The New Tampa area already has a much larger number of Asian restaurants of all kinds — Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Korean and even Nepalese — than Wesley Chapel does, but it seems we should make room for at least two more, as Rain Bistro just opened in the former location of Mei’s Pizza (and a couple of others before Mei’s) on E. Bearss Ave., just west of Livingston Ave., and Nawabi Hyderabad House & Biryani Place just replaced another Indian eatery — Raaga — in the Shoppes at Amberly in Tampa Palms. 

Right As Rain! 

Rain Bistro, owned by my new friend Will, is actually pretty delicious. Although it is something of an Asian fusion place, Will is Chinese and he says his signature crunchy fried chicken (above right) and delicious fried rice (not pictured) are definitely from his native country, even though he also has great almost-Thai-style spring rolls and Japanese-style fried gyoza dumplings filled with chicken (both in left photo above), as well as a large variety of ramen and other noodle and rice dishes, plus a number of different boba tea drinks. Considering it only opened the day we went to press with this issue, all I can say is the food is great and the place, even though it still doesn’t look impressive from the outside, is much more upscale inside — without the upscale prices. Great job, Will! 

For more info about Rain Bistro (2592 E. Bearss Ave.), which is open every day for lunch & dinner, call (813) 977-1688. 

Nawabi — More Than Just A New Name! 

Although I was never a big fan of Raaga, the most recent Indian restaurant in the same location is the new Nawabi Hyderabad House & Biryani Place at 15345 Amberly Dr. and I definitely enjoyed my first visit. 

I didn’t find out why the restaurant is called Nawabi, but Hyderabad is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Telangana. Of course, the bottom line is, did I like the food on my first visit to this much nicer new sit-down restaurant? And, the answer is unequivocally “yes!” 

Although I didn’t venture very far (if at all) out of my comfort zone, I gobbled down the garlic naan bread and wok-tossed hakka noodles with chicken at Nawabi. The thinner-than-lo-mein noodles had a delicate flavor, with a hint of black pepper and just a bit of a kick, even without the much spicier Schezwan (their spelling) sauce, which I was told to order on the side — and I was glad I did. I really only needed a dab on each bite to savor. 

For info about Nawabi (also open for lunch & dinner every day), call (813) 443- 0198 or visit

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