Consider yourself pretty lucky if you work in or around historic Ybor City. With a plethora of not only great shopping and nightlife venues, Ybor is a fantastic Tampa neighborhood for some great food. From affordable to upscale, there's a little bit of everything when it comes to eating in this cultured locale.
Stop through on your lunch break and you're greeted with an eclectic variety of options from Italian to Argentinian, Cuban, and seemingly everything between. So which are worth it? That's debatable, but here's five of our favorites.
The Bricks - Owned by the guys who run the Skatepark of Tampa, the Bricks is an open, decorative space emphasizing skate art and culture throughout all corners of the restaurant. Even so, this place is nowhere near slacking when it comes to delicious lunch and more.
Personally, we go with the Bird & Pig sandwich when we hit up the bricks. Loaded with roasted chicken, bacon, brie cheese, apple slices (yes, apple slices), and agave nectar pressed between pillowy soft Hawaiian sweet bread, this sandwich is a king amongst sandwiches. Other inventive sandwiches, salads, and more are also available.
Bernini - Ybor was largely infiltrated by Italian immigrants when it was first founded as a cigar manufacturing town. It only makes sense that Italian culture still permeates this neighborhood today.
Luckily, part of it's in the form of Bernini on 7th Avenue. Stop in for lunch and enjoy affordable Italian cuisine including wood-fired pizza, sandwiches like the chicken parmasean - pan-fried chicken breast with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, french bread, and a huge variety of pastas and entrees.
Palm Avenue Sandwich Shop - If you don't know already, let us be the ones to inform you: some of the best food ain't always in your nice, clean shopping center or beautiful, busy streetcorner. Sometimes you've got to look for it, but if you find the right spot, the payoff can be pretty awesome.
Palm Avenue Sandwich shop is this place. It's tiny, they only accept cash, and their sandwiches are the stuff of legend. Try a pulled pork or cuban sandwich and be blown away.
The Bunker - The Bunker is a quaint little space devoted to the arts and some delicious food. Lunch is perfect at this place as they're quite affordable and the service is fast. Typical lunch menu fare includes wraps, sandwiches, salads, soups and more.
Items like the grilled Hampton sandwich with ham, swiss, dijon mustard, and ciabatta bread and the Italian turkey wrap with turkey breast, diced tomatoes, olive pate, and lettuce are perfect for a quick, light lunch.
Mema's Alaskan Tacos - We can tell you now, there's no other place like Mema's Alaskan Tacos in Tampa. Serving up, likely, the best fish tacos in Tampa and much more, Memas is a great place for lunch or a late night, after-bar snack.
They cook the meat right with the shell, making their tacos quite the unique, delicious concoctions. From these to burritos, crispy tostadas, quesadillas, and more, Mema's does Mexican right with a touch of their own, original flare.
And, get this, if you work in nearby districts or if you want to have lunch in Channelside or Downtown Tampa, you don't even have to lose your parking spot. Pay a couple bucks, take the TECO Line Streetcar, avoid all the traffic, and start enjoying that lunch break in no time. Not too shabby.