Cuban in Central Florida or Tampa Area
We will be kicking around central Florida and Tampa/ St. Pete and would appreciate some recommendations for Cuban restaurants. We love everything from food carts to sit down, all would be most appreciated. Also, it has been a decade since I dined at the Columbia in Ybor City, any thoughts on that location and the others throughout the area? Thanks!
I like La Teresita on Columbus in Tampa, but most people on this board recommend Arco Iris up the street over La Teresita. Neither one is a temple to hygiene, but I will admit that LT makes me wonder more often about sanitation than does Arco Iris. But I'll be danged if just about everything on the LT menu is not plate-lick worthy. (I haven't found that to be the case at Arco Iris.)
I have strong opinions about the Columbia which also may not be the consensus of other Tampa chowhounds. I think the food at any of their locations is criminally bad, but the history, and ambience of many of their locations - especially the original, of course - is so incredibly charming that it's worth the trip, in spite of the food. It's so nice in the Ybor location, especially in the central "atrium" that I might recommend a trip to Ybor for that alone. But don't expect much in the way of food. I've wanted to love anything I've had there -- even the 1905 salad everyone raves about -- but I just don't think there's anything good about it, unless I'm tasting it through the lens of the history and beautiful light and colors of the space.
Enjoy your trip.