Cuban-born owners George and Zulima Chavez evoke a latin villa with faux window arches, iron sconces, and elaborate murals of ivy scored doors and old-world brick. Amid these rustic trappings, waiters deliver traditional Cuban platters of salmon a la plancha, Spanish sausage sandwiches, and flame-kissed NY choice-cut steaks. While munching on fried plantain chips at the granite-top bar, patrons can peruse the framed artwork of the Cuban countryside and roosters setting their alarm clocks.
The culinary squad at Cuban Breezes presents a menu that lists bountiful arrays of authentic Cuban cuisine. An appetizer of pan con queso acclimates taste buds to south-of-Florida flavor via grilled cheese and a garlic spread ($3.49), and empanadas pack seasoned beef or chicken into a flavor grenade ($1.69 each). Eight pressed sandwiches, such as The Big Havana, which melds together a half pound of ham, turkey, havana sauce, lettuce, tomato, and bacon with a cheese adhesive ($6.99), easily slide under closed doors. The pan con lechon, a slow-roasted, marinated pork masterpiece under an awning of onions ($5.59), is one of eight specialty sandwiches that come both grilled and fried. Hungry humans can obviate drastic cuisine-acquiring measures by selecting a signature platter, such as the lechon asado, a shredded, slow-roasted pork marinated in mojo ($8.99); or a veggie wrap, which binds bands of onions, peppers, cucumbers, cheese, pickles, lettuce, and tomato in a garlic-herb wrap ($5.29).
When you're a regular at Romeu's Cuban Restaurant, you can tell the date by what you're eating. Tuesdays mean beef stew?Wednesdays, chicken fricassee. There's a special menu for every day of the week, complete with different soups and lunchtime sandwiches. But there's a menu of mainstays, too: oxtail, omelets, steaks, and fish?including entire fried snappers, not just the parts that the chef didn't want to eat. The entrees come with the classic Cuban sides of rice, beans, and plantains. And if you'd like something cool and sweet to complement your lamb shanks, try one of the fruit juices. They range from fresh-squeezed orange juice to more obscure drinks like mango nectar and pear juice.
Having trained with chefs throughout the world's top exporter of samba melodies and top importer of World Cups, chef-owner Ana Davis has brought her passion for her native cuisine home to Café do Brasil. Whether they appear for lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch, visitors may marinate their teeth in the company of shrimp, tilapia, scallops, and Cuervo tequila sauce with the martine ceviche ($8.95) before settling into the ham-and-turkey cultural exchange hosted by the Brasillian mufalleta sandwich ($8.25). Dinner bell first-responders, meanwhile, can try the Brazilian national dish of feijoada, an alluring stew of beans, sausage, and pork that is cooked by repeatedly shouting "Goool!" at it for minutes at a time, then served with collard greens and roasted ground yucca ($19.95). The kitchen sweetens departures with the marachoco-mouse de maracuja, which intertwines flavors of passion fruit and chocolate mousse in a loving, dancerly embrace ($5.75). Café do Brasil's culinary alchemists also conjure a number of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
A colorful chalkboard sits on the sidewalk outside the cheerful Havana Delights Cafe, announcing the day's Cuban specialties in bright chalk letters. When guests enter the sunlit eatery, they are hit with a rush of savory aromas—roasting pork, sizzling spanish sausage, and grilling steak. Chefs layer these fresh meats onto freshly baked cuban bread before adding a smear of cream cheese or a touch of mayo.
Ramon Sr. and Sinarah Hernandez opened this colorful Cuban café more than 30 years ago after fleeing Cuba. Luckily, they didn’t have to leave everything behind. Their mouth-watering family recipes have garnered bouquets of praise from publications including Weekly Planet and Tampa Bay Magazine. Today, the shop continues to churn out favorites from the original 1979 menu including Pipo’s famous pork wrap piled high with roasted pork, Spanish rice, and fried plantains. Part of the secret to their sandwiches’ success lies in the breads that are baked fresh every day, and the cornucopia of vegetables that are plucked fresh from the farm or holodeck. Customers can order house specialties a la carte, or graze at a fully stocked buffet. Pipo’s doles out its heaping portions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and hosts lives entertainment on the weekends.