La Teresita

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

“Strong enough to make the rooster crow” is how one nearby La Teresita regular narrated the arrival of small cups of inky espresso to our place at La Teresita’s counter one Saturday morning in West Tampa. It is powerful brew, with enough body to deliver a wallop even when you order it con leche. In the morning on the weekends (La Teresita doesn’t open until lunchtime on weekdays) many customers sit at this counter with their newspaper (in Spanish or English) and drink cups of con leche with lengths of toasted and buttered Cuban bread. It is elegant bread – crisp with fluffy insides – and needs nothing more than butter to attain a certain simple perfection. With coffee, it is a great breakfast.

At lunch and supper seven days a week, the long tubes of bread become the foundation for wonderful Cuban sandwiches of roast pork, and shorter lengths are served alongside huge portions of such Latin specialties as bistec palomilla (sirloin steak, thinly sliced, pan fried and served with yellow rice), chicken with yellow rice and black beans, and ropa vieja, a beef roast cooked so long in a spicy tomato sauce that the meat falls apart when you lift it from the plate with a fork.

There are tables at La Teresita, but the choice seats (and swift service) is at the counters. Seats are arrayed along a sweeping serpentine surface where whole families line up on the rows of stools at dinnertime.

Directions & Hours

  • Monday: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 6:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Saturday: 6:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Sunday: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM

What To Eat

Cuban sandwich

DISH
ropa vieja

DISH
Vaca Frita

DISH
Banana Flan

DISH
Cafe con Leche

DISH
Cuban Bread

DISH
Puerco Asada

DISH
Sopa de Pollo

DISH
Flan

DISH
Media Noche

DISH
Rice

DISH
Mamey Batida

DISH

La Teresita Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of La Teresita?

2 Responses to “La Teresita”

Steven Barrett

June 17th, 2013

I was in Tampa recently for a conference, which gave me the opportunity to visit La Teresita twice. The first visit, at lunchtime on a weekday, was slated for a Cubano. It was easily the best version of that sandwich I’ve ever had (and at less than $5 for a large, one of the cheapest as well!) A Cuban is only as good as its bread, and La Teresita’s was excellent, with a crispy and flaky crust after being pressed in a grill, but still fluffy where it met the innards of the sandwich.

My second visit was lunchtime on a Sunday. I had been hoping to try the Ropa Vieja, but it’s one of the rotating daily specials that wasn’t available on Sunday. I settled for the Puerco Asada, and it turned out that I wasn’t settling for anything. It was a large plateful (at least 12 ounces) of fork-tender pork topped with raw onion slices, and it was heavenly! The roast pork was accompanied by two sides; I chose a salad, which was nothing special, and the Arroz Moro, which was a dinner plate of rice cooked with black beans. It also came with several buttered pieces of the same bread that were pressed in the sandwich grill, which were perfect for sopping up the garlicky jus. I topped it off with an excellent cup of Cafe con Leche, all for well under ten bucks.

Finding the place was a bit of a challenge, because it is next door to La Teresita Bakery, and the La Teresita Supermercado (which serves lunch) is just across the street. You want the “Cafeteria and Take-out.” Sitting at the counter is definitely the way to go. Service was quick and efficient, but with limited proficiency in English. Be prepared to wait on weekends – but it’s worth it!

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Marty Boyer

December 18th, 2006

I skipped breakfast and lunch to prepare for my meal at La Teresita. I was pretty hungry and my stomach had found that special place where it seems that I could not fill up. I was in the right place and my stomach in prime condition. I have to be honest: though I cook a bit, I’m not very familiar with Cuban food at all. However, I was determined to have a good sample.

First, this place is very reasonable. Most dishes are under $7 and the food portions are off the hook in size. The atmosphere is what you’d expect for a diner-type Cuban restaurant. The food is incredible.

So I started off with a nice Vaca Frita ($5.75), or flank steak (the daily special). Flank steak is stringy; it was served with green peppers and onions, very tasty stuff. I expected the texture, but it was grilled and seasoned well. It came with very tasty moro and a black bean soup. The moro was mixed with some type of light meat throughout, very moist and tasty. The black bean soup is simple and well done, with hearty and warm flavors. My food was served with grilled bread as well.

That’s a lot of food, but I knew my stomach was in that special place. I then decided to try some banana flan. It was sweet, creamy and chilled so well. The sauce was much better than most because it wasn’t so overly sweet. Dessert, tasty, but you know what, I was still hungry. Time for the Cuban.

I ordered the small Cuban ($2.75). This thing was abolutely huge. I couldn’t imagine eating anything more than that. The cheese was perfectly melted, with a light mustard, mayo and lettuce, with that crispy bread. Now that is a sandwich.

The locals were kind to my ignorance of the menu. They also pointed out the churro man right up the street, 20 for $3.00; he was selling these out of a van. Amazing dessert on top of dinner, a dessert, sandwich and dessert.

Reply

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