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Franciale - Tampa - Best spanish food I ever had!

baberswallet Feb 14, 2008 08:11 PM

I ate lunch the other day at Franciale in between Memorial highway and Kelly road in Tampa Florida. It is inside the Horizon Convenient Center. This is one of the best kept secrets I tried searching this board for other comments on the place but did not find any.

Personally, I have ate ALOT of cuban sandwiches, and the best one hands down is at Franciele. It is a one man show down there, I believe his name is Imberto, he really knows how to cook. He has alot of traditional spanish meals, roast pork, picadillo, breaded steak, etc.

Anyone else who has ate there I would like to know, my fav spanish food place you probably havnt heard about.

He serves lunch and dinner.

  1. rhnault Feb 15, 2008 04:26 AM

    I know exactly where it is. I'll try to go by in the next week or so and try a Cuban. I used to stop there a couple times a month and buy flowers on my way home when I worked downtown. Not sure if the flower lady is still set up there or not but she was always very nice and took me back in the cooler and let me pick.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rhnault
      baberswallet Feb 15, 2008 09:03 AM


      I actually remember the flower lady, I havnt seen her around lately but I had completely forgot about her until you mentioned her.

    2. d
      DoULike2Eat Feb 15, 2008 12:12 PM

      I love the cuban sandwich at Franciale, none better - and for desert I go to the Churro man who parks his truck next door and makes Churros while you wait.

      Ok me friend!

      1. Mild Bill Feb 16, 2008 11:31 AM

        Ok... I pass it every day and live around the corner practically...

        I'll pop in...

        Yeah, the Churroman knows me... ;-)

        3 Replies
        1. re: Mild Bill
          baberswallet Mar 12, 2008 12:36 PM

          so has anyone tried it?????????????????

          1. re: baberswallet
            rhnault Mar 12, 2008 01:05 PM

            I went on a diet! But when I splurge I will be by for a Cuban!

            1. re: rhnault
              baberswallet Mar 12, 2008 01:57 PM

              lol, cool

        2. Mild Bill Apr 8, 2008 04:46 PM

          I finally got there today...
          I ordered a Cuban with extra cheese and a Roast Pork sandwich with onions...
          They were nice heavy sandwiches--- generously put-together...
          The Roast Pork was very tender and juicy with 'medium' flavor intensity...
          Not complaining, it was tasty...

          Nice that he uses that same chunky shredded roast pork on the Cuban, which was very moist and flavorful...
          You could really taste everything--- especially with the extra cheese...
          You really always have to order extra cheese with a Cuban, otherwise it gets lost...

          So---- very good sandwiches, and a very nice guy...

          I'll get something completely different next time...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Mild Bill
            rhnault Apr 8, 2008 04:57 PM

            mmmmmmm that sounds good..... I am still on the diet lol. Might have to go split one with hubby though on our "bad" day.

            1. re: Mild Bill
              baberswallet Jun 5, 2008 08:45 PM

              Yes! Everything there is excellent, I love the roast pork and the picadillo.

              It is very easy to miss the place and think he deserves more business!

              Glad you liked it!

            2. a
              angels916 Apr 22, 2008 04:00 PM

              My mom and I were just there yesterday. His name is Umberto. He's Italian, very funny and makes a great cuban sandwich. Love it!

              3 Replies
              1. re: angels916
                baberswallet Oct 21, 2010 04:01 PM

                I hate to revive an old thread, but I just found out that tomorrow, October 22nd 2010 is Franciales last day being Franciele, the owner Umberto has sold the restaurant and tomorrow is his last day, he will be there from 8am to 3pm. God bless him, I have no more reasons for going to Town and Country anymore.

                1. re: baberswallet
                  Mild Bill Oct 21, 2010 04:34 PM

                  I'll have lunch there tomorrow!
                  I'll bring a camera and take a goodbye pic... Maybe I can get him to blow you a kiss...

                  Thanks for the heads-up...

                  1. re: Mild Bill
                    baberswallet Oct 21, 2010 05:48 PM

                    LOL, thank you very much, I have to work and wont be able to be there before 3pm, maybe I will have breakfast there! Let me know if you get a pic!

              2. b
                baberswallet May 29, 2012 12:47 PM

                Anyone know if Umberto, the original owner of Franciele has opened up a new restaurant anywhere in Tampa?

                9 Replies
                1. re: baberswallet
                  Mild Bill May 29, 2012 02:26 PM

                  Ah! I'm glad you brought back this old thread, because I DID go in that day and I did take a couple pics... Here he is with the two girls who he was training as the new owners...
                  I ordered a Cuban to go and one of the women made it with a deer in the headlights look, shaky hands, and a snail's pace... It took FOREVER to get that sandwich and head out the door! I thought 'uh oh, food's not her thing'...
                  I waited two weeks and went in for lunch and it was a nightmare... My food was dry and flavorless, and some poor guy asked for some juice from the roast pork because his food was dry, and the woman skimmed the oil from the surface with a spoon and poured it on... The guy was speechless... I fantasized about making a deal with the building owner because I knew their days were numbered... It lasted a couple more months and it seems the latest incarnation is doing OK, but I haven't been in...

                  But no, I haven't heard if he's doing anything else...

                  1. re: Mild Bill
                    baberswallet May 29, 2012 02:33 PM

                    LOL Mild Bill, how awesome. Now I have something to remember him by!

                    So cool.

                    What made me bring this back up was because there was that Cuban Sandwich festival and I tried the winners cuban sandwich today and it was good but nowhere near as good as Franciele. :(

                    1. re: baberswallet
                      Mild Bill May 29, 2012 04:55 PM

                      Have you had the Cuban from Wright's Gourmet on Dale Mabry...
                      'No lettuce or tomato, extra cheese, pressed well'...

                      VERY good...


                      1. re: Mild Bill
                        baberswallet May 29, 2012 05:11 PM

                        I know exactly where they are at. Will have to try it, never been in.

                    2. re: Mild Bill
                      TampaPete Jun 7, 2012 12:05 PM

                      Just whent by a bit ago to pick-up lunch, and there is a sign on the door that they are closed till further notice

                      1. re: TampaPete
                        Mild Bill Jun 7, 2012 10:21 PM

                        Holy Moly...

                        1. re: TampaPete
                          meatn3 Jun 8, 2012 07:43 AM


                          I can't believe it - they are such an institution!

                          1. re: meatn3
                            Mild Bill Jun 8, 2012 09:06 PM

                            Ha! No, I'm sure he meant whatever the latest incarnation of this little Latin place was... I meant to drive by today to look but forgot...
                            Wrights is jammed every day... They ain't goin' nowhere...

                            1. re: Mild Bill
                              meatn3 Jun 8, 2012 10:16 PM


                              Thanks - I just couldn't imagine how they could close! I've been going there since I was a kid, used to own a business just down the road and Wrights was my regular lunch spot. Wrights might have even saved a life! I was eating on the patio about 15 years ago and eventually noticed an odd number of gargoyles on the multi-story building on Henderson which is to the East of Dale Mabry. It suddenly dawns on me that it is a person sitting on the edge of the roof. It's the midst of the holiday season and it just felt very odd. Luckily there was a police officer there having lunch so I walked over and told him. He called it in and a few minutes later there were several officers talking to the person and eventually helping the person get off the ledge.

                              Hopefully things changed and the person is happy there was intervention. The friend I was with still calls Wrights the "lifesaver restaurant"!

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