You’ve probably had that experience — take a first bite, and the flavors are so good that your eyelids involuntarily drop closed and you’re momentarily transported to your happy place. I recently had that experience twice in one meal, at On Swann in Hyde Park Village in Tampa.

I admit that I’m a sucker for roasted oysters, but On Swann’s version with sambal butter, garlic and lemon is outstanding. The oysters themselves were a bit on the smallish side but the presentation and the taste were terrific. Make sure you use some of On Swann’s artisanal bread to sop up the juices.

Photo by Brad Herring, actionbay360.com

Photo by Brad Herring, actionbay360.com

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I’d been craving a return trip to On Swann specifically to try their dry-aged burger with pimento cheese, bacon, pickled red onion, frisee, and b&b pickle aioli. Given all the tantalizing things listed on the menu, why the burger? Because I’m always on the lookout for a really great burger (not fast-food hockey pucks!) and I figured that On Swann would have to do themselves proud with anything they put on the menu. On my first trip I’d shared “The Farm” share board, lamb meatballs, and whipped ricotta-corn dip with warm parm zeppole, all excellent, before digging into the short rib ragu with gemelli pasta, mirepoix, wild mushroom, and citrus pine nut crumb. 

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I’ll return for the other menu items soon. But back to the burger…

This may be my new favorite burger in town. “Flavorful” as a description just doesn’t do it justice. The combination of juicy, tasty beef with the excellent bacon, onion, and pickle aioli is outstanding. And, the accompanying pomme frites, dusted with shaved parmesan, were incredible. (Sorry there’s no photographic evidence of my new favorite burger — unfortunately, the shot turned out too dark to post.)

There’s a lot to like about On Swann in addition to the food. The décor is both modern and retro at the same time, comfortable and welcoming – no stuffiness. The servers are plentiful, attentive and very well-trained. The bar that welcomes you when you enter the restaurant is trendy and inviting, and although I’ve not yet tried their mixed drinks, the crowd at the bar seemed quite happy…

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On Swann’s ownership group are seasoned (!) veterans of the restaurant business, including Café Ponte, Bonefish Grill, and Outback Steakhouse. They’ve put together an operation that hums from day-one; On Swann runs like they’ve been open for years.

Go there. But first, call for a reservation as On Swann has been crazy-busy since they opened. I was able to walk-in at 5:30 on a Friday and get a table but by 6:00 all had been filled, most through reservations.

Here are the details: 1501 Swann Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33606, phone 813-251-0110. Open 5 to 10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 5 to 11 pm Friday and Saturday. 

Photo by Brad Herring, actionbay360.com

Photo by Brad Herring, actionbay360.com

Photo by Brad Herring, actionbay360.com

Photo by Brad Herring, actionbay360.com