Tampa is probably my favorite restaurant in Florida to eat at. You’re right on the coast, so all of the seafood is super fresh. On top of that, there’s plenty of great Cuban food. The only issue is that fact that Tampa is a super big tourist town. This is made worse by the fact a lot of the businesses here are tourist traps. Unless you’re like me, and you compile lists of the best and most affordable Tampa restaurants. These reviews should help you, no matter how new or experienced you are with Tampa.
Alright, time to get onto the reviews. I’m going to review Chicago Paulie’s first, because it does not share as many similarities as the other two restaurants do. You’ll see what I mean later, when I get down that far. Located in West Tampa, I’m sure you can think of at least one or two other things to do before coming back for a second meal. Unless you’re one of those health nuts or something. Chicago Paulie’s is primarily a hot dog place, and they make the best hot dogs I have ever eaten.
In Tampa, at least. Even if you aren’t really into hot dogs, I would still highly encourage you to try Chicago Paulie’s. I have always loved hot dogs, so if you’re a hot dog lover then this is absolutely the place for you. In fact, I have even seen some people order three different hot dogs just to try them all. That may be a bit extreme, but at least they know what they wanted. The burgers and sandwiches are also very excellent, but I have only had the chance to try each of them about once.
If you find something that you enjoy, it’s kind of tough to break the cycle. Especially when it’s with hot dogs. My favorite is the polish dog, and I pile onions and relish on top of ketchup and mustard. Just thinking about Chicago Paulies’ hot dogs is making my mouth water, and I already just ate dinner. That’s enough about the food, though. If there’s one thing that every restaurant needs, it’s a good aesthetic. Just think about it: every restaurant has some kind of gimmick, whether it’s service or food or some random theme. Chicago Paulie’s forgoes the gimmicky part and instead fixates itself on providing a great overall experience.
I appreciate that the management took the time to make sure the interior looked nice before opening it up to customers. Some restaurants just look plain ugly, even if they are clean. And other restaurants have no soundproof walls, so when the servers stomp their feet and clap it’s near impossible to hear over the noise. Windows are always a bonus to a restaurant’s look. Natural lighting is far better than light from a light bulb, in my honest opinion.
The last thing that I’ll mention about this Tampa restaurant is the level of cleanliness. It really doesn’t take much to wipe down a table before you seat someone, but I think a lot of servers forget because of the volume of customers they have to deal with on a regular basis.
Even so, this is no excuse. Chicago Paulie’s gets a lot of things right about the restaurant industry, and I will always look forward to the next time I’m in west Tampa. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get a different hot dog next time? Probably not, but I know that if I did it would taste amazing. If you’re curious to know the thoughts of others who have eaten at this Tampa restaurant, make sure you check out all of the positive reviews on yelp and google.
Next up, there’s Xtreme Tacos. It was too hard to decide on my favorite Latin restaurant in Tampa, so I just chose the top two instead. This time around, you will be eating by Riverbend in Tampa, so there’s some great scenery you could check out before or after you eat. All of the carbs usually make me pretty exhausted, so I never really want to stay in the area for very long afterwards. It’s kind of like pasta.
If you’ve ever eaten in any city, then you know there’s never a taco place outside of two miles from where you are. Xtreme Tacos is far better than the regular Latin restaurants, but I still have difficulty saying that it’s the better of the two in this review. Not to say that this Tampa restaurant is bad in any way, but California Tacos is just also really amazing.
Another thing that I really love about Xtreme Tacos is the constant attention you get from your servers. Not to the point where it’s annoying, but my glass is never empty and if I need an extra napkin or something they’re always there for me. It’s just the little things like that, which drives all of the customers to give restaurants like this great online reviews.
California Tacos is the last one I’ll talk about, and it’s unsurprisingly another Latin restaurant. This one is found near Village of Tampa. I can’t state a ton of things about California Tacos without causing too much overlap, but you get a general idea. Food variety and quality are great, the service is great, and it’s a real beauty on the inside. Kind of like me. The one thing that I noticed immediately was how clean the restaurant was.
I didn’t get a chance to see inside of the kitchen, but I’m sure it was immaculate too. When cooking tacos and other Mexican dishes, you have to keep the level of grease in mind. Not only can a dirty hood cause you to lose points on your safety examinations, but grease fires also put all of your customers at risk as well. I have a buddy who works for a hood cleaning company in Tampa, and he’s always telling me horror stories from different restaurants that he visits each day.
Tampa Hood Cleaning Pros does more than just hood cleaning, though, They also give you the choice of rooftop grease containment or exhaust fan hinges installation. Their website is https://tampahoodcleaningpros.com/, and it has an about page where you can learn more about their services. If I was a business owner, I likely would. If you want to read my full review among other positive reviews for California tacos, be sure to drop by Yelp and Google.