen bowls.

We opted for the rooster pad Thai ($16), a forged take at the vintage dish, with gentle hunks of marinated rooster, rice noodles, egg, chili, ginger, scallions, crimson onions, leeks, bean sprouts and peanuts. The miso cod served with soba noodles ($20) may have used somewhat extra seasoning however used to be stored via the tremendous flavorful inexperienced tea soba noodles and matched with bok choy, snow peas, crimson bell peppers, scallions, ginger, chili and cilantro.

Wagamama, a British restaurant chain, opened in Water Street Tampa on Feb. 11.
Wagamama, a British eating place chain, opened in Water Side road Tampa on Feb. 11. [ AYA DIAB | Times ]

If there’s nonetheless room for dessert (there wasn’t for us, this time round), the menu sports activities a couple of Asian-inspired candy treats, together with a panko-breaded banana katsu ($9.50) crowned with caramel sauce and served with a salted caramel ice cream; a matcha cheesecake served with ginger ice cream ($9.50); and a lemon tart served with a berry compote ($9.50).

All in all, Wagamama’s way isn’t too bold and there aren’t numerous dishes that stray too a long way from the acquainted Asian-fusion territory, although a couple of in point of fact dial up the warmth. However the eating place does be offering a constant, rapid and engaging collection of pan-Asian dishes in an stress-free, trendy environment. I stay up for returning and trying out the dinner scene and a couple of of the ones tasty-sounding cocktails.

Wagamama is open for lunch and dinner day-to-day, from 11 a.m. to ten p.m. Sunday via Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

In the event you move

1050 Water St., Tampa. 813-429-9242. places/tampa.

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