June 20, 2023
A new restaurant heading to Midtown Tampa will soon give the Bay area’s many Asian concepts a run for their money.
After a full year of anticipation, Tampa’s Sunda New Asian will celebrate its grand opening on Monday, June 26. Reservations for its opening week can be made on opentable.com.
The new Chicago-based Southeast Asian concept is located at 3648 Midtown Dr., adjacent to other hotspots like Ponte, BellaBrava and True Food Kitchen.
Sunda founder and two-time Emmy-winning actor Billy Dec told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that Tampa’s upcoming location will offer a menu almost identical to that of its Chicago and Nashville restaurants, but with a few Gulf Coast twists.
Pulling flavors and techniques from all across the Asian continent, Sunda features a true blend of cuisines, featuring Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai-inspired dishes like tuna truffle pizza, baked snow crab handrolls, Tom Yum-style grouper, bulgogi roti tacos, lemongrass beef lollipops and oxtail potstickers.
Traditional Pinoy dishes like chicken inasal or BBQ skewers, adobo fried rice and crispy pork pata pay homage to Dec’s Filipino heritage, too. A kamayan feast for four—loaded with lumpia, crispy pork and garlic shrimp—can also be ordered for $180. The Filipino-American actor describes his restaurant as “very personal and emotional”—an attempt to showcase the beauty of his motherland and its unique fare.
If this wide spread of Asian-inspired dishes wasn’t enough—Sunda also boasts a sizable sushi menu complete with specialty rolls, sashimi and nigiri.
An extensive signature cocktail list will also be offered alongside expected soft drinks, beer, wine and sake.
According to its website, the restaurant is named after the geographical term Sunda Shelf, “a landmass submerged under shallow seas that was once surrounded by the many different countries and cultures we celebrate at Sunda like Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, China and more.”
Dec says the “New Asian” part of the restaurant’s brand is all about “elevating the level of pride in our culinary technique and culture.”
While our local Sunda will share a menu with its other two locations, Dec tells CL that Tampa’s restaurant—designed by Studio K’s Karen Harold—will boast more of a tropical atmosphere and “vintage Polynesian vibe” due to its proximity to the Gulf.
His decision to open a restaurant in Tampa versus other cities in Florida was above all else, a personal one.
“While one side of my family is from Asia and still mainly lives there, the other side is actually from Tampa. We used to escape the harsh Chicago winter by visiting Florida and I have some really fond memories of the area,” Dec tells CL. “When I visited Tampa a few years ago, I noticed all of these wonderful neighborhoods like Water Street and Hyde Park that I didn’t notice growing up.”
He says Tampa was the ideal location for the next Sunda restaurant due to its balance of tourism, booming residential population and expanding commercial development.
The opening of Tampa’s Sunda was announced last year and it was originally slated to open sometime in 2022.
For the latest information on Sunda’s grand opening, head to its Instagram at @sundanewasian.
After next week’s debut, Tampa’s Sunda will be open from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
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