Skip to Content

Tampa Thai temple: Exceptional Sunday market & brunch

When visiting Tampa, one of the most intriguing experiences is an open-air Thai brunch at a gorgeous Buddhist temple — Wat Mongkolratanaram, or Wat Tampa for short.

With high rankings in TripAdvisor and Yelp, visitors and Tampa-area residents flock to this weekly Sunday market..

The Tampa Thai temple has been offering its Sunday market for 30 years. It started with two tables and today there are dozens of vendors selling all sorts of authentic Thai foods, orchids and more.

The ornate Tampa Thai temple is called Wat Mongkolratanaram or Wat Tampa.
Wat Mongkolratanaram — Wat Tampa for short — is located on the Palm River surrounded by live oak trees. Every Sunday, a market draws hundreds for a Thai brunch. (Photo:Bonnie Gross)

The Thai temple has created the perfect venue for this event, which can accommodate the hundreds of weekly visitors.

Note: The pandemic has brought changes to the brunch at Wat Tampa. Instead of individual vendors and a marketplace, there is now a single place to order food, which you can then take to the picnic tables or to your home. The menu is limited: Beef, Pork or Vegetable Noodle Soup, Pad Thai, Fresh Roll Shrimp/Chicken or Vegetable, Empanadas, Crab Rangoon and beverages.

The following article and photos describes the experience prior to the pandemic.

At the Sunday market at the Tampa Thai Temple, a variety of orchids are also for sale
At the Sunday market at the Tampa Thai temple, a variety of orchids are also for sale. (Photo: Anna Blasco)

Vendors set up at tables on a covered porch and each sells items individually. Popular hot foods (fried bananas, pad thai, guiteow, a beef or pork noodle soup) each may have long lines. Other prepared items (mango sticky rice, spring rolls, various Thai desserts) may have no lines.

Many groups split up to purchase items in various lines and then meet among the dozens of picnic tables in the shade of the live oak trees to share and eat out of take-out boxes with plastic forks.

Be aware: The popularity of this event means you may have long lines; arrive early for the best experience.

The Tampa Buddhist temple's Thai brunch is eaten at shady picnic tables overlooking the water. (Photo: Anna Blasco)
The Buddhist temple’s Thai brunch is eaten at shady picnic tables overlooking the water. (Photo: Anna Blasco)

Items are reasonably priced. A $6 or $7 order of fried bananas and fried sweet potatoes is enough for two or three people. (We had no idea and bought one order for each person and ended up sharing ours with folks at adjoining tables.) Other items were priced at $2, $3 or $5, making it easy to sample  a variety of foods for a dim sum experience.

Other food items include Thai papaya salad, various chicken curries, grilled pork or chicken on a stick plus beverages.

The Sunday market at the Tampa Buddhist temple includes booths selling vegetable and herbs.
The Sunday market at the Tampa Buddhist temple includes booths selling vegetables and herbs. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

At nearby tables, you also can choose from a wide selection of orchids (at great prices) as well as fruit trees, plants and fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs.

Beyond the tasty and exotic food at reasonable prices, what makes this experience so great is the setting.

With its multiple pointy roof tiers and its ornate gold trim, the temple immediately makes you feel like you are, if not in Thailand, at least someplace very special. This temple was built in 2007, though a temple has been on these grounds since 1983.

Decorative dragon on the grounds of the Tampa Buddhist Temple, Wat Mongkolratanaram or Wat Tampa.
Decorative dragon on the grounds of the Tampa Thai Temple, Wat Mongkolratanaram or Wat Tampa. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

The grounds are shaded by large live oak trees. Nature decorated them with Spanish moss; the temple community added dozens of spectacular orchids.

The property is located on the Palm River, with a boat dock where visitors fed bits of bread to dozens of fish and where you can tie up if you arrive by boat.

The boat dock on the Palm River at the Tampa Buddhist temple.
The dock on the Palm River at the Tampa Thai temple .. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Religious services at the Tampa Thai temple

Religious services are held in the temple on Sundays  from 1 to 2 p.m. The services include meditation  and chanting and a sermon in the Thai language of Pali. An English language guide is available.

Visitors can observe the services but should read up on etiquette tips in advance so as to understand how to be respectful. (For example,  you must remove your shoes and it is considered impolite to point your feet at other people or the Buddha.) 

Most Sundays a representative answers questions inside the main Temple between 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Topics include the temple and its activities, basic Buddhism, the history of Wat Tampa, and Thai culture.

During the week, people come to the temple to enjoy the setting and meditate.

Wat Mongkolratanaram

5306 Palm River Rd. Tampa , Florida 33619-3746


Unofficial but very informative website about temple

The Sunday Market is held every Sunday, rain or shine, from about 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. The best time to come is before 11 a.m. Note: The Sunday market is CASH only.

During the pandemic, the market added drive through ordering for a dozen items, listed on this page.

See the market on Facebook.

Temple hours: 9 a.m.  to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday

Please respect the following times for the monks:

  • 8 to 9 a.m.  – Chanting and meditation
  • 11 a.m. to noon  – lunch
  • 8 to 9 p.m. –  Chanting and meditation

Things to do in the Tampa area:

Camping near Tampa

Treasured St. Pete bike trail

Busch Gardens: This is the Gulf Coast’s only theme park.

Ybor City: Once the cigar capital of the world, Ybor City retains much of Tampa’s old city charm and Latin flavor. Restaurants, art galleries, pubs and patio cafes are everywhere, and you can still see Tampa’s famous cigar-makers practicing their trade. Best way to explore is by foot.

Fort Desoto Park

Caladesi Island State Park: This island with an award-winning beach is great kayak destination. Read about kayaking to Caladesi Island.

Honeymoon Island State Park.

All articles on are original, produced exclusively for our readers and protected by U.S. Copyright law. Any use or re-publication without written permission is against the law. Read more:

This page contains affiliate links from which Florida Rambler may earn a small commission if a purchase is made. This revenue supports our mission to produce quality stories about the authentic Florida destinations at no cost to our readers.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Terri L Nelson

Friday 4th of February 2022

Is the Sunday market open now or is it just the drive-through option? I really love your informative articles on so many interesting topics!


Sunday 23rd of January 2022

Just one correction. Pali is a language from India (where the Buddha is from) not Thailand. Almost all Buddhist chanting are therefore in Sanskrit or Pali both of which are Indian languages. Otherwise great article :)

Bonnie Gross

Sunday 23rd of January 2022

Thank you for that addition/correction!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.