California Tacos To-Go - If you love fish tacos, you must try California Tacos. The horchata is also fantastic and honestly one of the best places in town for authentic SoCal grub. The restaurant is more of a small surf shack. Make sure to call ahead because the lines can get long with hungry customers. They close early so make sure to head out while the sun is still out.
Cilantro - My favorite Indian restaurant in town. Cilantro has a great lunch buffet and also has some excellent dinner options. My favorite dish on the menu is their Chicken Tikka Dosa, a dish with a mix of great flavors that is big enough to share with a friend. Save room for dessert because the gulab jamun, soaked Indian donuts, are amazing.
Koizi Endless Hibachi & Sushi - Koizi is one of the best deals in Tampa Bay. Lunch is under $10 for full service sushi and hibachi treatment. All the food is made-to-order and dining in is recommended. Dinner is under $20 for the same treatment, making Koizi a much better choice than competitor chains such as Kobe. Try the Japanese "ramune" soda.
Mel's Hot Dogs - My favorite place to grab some classic American cuisine in town. Mel's is a bit hidden from campus hiding behind Busch Boulevard off McKinley Road. Mel's is great for the classic diner experience and for some amazing Chicago-style hot dogs.
Pizza Squared - If you're looking for an affordable and quality pizza, Pizza Squared has you covered. Located off North 30th St. near the Yuengling Factory (another favorite spot of mine), the Detroit Style Pizza is like nothing I have tried in Tampa before and should not be missed. A pizza can feed 2-3 and costs less than $10. Delivery is a plus!
PJ Dolan's Irish Pub - Offering daily specials that are downright incredible. My personal favorite is their Monday $5 burger special. The Jameson Burger is their signature dish and could seriously be competitor for the next Burger Showdown in 2013. The best part is they are open late and usually serve food well into the night, a problem that the USF area oddly suffers from.
Sawatdee Thai Cuisine - Sawatdee has consistently served delicious Thai cuisine for years. Many of its customers back its authenticity to the roots of its cuisine. The lunch special there is a steal and an appetizing adventure whether you like it sweet or spicy.
Soul of Korea - Soul of Korea has that home feel to it that is actually similar to what one would experience in South Korea. The kimbap, a Korean take on sushi, is fantastic and comes with bulgogi beef inside. The lunch and dinner boxes (either bulgogi beef or galbi ribs) are a good deal and the Korean chicken is excellent. Make sure you tell your waitress how spicy you want your food because Korean chicken can make you cry if you can't handle spicy food. I am somewhat adverse to spicy food, but can handle the lowest spice level.
Taco Bus USF - Tampa's taco legend has set up shop near USF on Fletcher Avenue. Offering a 15% student discount (with your id) and late-night hours from Thursday to Saturday, there is much to love about Taco Bus joining the neighborhood.
Wood Fired Pizza Wine Bar - Serving some of the best slices of pizza in the bay area, Wood Fired has an amazing selection of dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. The prices are a little steep for a college student so it may not make for a regular stop, but still recommended when you are looking for a quality pizza like no other.
Do you have any favorites that I missed? Feel free to let us know in the comments.
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