Tampa’s Underrated Cuisine

cuban food photo

Yahoo Food has an article up ranking forty of the best cities in the U.S. for food lovers. You can find that article here. The article lists the cities for their culinary contributions and the unique experiences their most popular restaurants provide. The one thing that seemed off about the article is that while Florida does get some representation, the entire Tampa Bay area is absent from the list. Oddly, Jacksonville makes the top forty, but not Tampa? We smell something fishy, and it is not a seafood restaurant.

Tampa has a rich culinary tradition. For starters, being on the Gulf Coast, we have access to some of the freshest seafood possible. There are few places in the U.S. where one can find a better selection of seafood. It is not just expensive, pretentious dishes we are talking about either. There are sports bars in Tampa with seafood dishes that outshine most of what is on offer across the country.

What about Cuban sandwiches? We have got the closest thing to actually travelling to Cuba for one, despite what the pretenders in Miami tell you. In fact, Tampa is basically the nation’s epicenter for Cuban cuisine. No one does it better. They put Miami on the list for their Cuban cuisine when Tampa has done it better from the beginning. They even admit that Tampa originated some of the cuisine they credit Miami for. Do you still wonder why Tampa should feel slighted by this list?

Some of the cities listed in their article do not even boast any real famous restaurants. They show up on the list only for signature cuisine. We covered that part. As for well-known, nationally recognized establishments, we have plenty. The Tampa Bay Times put together this list a couple years ago, and the list still holds up today. You want to eat where the “cool” people eat? We have you covered there.

We are not saying we should top the list. It is tough to argue our place above cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. Certainly, however, we should have at least beaten out Jacksonville. Seriously, Jacksonville?

Photo by jeffreyw