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Dean Hurst

Review: "The History of the Cocktail" at the Epicurean Hotel

If you’ve ever traveled to Tampa, you’ve probably heard of Bern’s Steakhouse. The restaurant is an institution—a classic steakhouse through and through with the largest private wine collection in the U.S. (and second largest in the world). It has been featured on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate for both savory and sweet; Chef Alex Guarnaschelli insists that their most memorable dish is the 22 oz. strip steak, while Sunny Anderson casts her vote in favor of the chocolate peanut butter truffle dessert.

Dinner at Bern’s includes a guided tour through their (huge) kitchen and wine cellar after which you are sent upstairs to the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. Though the square footage is greater than that of all the downstairs dining rooms combined, the dessert room still feels intimate thanks to the 48 individual enclosed booths.

In short, Bern’s is more than a restaurant—it’s an experience.

And now the steakhouse has partnered with Marriott Hotels to expand that experience. Part of the hotel chain’s "Autograph Collection," The Epicurean is a food-centric hotel that aims to be “a place for connoisseurs of life to come and indulge their appetite.” It’s no surprise that the cocktails are handcrafted and the wine shop exceptional, but the Epicurean takes their theme a step further by offering foodie spa treatments (think body treatments like the Dulce Delight, where one is scrubbed with Arabica coffee beans and massaged with sweet cream milk) and cooking/beverage classes.