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  1. Florida

Seven quintessential Cuban sandwiches in the Tampa Bay area

Where to get great versions of this area’s most iconic handheld.
Published Mar. 27, 2019
Updated Mar. 28, 2019

Aguila Sandwich Shop

Aguila Sandwich Shop's Cuban sandwich. (Times, 2012)
Aguila Sandwich Shop's Cuban sandwich. (Times, 2012)

You can’t go wrong at a neighborhood stalwart that opened in 1987. But beware: The Cuban here is built with pork, ham, Swiss, mustard, pickles and mayo, plus salami by request. Get a cafe con leche for your other mitt and achieve handheld nirvana. aguilasandwichshop.com

Address: 3200 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa

Phone: (813) 876-4022

Bodega

A cuban sandwich and an Aqua Fresca drink at Bodega in St. Petersburg. [SCOTT KEELER    |    Times]
A cuban sandwich and an Aqua Fresca drink at Bodega in St. Petersburg. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

This venerable EDGE District eatery also doesn’t offer a traditional Tampa Cuban. But that has not stopped St. Petersburg locals and visitors who continue to line up at its walkup order window for a taste of the layered wonder. This sandwich might spark quite the debate among purists if it wasn’t so good. Despite the mayo and no salami, Bodega churns out one of the most beloved Cubans around. eatatbodega.com

Address: 1120 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

Phone: (727) 623-0942

Columbia Restaurant

Columbia Restaurant's Cuban sandwich. [DANIEL WALLACE   |   Times]
Columbia Restaurant's Cuban sandwich. [DANIEL WALLACE | Times]

This is an oft-cited stop on lists proclaiming where to nab the best Cubano in town. Who are we to argue? The long-running Ybor City institution sticks to what makes the ’wich so magical, pressing ham, mojo-marinated roast pork, Genoa salami, Swiss, pickles and yellow mustard between fresh slices of La Segunda Central Bakery bread. columbiarestaurant.com

Address: 2117 E Seventh Ave., Tampa

Phone: (813) 248-4961

MORE: Five quirky Cubans to try in the Tampa Bay area


La Segunda Central Bakery

La Segunda Central Bakery's Cuban bread is iconic. And their sandwich is good, too. [DANIEL WALLACE   |   Times]
La Segunda Central Bakery's Cuban bread is iconic. And their sandwich is good, too. [DANIEL WALLACE | Times]

You’re familiar with the Cuban bread used by sandwich artists locally and beyond, but have you tried the Cuban itself? Our former food critic Laura Reiley gave La Segunda — alongside the Columbia Restaurant and Bodega — a shout-out for its noteworthy sandwich in her most recent rundown of the region’s top restaurants, and rightfully so. The Cubano at this iconic bakery is not to be missed. lasegundabakery.com

Address: 2512 N 15th St., Tampa

Phone: (813) 248-1531

Havana Harry’s

More proof that you can find a stellar Cuban outside of Tampa, but without leaving Tampa Bay. Havana Harry’s in Largo features an excellent take on the sando, desirable crunch and all, even with the addition of mayo. If you’ve got a big appetite, go for the jumbo Cuban packing double the meat and cheese. Seems worth it. havanaharrysmarket.com

Address: 14219 Walsingham Road, No. A, Largo

Phone: (727) 596-5141

Michelle Faedo’s Tampeño Cuisine

Michelle Faedo's Tampeno Cuisine in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
Michelle Faedo's Tampeno Cuisine in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

Before her most recent restaurant came along, Michelle Faedo claimed the title of best traditional Cuban with her food truck during Tampa’s first Cuban Sandwich Festival nearly seven years ago. So, yeah, you know the award-winning amalgam of seasoned roast pork, honey-smoked ham, Genoa salami, Swiss, yellow mustard and dill pickles is good. michelle-famichelle-faedos.business.site

Address: 1218 Ray Charles Blvd., Tampa

Phone: (813) 284-6106

West Tampa Sandwich Shop

President Barack Obama ordered a Cuban sandwich from West Tampa Sandwich Shop back in 2012.  [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times]
President Barack Obama ordered a Cuban sandwich from West Tampa Sandwich Shop back in 2012. [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times]

President Barack Obama stopped by this community fixture in 2012 to pick up the famous honey-drizzled Cuban, but its classic combination is also known for delighting sandwich savants. Leave off the mayo if you must. Chef Art Smith also named this spot as one of his favorite places in Tampa to get a Cuban. westtampasandwichshoprestaurant.com

Address: 3904 N Armenia Ave., Tampa

Phone: (813) 873-7104

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