CL regularly presents focused listings of the best dining options in Tampa Bays neighborhoods. This week, were giving you a guide to dining in the University area, as well as the distance each spot is from the USF Tampa campus.
CAFE KILI 5731 E Fowler Ave., (813) 988-2879, 1.7 miles. cafekili.com Offering students a nice place to relax, study, enjoy free wi-fi, and have some coffee. Live entertaining is available on select nights. They also offer soups (try the shrimp corn bisque) and sandwiches at affordable prices and have a USF discount.
CALIFORNIA TACOS 1450 Skipper Rd., (813) 971-8226, 3.6 miles. californiatacostogo.com A different take on tacos, California Tacos follows a Southern California style of making tacos and various Mexican-inspired dishes. The entire composition is different from what you will find at any Mexican restaurant. The California Burrito with French fries inside may sound odd, but the taste once you bite into it is better than you would ever expect. The Horchata here is also one of the best in town.
CDB PIZZA 5104 E Fowler Ave., (813) 985-1336, 1.6 miles. cdbpizza.com Winner of the USF Pizza tasting event last year. Great lunch special prices. Dinner prices can get be steep, especially for college students on a budget.
CILANTRO INDIAN CUISINE 11009 N 56th St., (813) 983-8220, 1.3 miles. cilantroindiancuisine.com Indian food lovers will love Cilantros large menu and wide range of choices. The Chicken Tikka Dossa makes a great alternative for those who prefer less spicy entrees. The Gulab Jamun and Chocolate Temptation are both sweet and savory choices for dessert enthusiasts.
FIVE GUYS 2702 E Fowler Ave., (813) 977-4400, 1.1 miles. fiveguys.com The best burger option near USF, Five Guys has been voted the best burger again and again by many for their juicy and fresh tasting burgers. USF students (with their student ID) receive free French fries with the purchase of a burger and a drink.
FUSHIA ASIAN BISTRO 15317 Amberly Dr. (813) 903-6705, 3.5 miles. This family-style dining restaurant on Amberly Drive has a number of Chinese options. Lunch options run from around $7 to $11 and portions are large enough to share with friends. For dinner, prices go up a few dollars, but if you stick to sharing then it is still affordable. Besides their Cantonese cuisine, they also have Korean and Japanese options available.
MEL'S HOT DOGS 4136 E Busch Blvd., (813) 985-8000, 2.0 miles. melshotdogs.com Tampas best choice for hot dogs and corn dogs lies just a few lights from USF. Mels Hot Dogs has been well known for their Chicago-style hot dog since they first opened in 1973. Their corn dogs taste just like state fair corn dogs, crispy and enjoyable down to the last bite.
SAKE HOUSE 5104 E Fowler Ave., (813) 374-0140, 1.2 miles. cdbpizza.com Located diagonally from MOSI and connected to CDB Pizza, Sake House has extremely affordable sushi. For dinner you can order two rolls, soup and salad for only $10. Lunch specials are even better and the sushi is worth the price.
SAWATDEE THAI CUISINE 10938 N 56th St., (813) 985-2071, 1.9 miles. sawatdeethaitampa.com This small Thai restaurant has a number of popular choices such as Pad Thai available for affordable lunch prices ($6.95 for lunch) and they have a rewards program for customers who pay in cash.
SOUL OF KOREA 7612 N 56th St., (813) 989-9030, 4.1 miles. soulofkorea.net The only Korean choice in the University area offers reduced prices compared to other Korean restaurants and affordable bento boxes ($10-13) during lunch and dinner (dinner gets you Galbi ribs). Nice place to visit with a friend or two, but the restaurant is small so avoid bringing a crowd here.
SUSHI TSU 15317 Amberly Dr., (813) 910-9404, 3.5 miles. sushitsu.com Many sushi restaurants by USF just are not made for crowds, but Sushi Tsu has plenty of room for large parties and is probably the closest steakhouse as well where you can have teppanyaki cooks make your food in front of you.
TACO BUS 913 E Hillsborough Ave., (813) 232-5889, 4.5 miles. tampatacobus.com Perhaps the most popular Mexican choice in town. Taco Bus is open 24 hours (a college student's dream) and has plenty of authentic Mexican choices such as burritos, tostadas, and various other selections. The choices of meat such as carne asada and cheeses used are something hard to find at restaurants in Florida, and the excellent food keeps the crowds there at all hours of the day and night.
TOKYO SUSHI 5711 E Fowler Ave., (813) 983-1822, 1.6 miles. tokyosushibar.com The sashimi is super fresh and they have a wide variety of makimono roll choices that you won't find elsewhere. The lunch special is a good deal and dinner entrees are at average prices, but the freshness of the fish is what really brings customers in.
VALLARTA'S 9255 N 56th St., 813-987-2720, 3.2 miles. Great Mexican dine-in choice in the University area. The Tacos de Carne Asada are fantastic and comes with plenty of meat, refried beans and toppings.
WOOD FIRED PIZZA AND WINE BAR 2822 E Bearss Ave., 813-341-2900, 2.1 miles. wood-firedpizza.com You can taste the love that goes into each of these gourmet pizzas that are cooked in the blazing wood-fired oven (which is also the restaurant's focal point). They offer a decent list of wines and craft beers on draft and have great happy hour specials, too.