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).
Penn Station's interior, rife with dark hardwood paneling, could have been carved from the trunk of an enormous redwood. Within that space and beneath the glow of old-fashioned street lamps, taste buds globetrot by way of American-style burgers, Italian shrimp scampi, and a full Cuban menu outlining such delights as seafood paella and lime-infused chicken. While two-handing a specialty sandwich named for North Carolina's regal mountains, guests can peruse Penn Station's many antique décor pieces such as a wall-mounted carriage wheel, ceramic boots, and the original wooden flippers from Columbus's voyage across the Atlantic.
The chefs and staff of Maria Bonita are eager to share. They want to introduce others to the flavors of Mexico and Cuba and the passion they have for fresh ingredients. Luckily, most visitors don't take much convincing. Cuervo and Patron tequilas swirl with amaretto, Grand Marnier, brandy, and fruit to create more than ten different margaritas, all of which are kept cool with ice, which is flavorless. The lineup of cervezas complement their signature queso fundido or fajitas fabulosas. Cuban entrees sail to tables alongside yuca, sweet plantains, or tostones, which take a supporting role to slow-roasted, marinated pork, stewed and shredded flank steak, or grilled fish topped with caramelized onions. The restaurant also serves Churrasco, Parrillada, and Mofongo dishes.
Family owned and operated, Tino's melts warm, homey vibes over each plate of fresh Cuban cuisine. The restaurant serves classic pressed sandwiches and traditional entrees, as well as tongue-piquing appetizers such as stuffed potato balls with savory beef filling ($1.45). Scoot into a booth and tear into a toasty ham-and-swiss cuban ($6.75), or dip your fork into a heaping pile of ropa vieja, shredded beef in rich Spanish sauce ($7.45). If you want to train to be a better eater, surfer, and multitasker all at once, pull up a bar stool and catch waves of free WiFi as you nosh. Tino's serves all three meals daily.
The fact that the owners of Numero Uno Cuban Restaurant chose a location with a dining room that seats up to 72 people is no coincidence. Embracing their Cuban heritage, they and their kitchen staff put an emphasis on family-style dining, showcasing a cuisine famous for tender, grilled meats, roast chicken, and stewed seafood. Each dish is an explosion of color and flavor, with shredded ropa vieja mingling with tomato and green peppers, and sides of earthy black beans or saffron-tinged yellow rice accenting entrees. Seafood staples such as whole fried snapper and lobster stew come in single or party-sized servings with the restaurant's catering services.
Originally built in 1919, the building that houses The Bungalow Restaurant and Bar has seen its fair share of history in the making. But today it's a haven for spirited revelry that even earned a spot on CBS Tampa Bay's 2014 Best Sports Bars In Tampa Bay. To start with, The Bungalow's private skybox?a 1,200-square-foot luxury suite with its own bar, poker room, and vault of vintage Sports Illustrated issues?provides an uber-premium game-day experience. But the rest of the restaurant is more than prepared to accommodate fans. Twelve flat-screen TVs adorn the walls, providing plenty of viewing opportunities throughout the dining areas and around the fully stocked bar. On some days, celebrations are known to spill out onto the outdoor patio section, which features shaded seating and its own views of the surrounding foliage.
The Bungalow's menu also shares the vibrant, eclectic spirit of its environment. Beginning with traditional comfort foods, the chefs incorporate Latin, Cajun, and international flavors into their dishes, creating distinctive items with familiar roots. Orders of shrimp and jalapeno-spiced grits arrive with roasted salsa, and beer-battered fish and chips are accompanied by remoulade and a key lime tartar sauce. The chefs even inject a bit of Cuban flair into the egg rolls by stuffing them with mojo pork, salami, ham, and swiss cheese. Perhaps most importantly, pints of beer, shaken martinis, and specialty cocktails all help keep spirits high between bites.