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May 8, 2009 09:26 AM

restaurant duds in Tampa

I permanently scratched off two more restaurants in the last few months. Neither was very good to begin with, but were once reliable for certain things.

When I lived in Forest Hills a few years ago, Pine Grove Family restaurant (on Florida) was close by for breakfast and simple diner food. They are notable for preserving the old Goody Goody hamburger. I'm afraid they can't even make a decent burger anymore. Mine was so dried out (even smothered in a bland version of the GG tomato sauce) it chewed up like cardboard. I asked for another, which was not much better. A friend had a disastrously-cooked omelet with horrid canned mushrooms. Most of the staff is out front smoking at any given time.

Savvy Jack's was never outstanding either, but had good breakfast and some decent entrees many moons ago. They have fallen hard over the last couple years. I made the mistake of ordering two innocuous sounding specials on recent occasions--- shepard's pie and meatloaf. Both were obviously made form leftover meat that was minced and looked like cat food. They tasted even worse. The cook tried to cover it up with thick, floury, tasteless sauce. I couldn't even detect beef in the meatloaf. Apparently, the French owners are seriously trying to cut corners, and the geriatric clientele doesn't mind or doesn't notice. Ugh.

Iusually don't like to post negative content, but these two restaurants have stooped pretty low. Which other independent places in Tampa have you guys banned from your dining rounds?

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  1. I'm lucky in that I live smack in the middle of the Ybor/Channelside/Downtown Tampa area, and am very happy with the many excellent choices I have around here. I can only think of two places where the food was, honestly, vulgar.

    Boss Hogs in Downtown Tampa was the worst meal I've had in Tampa. To give credit, I'm originally from a "BBQ capital" (Shelby, NC) and barbeque is the only food where I'm picky and start missing my hometown. But what they served me (BBQ pork with two sides), honestly, tasted like vomit. Maybe the meat was rancid, but the sides were terrible also, and the whole place was just dirty. I'll never go back.

    The other terrible meal was at Margarita Mama's at Channelside. It took 45 minutes for a simple meal to come, and it looked awful, didn't taste much better, and was just thrown down by the server with no acknowledgment about the lateness from the kitchen.

    Still, that's a pretty good track record. There are literally 25-30 places around here that I'm, at the least, satisfied with the food, and some that make me realize that Tampa is a pretty good foodie town these days.

    1. I agree w the poster above, both Marg Mama's and Boss Hog is terrible. I really have always loved First Watch, but I also live in Ybor/Channelside area. I've prob eaten at the Downtown First Watch quite a few times in the past year and a half and it was not so good. The service is always terrible and the quality of the food is nothing compared to the Carrollwood location. Oh ya, El Terrazzo in Ybor has all the "Best of the Bay" signs up in their windows and this was one of the worst Italian places Ive eaten at. Another bad place is the Thai place right next to the Tampa Theatre.

      1. I ditto the DUDS of Margarita Mama's and Boss HOgs...just plain HORRIBLE, another BAD experience is the Wooden Door on South Westshore Blvd and Euclid ave...its a reletively new palce in my 'hood, and I always try to tend to places within walking distance, but WOW, twice now BAD BAD food..., andother new comer is The Real Dill...just average, the Roast Beef was so rare on my sandwhich I couldnt even chew it...and sandwhich's are small, cuban might be one fo the worst ive ever had..

        always good in my 'hood is Green Iguana burgers though, and the Jasmine Thai place is good, although a bit pricey...Galley Pizza is as southern Florida Italian(in addition to CDB's Southside which I have NEVER liked since they opened) as you can get(very generic), but a good family type places...wish a coffee house/dessert place would come to my area of town.

        1. the classic silver ring came back to Ybor several years ago serving the worst Cuban I thik i'd ever eaten. It really made me sad, considering the SR served me the first Cuban i'd ever had about 20 years ago.

          3 Replies
          1. re: andy huse

            I have recently, and with great sadness, given up once and for all on Mi Mexico, of which I used to be a huge fan. I guess they changed owners. The new rojo sauce tastes like Vietnamese chili sauce from a plastic bottle. The meat on the tacos is dry and usually luke-warm. The chips are often inedibley tough and greasy. The salsa is hot (?) and the texture of soup. What a come down for what used to be a friggin' awesome, authentic taco joint in the 'hood. Thank the flying spaghetti monster for Acapulco Grocery.

            1. re: rebecca.kukla

              I had one excellent meal there years ago. I went back twice and was disappointed each time.