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Best Deviled Crabs in Tampa

after many disappointing deviled crabs and writing about the origins of the dish for Cigar City Magazine, i finally found a few specimens i can recommend to such esteemed colleagues.

At Cacciatore Brothers' on Armenia, Rosie makes amazing crab rolls at the rear counter. fried to order.

Brocato's on 50th near Columbus has big, very tasty deviled crabs.

Mr. Empanada (main location on armenia, others in town) also makes a good deviled crab, but dare i say i prefer their crab empanada, which is not as rich.

any others i have missed? any in Pinellas worth eating?

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  1. On my last trip to Mr. Empanada I thought that most of what I ordered tasted like dog food, but I agree---the Crab Empanadas were pretty good...
    Good to hear about Cacci's and Brocatos--- 'cause I pass 'em both all the time...

    4 Replies
    1. re: Mild Bill

      My grandparents were Oscar and Louisa Miranda, doubtless you are asking WHO? Well they started the business Miranda's Deviled Crabsc there in YBOR CITY, and they made the 1st of these that people have tried to copy, but they have fallen short.
      George Louis Miranda

      1. re: GeorgeLouis49

        George,

        Miranda's is indisputably the first, i've seen the ads from the 1920s on microfilm. I'd love to learn more about your family!

        Please email me at:
        soulrecreation@yahoo.com

        andy huse

        1. re: GeorgeLouis49

          Is this the George Miranda that worked at the Sheriff's office in Tampa? If so, you taught me how to make deviled crabs, and no doubt, your families were te best around. Carmines and Brocattos are pretty good, but not like your family's.
          Rayce Wilson

          1. re: rwilson

            Not I, was in the Army for 20 years, have not lived in Tampa since 1974.

             
      2. wow--- what did you have at Mr. empanada, Bill? I just stick with the crab and guava/cheese empanadas. I did not care for the beef and cheese. The picadillo was more like bland sloppy joe. haven't tried anything else. did you have any of thiose listed above. I scouldn't bring myself to order the sausage one--- it never sounds good to me, too rich...

        1. I always thought Carmine's in Ybor were the best but I've not tried too many. Tampa-style devil crabs were always a little too breaded for my taste with not enough crab.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tandoori Girl

            I tried Carmine's on my recent tasting tour. I thought it was lousy, too bready as stated. The two places i mention at the top of the thread are the only ones that come close to the old Seabreeze. For those of us without a DC specialist wife and secret recipe (from the Mirandas by any chance?), Cacciatore's and Brocato's will have to suffice. Very little breading, just enough to hold all the crab together. I rarel;y order DC's as i am usually disappointed, but creditable sources steered me toward those two. The universe is full of great things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

          2. Trying to find the best deviled crabs in Tampa is like trying to decide if Ragu or Prego makes better marinara. Tandoorigirl is dead-on: most places in town don't use much crab, and what they do use is not of high quality. And the breading on some of the ones sold in the Cuban cafes...they might as well be hushpuppies.

            Fortunately, my wife makes the best in town - and I don't even care for deviled crab. Her colleagues bug her constantly to make them, but it is quite time-consuming. I'd end up in a retention pond somewhere, wearing concrete socks, if I gave away her recipe (passed down from an Ybor street vendor from the early 1900's), but it all begins with top-shelf lump or claw meat. And that's all I can say w/o going into witness protection.

            1 Reply
            1. re: EdC

              I'm sorry you wife doesn't share her recipes. Should she ever decide to please let me know. There is not one recipe I would not share with someone as I think sharing delicious food recipes is a compliment.

            2. The deli at Alessi Bakery off of Cypress in Tampa usually has pretty decent Deviled Crab. The last one I got had quite a bit of crab and I was actually not used to having that much crab in my deviled crab. I was expecting more breading. I recall that they were also pricier than what Brocato's charges. But hey, you can also pick up some guava turnovers or escachata(sp?) pizza slices too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ramblinwrek92

                On my last trip "home" to Tampa, I found the deviled crabs and Cuban sandwiches at Alessi's to be just as good as I remembered them when I was growing up. I moved from Tampa in 1970 when I was 25 and was amazed that Alessi's bakery was not only still open, but thriving after all these years. I live 1500 miles from there now, so don't get many opportunities to indulge on my favorite Cuban food. I almost forgot to mention the guava turnovers at Alessi's; they were excellent and another trip down memory lane.