Glenn Lindgren: Surprisingly enough, the first real Cuban restaurant I ever went to was NOT in Miami! Almost 20 years ago, my wife and I and our youngest child were staying with the in-laws on the beach in St. Petersburg. Each night we'd try a different restaurant. We always had to wait for a table – the places were all packed with tourists – and the food was very unremarkable.

Jorge Castillo: That's just a nice way of saying not very good!

Glenn Lindgren: I knew there was a big Cuban population in Tampa and I began plotting my quest – to find some real Cuban food. One day around lunch time, I headed out in the rental car across the Courtney Campbell Causeway. I passed by the airport and soon found myself on Columbus Drive. The street was lined with Cuban restaurants and little bodegas of all shapes and sizes. I was in heaven. I'm not sure if it was the name, the looks of the restaurant, or the fact that there were a lot of Cubans stopping there for lunch...

Raúl Musibay: ..the sign saying "Lunch Special $2.50" was probably the biggest attraction...

La Teresita

Glenn Lindgren: ...yes, it was a big factor! In any case, the La Teresita restaurant caught my eye. I was soon sitting at the counter, surrounded by the sounds of Cuban conversation and enjoying my first Cuban restaurant meal. Here I had my first taste of real Cuban bread, lightly toasted and smeared with butter, and I ate my way through several platefuls. As it happens, I did get the blue plate special of the day, lechón asado with a huge serving of rice, creamy frijoles negros, and the sweetest plátanos maduros I have ever had.

Jorge Castillo: You never had any before!

Glenn Lindgren: That's because we only made tostones at Jorge's house in Iowa. In any case, I had a great meal and I brought plenty of leftovers back to the beach house. Well, just as you always remember the first girl you ever kissed, I have never forgotten that first great Cuban meal I had at La Terisita.

Raúl Musibay: And look at you now! The result of many, many, many Cuban meals!

Glenn Lindgren: Yes, my brief love affair with La Terisita was just one starting point of my life-long love affair with Cuban food and culture.

Jorge Castillo: The restaurant has changed a lot since you were there 20 years ago!

Glenn Lindgren: I almost didn't recognize it. The restaurant is now a complex that covers an entire block.

Jorge Castillo: They still have the same great food and great prices.

Glenn Lindgren: Yes, the lunch counter is still there, but now if you want to go a little upscale, you can eat at Capdevila's at La Teresita, a more formal restaurant than the one I remember. They still turn out some great chicken and yellow rice and one of the most tender palomilla steaksI've ever had.

Raúl Musibay: The fish is great too. They have one stuffed with camarones that is muy delicioso! I also like the garlic shrimp.

Jorge Castillo: They have one of my favorites, a plate-covering Milanesa filet that is rich with Italian spiced sauce. Everything comes with your choice of two sides and toasted Cuban bread. You'll have plenty of food to take home.

Glenn Lindgren: Jorge's cousin told us that La Terisita provides the food for hundreds of Noche Buena parties each year.

Jorge Castillo: With so many locals counting on them for this important feast, you know the food is great.

Glenn Lindgren: If you are staying at the beach in Tampa-St. Pete, get off the beach and experience some Cuban culture and some GREAT Cuban food!

HOURS: Sunday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. | Friday and Saturday 8:00 a.m.
to 11:00 p.m.

PRICES: Very reasonable.

DRESS: Casual

BAR: Yes



The Details
La Terisita
2348 W Columbus Dr
Tampa, FL 33607

Visit All of Our Sites: | | | Three Guys From Miami

About Us/Contact Us | Legal and Privacy Policy

You can make your own Cuban food at home!

Free Cuban Recipes:

Drinks | Appetizers | Salads | Main Dishes | Soups

Side Dishes | Desserts | Index

Three Guys From Miami:

Cuban, Spanish, and Latin American food recipes, Miami/Little Havana Travel Guide, Miami Restaurant Guide, Hispanic Culture & Food
The Three Guys From Miami are: Raúl Musibay, Glenn Lindgren, and Jorge Castillo
Check out The Three Guys From Miami's Google+ Fan Page
iCuban logo
Copyright 1996-2014