Florida Dining: The Cuban Sandwich Shop

Cuban Sandwich Shop
10434 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL
(813) 932-0998

As I alluded to earlier, I arrived to Tampa a bit under the weather, and I had a good amount of work this week to get done. I wasn’t going to trek all the way back to International Plaza for some more Matzo Ball when TooJays was over a half hour away from my job, so I decided to pull out my trusty Garmin Nuvi GPS and went thru the restaurant listings. Then it dawned on me — Cubans make some darned good chicken soup, too. I headed over to the nearest Cuban place, which ended up being kismet, because as it turns out, the one I picked is regarded as one off the best in the entire area, The Cuban Sandwich Shop on Florida Ave.

The Cuban Sandwich Shop is probably the closest you are going to get to Calle Ocho in Tampa. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

The Cuban Sandwich shop, which was opened in the mid 1980’s, is a popular local lunch and dinner hangout where you can get homestyle Cuban food at very reasonable prices.

Lunchtimes are real busy. Make sure you get early so you can get a table and a parking space — they fill up very quickly.

Cuban Sandwich Cafe makes six different soups every day. Due to my enfermed condition I went for the classic Chicken Soup, which was excellent and really hit the spot.

Cuban sandwiches are also very good, but are an unusual variation in that in addition to roast pork and ham and swiss cheese and pickle slices, they also add a layer of salami, with a mayo/mustard dijonaise spread. The criollo Cuban bread is also fresh and excellent as well.

On a successive evening, I returned for dinner. This is Picadillo (seasoned ground beef) with yellow rice and maduro plantains. Very good.

Roast Pork sandwich, which was my absolute favorite. Garlicky, juicy roast Cuban pork on a Crillolo roll, with some of the dijionaise spread used on the Cubano above.

Cuban black beans to go with the rice. Also very good.

12 Responses to Florida Dining: The Cuban Sandwich Shop

  1. […] had my share of Cuban sandwiches in the past, and I’d like to say I’ve probably had the best one on that planet, that […]

  2. The best Cuban Sandwich in the WORLD is served at Mr. Cubano located at Cape Canaveral, FL. Mr. Cubano, Home of the REAL Cubano Sandwich!!

  3. Zenny says:

    “The Cuban Sandwich Shop is probably the closest you are going to get to Calle Ocho in Tampa.” Um, no. That’s like a confused British visitor saying that the closest thing to the London Symphony you’ll find in Vienna is a bunch of 8 year olds playing kazoos.

    I could name at least a couple dozen similar but much better places in Tampa off the top of my head, both in terms of quality of food and historical significance. Perhaps you should have actually wandered into West Tampa or Ybor City, where Tampa’s Latin heritage is obvious and pervasive… and a good 50+ years older than the Hispanic culture in S. Florida.

  4. SG says:

    Zenny is correct. This is like saying the cheesesteaks at Pat’s in Philly are the best thing this side of the 300 level at the St. Pete Times Forum.

    The cuban sandwich started in Tampa, not the other way around. Tampa is the pioneer, not Miami, whose hispanic population was minimal until the 1960s. And, speaking of The Cuban Sandwich Shop, who in their right mind puts dijonnaise on a cuban? That alone disqualifies that establishment’s sandwich, IMHO.

  5. SG: Cuban Sandwiches started in CUBA.

  6. Erica says:

    That Cuban sandwich looks amazing

  7. Ron says:

    I was born in Ybor City and have lived in Tampa all my life. The cuban sandwich was started in Ybor City when the Cigar makers would put smoked ham, cuban roast pork, genoa salami, and swiss cheese in cuban bread, and top with mustard and butter. This was the original ingredients in a cuban sandwich.

  8. Chip Krakoff says:

    The first, and to my mind still the best, Cuban sandwich I ever had was at a little place called La Rosita de Broadway, in New York City, on Broadway and 107th St. It was also called the “Cuban Sandwich Place.” It was 1980 and I was going to graduate school at Columbia 10 blocks farther up Broadway, and I used to stop there several nights a week. Not just for the sandwiches but also for the Cuban coffee and dishes like ropa vieja, which for $3.00 were a great deal for a hungry student. I no longer live in New York and someone told me the place became a victim of creeping gentrification and shut down, but I have eaten Cuban sandwiches in many places since then and none of them has attained the perfection of La Rosita’s version

  9. Tim Stotler says:

    I can not say it is the Best, because I have not had all Cuban sandwichs from all the places you mentioned, but I do enjoy the food from The Cuban Sandwich shop . . . go enjoy and have fun. Peace

  10. i love the cuban sandwich from THE Cuban Sandwich Shop..iTs The Greatest

  11. Chip Krakoff says:

    I have been traveling through Miami pretty frequently of late, en route to and from Haiti, and I have found a place at the Miami airport called La Carreta, which serves a very respectable Cuban sandwich, though they tend to skimp on the pickles and I always ask them to add extra. La Carreta is also a cafeteria-style dining place, which has a full complement of traditional Cuban (or Cuban-American) fare.

  12. Michael Valdez says:

    The best Cuban sandwich is in west Tampa the restaurant is called Sunrise Food market its very reasonable price an freshly made

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