Tampa's hardly a stranger to great Cuban restaurants throughout the area.  Our Cuban culinary landscape is interesting, though, because even when I feel like I've got a grasp on the best of the best of them here, a delicious surprise can be just one little bite of devil crab away.

This is what I've learned after visiting the longstanding, but vastly under-recognized La Septima Cafe in Brandon earlier this week.  A community favorite voted "Best Spanish Restaurant" and "Best Cuban Sandwich" 16 years in a row by Best of Brandon, La Septima Cafe offers an assortment of traditional and contemporary Cuban dishes, drinks, and more from an unassuming strip mall setting at Lumsden Rd. and Kings Ave. in Brandon.

Meal starters at La Septima include a modest assortment of soups, salads, and Croqueta De Jaiba, or devil crab - a breaded, deep fried ball of  fresh, blue crab claw meat, spices, and more.  La Septima's devil crab comes piping hot with a golden, outer crunch packed to the brim vibrantly-spiced blue crab claw meat you might clear off the plate in an embarrassingly short time if you're not careful.

I ventured off the typical Cuban sandwich route and went for La Septima's Casino sandwich with slow-roasted pork and marinated onions between hot, pressed Cuban bread slices and mojo dipping sauce on the side.  The contrast between the salty pork and pillowy-soft, sweet-ish Cuban bread make the Casino shine.  The pork felt a tad dry, but was immediately rectified with a dip into the mojo sauce, which turned this into a weird, Cuban-French dip hybrid I couldn't get enough of.

La Septima Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Get more information and give your own rating and review on the La Septima Cafe 813area business listing.