Flight Network Foodie Let's Save Some Dough
Tampa is one of Florida’s most unique cities. Located on the states gulf coast, it’s warm year round temperatures and beautiful beaches make it a fantastic destination for a quick weekend getaway or an escape from harsh winter weather. It’s also become home to many migrants from around the world. The Tampa Bay area reflects the vibrant melting pot of cuisines and cultures that Florida is best known for with out the pretention of South Beach or the outrageousness of Orlando. With an eclectic mix of Southern charm and Cuban spice, Tampa has grown into a city with a well-defined and unique culture. Because of this, it has become a food lover’s paradise and features some fantastic options for a great meal without having to break the bank. Here are the 12 best spots for a lunch under 12 bucks that any local would vouch for.
The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor city holds the title for the Oldest Restaurant in Florida as well as the Worlds Largest Spanish Restaurant. Opened in 1905 the original Ybor City location is still the best place to go to savor the exquisite Cuban cuisine while taking in a piece of Florida history. Still owned and run by the 4th and 5th generation of family founders Columbia is the best place to go for Spanish and Cuban cuisine in Tampa. The Columbia Café is a downtown offshoot of the original and features many of the signature entrees at a budget friendly price and convenient downtown location with bay front views.
Most Lunch Entrees, Sandwiches, and Tapas under $12.00
801 Old Water Street #1905 Tampa, Fl 33602 (813) 229-5511 columbiarestaurant.com
Moxie’s owners Bob & Karen, take a simple concept and then flawlessly execute it across their entire menu. They are determined to bring in the freshest and highest quality ingredients every day, and put together the best sandwiches and fresh salads in downtown Tampa. All their ingredients from the veggies to the coffee beans are brought in fresh each morning and personally inspected to ensure they truly are the best. It’s a level of commitment to quality that is rarely seen and leaves no question as to why they have the best sandwiches downtown.
Nothing on the menu is more than $9 with most sandwiches around $7
514 North Tampa Street Tampa, Fl 33602 (813) 221-4510 moxiesdowntown.com
Located in the heart of Ybor city Acropolis offers delicious Greek food at a fair price. With tables downstairs and comfortable couches upstairs, it’s suitable for a professional meeting or just a nice place for a relaxing lunch.
Salad, Sandwiches, and Wraps $6 – $9, Platters $12
1833 East 7th Avenue Tampa, FL 33605 (813) 242-4545 acropolistaverna.com
If you are looking for a quick, fresh, and satisfying lunch you can’t go wrong with Miguel’s. Opened in 1992 by founder Miguel Rodgriguez, his goal is to offer the same authentic and home-made dishes inspired by his Aunt “Mamma Ninfa”.
3035 West Kennedy Boulevard Tampa, FL 33609 (813) 876-2587 miguelscafe.com
Taking the classic diner to the next level, Daily Eats offers a “breakfast all day” menu alongside their innovative lunch and dinner menu. Lunch favorites include five different varieties of Mac N’Cheese and Shredder Bowls which combine brown rice, lettuce, and your choice of meat topping.
All Entrees $7 – $11
901 South Howard Avenue Tampa, Fl 33606 (813) 868-3335 dailyeatstampa.com
With the motto “A meal for you, A meal for them” Inside the Box Café founder Chef Cliff Barsi, is turning lunch into an opportunity for social change. Partnered with a local charity, the proceeds from Inside the Box support meal programs for people in need. The simple menu of salads, sandwiches, and sides are prepared with simple high quality ingredients.
Salads starting at $4 Lunch Boxes – $7
Address 505 North Tampa Street Tampa, Fl 33602 (813) 227-9248 itbcafe.org
In an interesting twist to the usual lunch faire, Datz seeks to serve their guest comfort foods with a twist. How about a Mac n’ Cheese served with candied jalepenos or a flatbread topped with roast duck? I thought that would get your attention.
Most Lunch Entrees $10 – $12
2616 S. MacDill Avenue Tampa, FL 33629 (813) 831-7000 www.datztampa.com
Featuring fresh made breads and other delightful treats from their Italian bakery , Pane Rustica is a solid choice for lunch. Using quality ingredients and a touch of flair they bring a touch of freshness to Tampa Bay.
Lunch for $7 – $10
3225 South MacDill Avenue Tampa, Fl 33629 (813) 902-8828 www.panerusticabakery.com
Founded by first generation Cuban immigrants in 1972, La Teresita is like stepping into grandma’s Cuban kitchen. Their menu featured traditional Cuban dishes, served in generous portions, at an affordable price.
Lunch Entrees from $6 – $9
3248 West Columbus Drive Tampa, FL 33607 (813) 879-9704 lateresitarestaurant.com
With five locations the Taco Bus has taken the Bay area by storm. Chef Rene grew up in Mexico and decided to bring the flavors of Mexican street food to the streets of Tampa.
Complete Lunch from $6 -$9
505 North Franklin Street Tampa, FL 33602 (813) 397-2800
Family owned and operated since 1948, Brocato’s is a taste of old Tampa. Part restaurant, deli, and market they are known for their consistent quality at a fantastic price. While they don’t claim to be the originators of the famous Tampa deviled crab, they certainly do serve one of the best in the Bay.
Lunches from $5- $8
5021 East Columbus Drive Tampa, FL 33619 (813) 248-9977 brocatossandwich.com
Inspired by traditional Vietnamese cuisine the team at Bamboozle café put together a simple array of fresh and delicious lunch options. Featuring wholesome simple ingredients seasoned with fresh herbs and spices, it’s easy to have a healthy asd satisfying meal.
Lunches from $8 – $10
516 North Tampa Street Tampa, FL 33602 (813) 223 -7320 bamboozlecafe.com
About the Author
Full-Time traveler and native Floridian, Kenin Bassart, has a passion for all things food. Having called Tampa his home for over 5 years he knows the ins and outs of the local dining scene. For more of his travel and dining insights check out his couples travel blog The Constant Rambler.