When talking about restaurants in Tampa, it seems like La Teresita falls into one of two distinct categories. It's either a personal favorite, a tried and true hole in the wall Cuban restaurant that's a strong blip on one's dining radar or, the best restaurant in Tampa you've never heard of.
In its 40 year existence, La Teresita has turned from a small, family grocery store to, plain and simple, the best place for Cuban food in Tampa. While great success can make a restaurant drastically change, I'll venture to guess that La Teresita really isn't that much different in comparison to when it first started.
La Teresita is divided into two areas. There's the restaurant section called Capdevilla's at La Teresita where you can sit down at tables and enjoy a traditional Cuban meal and there's the cafeteria , well, more like a diner, where you pull up a seat at the counter for a quick, hot meal with little fuss.
Both have the same menu filled with Cuban classics including a Cuban sandwich, Ropa Vieja (shredded beef), Puerco Asado (roast pork), Arroz con Pollo (chicken with yellow rice), and a huge variety of other beef, chicken, pork, and seafood Cuban dishes.
The Filete Salteado (sauteed beef tenderloin) is a La Teresita standby and one of the highlights of their diverse menu. A big plate loaded with sauteed beef tenderloin chunks, chorizo sausage, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and french fries, the Filete Salteado is an unconventional combination of greasy flavors and textures that's satisfying on multiple levels.
It's not fancy. On the eyes, it's a pretty ugly dish to be honest. But that's not the point. Filete Salteado is a working man's dish. It's pure, no-frills comfort food that can satisfy even the most basic of palates.
With a monstrous side of black beans and rice, this thing might just be one of my favorite restaurant meals in Tampa.
Best of all, La Teresita is cheap. The Filete Salteado, as well as a ton of their other entrees, will run you $7.95. This portion size to price ratio is really one of the best in Tampa. The fact that it's a work of pure tastiness is just the icing on the cake.