When I was planning to relocate to the Tampa Bay area back in 2011 from NYC, all my friends and family kept warning me that I won’t find any good food here. Oh boy, were they wrong!

To be fair, I haven’t found pizza or bagels that are just as good as I grew up with, but I’ve found some that are very respectable. I have also found a few things that are not only absolutely delicious, but they have their roots right here!

The Cuban Sandwich, or Cubano, was created in Tampa during the boom of cigar manufacturing. I consider it the most American of sandwiches. Fluffy Cuban bread and mojo roast pork honors Cuban immigrants, ham, swiss cheese, and pickles honor Eastern European immigrants, and the sometimes controversial addition of salami (I absolutely recommend this!) honors Italian immigrants. Put them all together with mayonnaise and mustard, hot press it so that cheese gets deliciously melty, and you have the perfect cultural melting pot of a sandwich. I recommend getting one at La Segunda, the historic Cuban bakery in Tampa that has café locations in Ybor City, South Tampa, and St. Petersburg.

The other delicious Tampa treat that I have found a personal love for is Deviled Crab. A mix of local caught blue crab meat with Cuban bread crumbs and spices, rolled into a football shape and deep fried until beautifully browned and crispy. So amazingly delicious, these can be found at local restaurants, cafes, and at some of the amazing food trucks around the area.

Beyond those traditional Tampa Bay cuisines, there are plenty of amazing restaurants to be enjoyed. Going beyond the national chains, you can find some good eats no matter which of our amazing vacation rental homes you’re staying in. Here’s a few of my personal favorites:

Mexican: Carmelita’s in Largo

Polish: Pierogi Grill in Clearwater

Sushi: Sushi Kabuki in Largo

Cuban (and beyond): Columbia Restaurant multiple area locations, but the original in Ybor City is the best

Bakery: Moreno Bakery in Brandon

Beyond these amazing eateries, Mazzaro’s Italian Market in St. Petersburg has a wide array of fine foods.

And my very high recommendation to grab something on your way to the beach, go get yourself a Pub Sub! Found at Publix supermarkets, these fresh, made to order sandwiches are a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Hot or cold, pressed or baked, you’re sure to find one that makes you happy!

Go out and explore the Tampa Bay area from one of our Florida Gulf Coast vacation rentals