When one imagines an American city full of Cuban culture and influence, the first one that comes to mind is the vibrant Miami, Florida. Many view visiting Miami as leaving the United States and entering a different country full of Spanish speakers. Though the Cuban influence in Miami knocks you in the face immediately upon entering Dade County, the flavors and traditions of Cuba can be seen in Tampa, as well.[caption id="attachment_30722" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Accompanying the chicken fricase and roast pork, from left to right: yucca with mojo, garbanzo bean soup, traditional Cuban black beans. Photo by author.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_30728" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] The Interior of La Terestia. Photo by author.[/caption]
Whether it’s lunch before the game or dinner after a long overtime battle for the pigskin, La Teresita is your spot to refuel and savor the sabor of Tampa’s Cuban influence.
Just one mile from Raymond James Stadium, La Teresita lies in the heart of West Tampa, an area of high Cuban influence. After the Capdevila family opened Capdevila’s at La Teresita in 1993, which followed a few other La Teresita small business ventures like La Teresita Grocery and La Teresita Bakery & Cafe, their customer base has only expanded. They have hosted names such as George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, John Kerry and many more. While people from all cultures and walks of life experience their wonderful offerings, once you walk through their doors, you feel like family.
There is nothing like an authentic Cuban breakfast. If your Bucs game is scheduled for the early afternoon, get your breakfast or brunch at La Teresita. Omelets with ham or bacon, breakfast burritos, sandwiches, and the staple Cafe Cubano. Is it too late for breakfast? You can’t go wrong with their Sunday lunch specials: Roast Pork, Potted Steak, Fried Rice, Fish Marinera or Pot Roast. If you’re not feeling the specials menu, choose from their laundry list of menu items in various categories like Carnes (Beef), Pollo (Chicken), Mariscos (Seafood), Ensaladas (Salads), Vegetales (Vegetables) and an A La Carte menu.[caption id="attachment_30742" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Fricase de pollo: fricase is a cooking method where meat is sauteed, braised, and served with a sauce. Chicken fricase is commonly stewed with potatoes and other vegetables, in a sauce. Photo by author.[/caption]
If your game is scheduled for the evening, La Teresita Cafeteria is open 24 hours. Nothing quenches your post-game famine like a basket of traditional Cuban bread, painted with butter and pressed down with a ‘plancha’ to a crunchy crisp, or a plate of juicy, tender pork doused in garlicky-citrus mojo.[caption id="attachment_30726" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Cuban toast brushed with butter and flattened with a ‘plancha’. Photo by author.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_30734" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Picadillo: a Latin-style hash traditionally containing ground beef, tomatoes, green pepper, green olives and garlic. Photo by author.[/caption]
Visiting Tampa for a Buccaneers game is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the ubiquitous Cuban flavor. However, there are plenty restaurants surrounding the stadium that you can indulge in. Here are a few other options for your game day eats (and drinks):
Lee Roy Selmon’s: 4302 W Boy Scout Blvd, Tampa, FL 33607
Earl of Sandwich: 2223 N Westshore Blvd, Tampa, FL 33607
Rick’s on the River: 2305 N Willow Ave, Tampa, FL 33607
Tampa Bay Brewing Company: 1600 East 9th Avenue Tampa, FL 33605
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse: 4322 West Boy Scout Blvd. Tampa, FL 33607
Kona Grill: 4134 W Boy Scout Blvd, Tampa, FL 33607