We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you're thoroughly mistaken if you think you need to drop some significant cash to find an out-of-this-world meal in Tampa. All throughout the area, a handful of small, locally-owned restaurants have made names for themselves cooking signature cuisine that keeps Tampa foodies coming back for more. Here are some of our favorites.
Tampa Luv Chicken & Waffles - Tampa Luv is a recent favorite of ours and easily offers one of the best lunch deals in Tampa; two golden-fried pieces of chicken (wing, leg, or thigh) atop a fluffy Belgian waffle with a drink for less than $5. Did we mention each order is prepared right when you order it? No chicken under heat lamps here.
Bernini - This Ybor City Italian eatery might look a little more upscale at first glance, but don't be fooled. Every day until 7 p.m. Bernini offers a huge variety of $2 Finlandia martinis and half-off all pastas and entrees. On a recent Taste Tour of 813 stop, we got a massive crispy duck entree and a martini for just under 15 bucks. Not bad.
Mayor's Food Truck Fiesta - So, it's not a singular restaurant per-se, but the Mayor's Food Truck Fiesta - held on the first Wednesday of every month at Lykes Gaslight Square Park in Downtown Tampa - is a great place to go for a huge variety of cheap, indulgent eats. From burgers to tacos, crepes, and more, the Food Truck Fiesta's got it all.
La Teresita - Arguably the best Cuban restaurant in Tampa, La Teresita will serve you a huge, Cuban feast like arroz con pollo, filete saltaedo, palomilla steak, and more (all including your choice of sides) for about 7 to 9 bucks.
Yummy House - To us, Yummy House is not only one Tampa's best Asian restaurants, but probably one of the cheapest too. Most dishes hover around or under the $10 mark. When we visited on our Taste Tour of 813, we also confirmed reports of a somewhat "secret" menu where you can get your choice of three entrees for $20. We didn't tell you that, though....