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Best Cuban Restaurant in the St. Pete area?

We went to El Habanero in Sarasota (Burns Court) and it was FANTASTIC. Are there any comparable Cuban restaurants in St. Pete/South Pinellas? They (El Habanero) had a fantastic lunch special of Roast Chicken with plantains en tentacion and moros. Great great great. We love good Cubans too, but really want a place with more varied, authentic dishes.

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  1. It is not in St. Pete but my favorite Cuban restuarant is Arco Iris on Columbus Dr. in Tampa. Beef, pork, fish, chicken, chinese, etc. Chinese you ask? I am not 100% sure but some have said it is because the chinese settled in Cuba and came over with them to America. Maybe someone can say for sure out there.

    John

    2 Replies
    1. re: RibDog

      Yes, Chinese were brought over to work in the sugar fields in the 1800's. Most left during Fidel's revolution.

      1. re: dmfnole

        many thousands of chinese passed through Tampa and settled here while traveling from San Fran to Florida by rail. They'd hop a steamship to Cuba from here. Tampa had lots of Chinese restaurants and especially laundries in the 1890s. We also had a complement of opium dens. The Cuban fried rice keeps memories alive---- Arco Iris's is quite popular.

        I'd have to go with Habana Cafe in Gulfport. Good roast pork.

    2. I think Habana Cafe in Gulfport is good, but I usually order the same thing every time (roast pork), so I can't speak for the other dishes. The pork is really, really good though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JB222

        Overall the food at Habana Cafe is good. Try the "papa rellena". I haven't tried any better in Pinellas as of yet

      2. Alvarez's in Palmetto, and Red Mesa ini St. Pete

        3 Replies
        1. re: lmb8439

          I'm curious as to why you consider Red Mesa to be a cuban restaurant. It has always appeared to me to be more of a southwestern style restaurant.

          John

          1. re: RibDog

            I was reading having a senior moment and thought the post was Mexican. If I were to have responded in my right mind, I would agree that Habana Cafe is terrific, and I think Tangelo's is also very fun & steady. Bracado's (sp) in Tampa is terrific, and the little Country Store over on 13th Avenue just rocks, I guess the Mom is running it and they might have to move. Sorry for wrong post. Will be attending your cooking school in Bradenton with my neighbors as a gift.

            1. re: lmb8439

              No problem. My mind slips all the time. You know what they say. Fifth thing to go and can't remember the first four.

              Are you coming over for the Smoked Standing Rib Roast class in Brandon at the Rolling Pin? That's great. Love to have you come over. BTW, that will probably be my last class for this year as October is very busy for me and Dr. BBQ will be back to take the classes over in November. But even when he does take the classes over for the winter, I will probably still be there to assist.

              Hope to see you there. Please make sure you introduce yourself to me.

              John

        2. I've always found the food at La Theresita to be good. Cheap, plentiful, and authentic.

          1. Im with you!!!, i am Puerto Rican from Tampa which has so many great Cuban/Spanish places to eat .... and now i live in Seminole and there is nothing here...if anyone knows different please write!!!