Although there are ton of sushi restaurants in the 813 area, there is a disconnect between the sushi restaurants and places with real Asian cuisine. I can count the number of Korean restaurants on my two hands and just one hand for authentic Chinese cuisine. Thai restaurants fare better and although there is a good number of Vietnamese restaurants, but I wouldn't call myself an expert on that cuisine. Here are my recommendations on the best places for Asian cuisine in Tampa.
Yummy House - Yummy House is the best Tampa has to offer in Cantonese cuisine and it really shows with its huge popularity. Yummy House now has three locations and is wildly popular. I still love the original location the most and can never say no to the amazing calamari at Yummy House. I wish they had a competitor in Tampa to make things more interesting, but the truth is there is no other Chinese restaurant anywhere in this area that even comes close, not even China Yuan. 3 for $20 deal is always a steal.
One Family Korean Restaurant - Connected to a Korean grocery store and a noraebang karaoke spot upstairs. One Family has a somewhat limited menu, but offers some great bulgogi and galbi. It isn't what you would find in Korea (head to Soul of Korea for that), but still offers some great Korean grub. Lunch specials are fantastic.
Ploy Thai - My favorite Thai restaurant is out in Brandon and a place I miss when traveling out of the area. Their dishes have an extra touch of love in them and when other places disappoint, I know Ploy Thai is out there waiting to serve me that Pad Thai I crave. They have now added sushi to their menu and I hear it's great.
Soul of Korea - Soul of Korea takes a special kind of taste bud. It is more of what you would find in an authentic Korean restaurant and indeed it reminds me of Seoul every time I eat there. I think it's important to experience Soul of Korea to compare the difference between it and places like One Family and Sa Ri One. The kimbap at Soul of Korea is amazing and tastes just like the rolls in Korea and the Korean chicken is fantastic. Some dishes are only written in the Korean alphabet which I am fortunate enough to be able to read, but the waitresses there are usually friendly so just ask questions if you get last. No place in Tampa makes truly superb banchan (side dishes), but the banchan is satisfactory at Soul of Korea.
Saigon Deli - I admit I am not a huge consumer of Vietnamese cuisine, but I do like grabbing a Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwich at Saigon Deli (no jalapenos for me). The setup is simple, but the bread is always fresh and the food always tasty. If I decided to eat some Vietnamese food, it's Saigon Deli for me.
I Ai Sushi - Authentic Japanese cuisine is hard to come by in Tampa. Most places serve some katsu or teriyaki, but I Ai Sushi is the real deal. They have authentic Japanese ramen and a number of Japanese dishes you will not find anywhere else in town. Their sushi is pretty good as well.
Do you have any favorites that I missed? Feel free to let us know in the comments.