Cheap Eats: Tasty bargains in Tampa Bay 

CL's occasional guide to restaurants with money-saving menus.

CL regularly presents focused listings of the best dining options in Tampa Bay's neighborhoods. This week we're giving you a guide to spots in Tampa Bay known for tasty fare that won't leave your wallet hurting.

ANGIE'S CAFE 200 First Ave N., St. Pete, 727-823-6437. Whether it's 2 p.m. or 2 a.m., Angie's is the spot in Downtown St. Pete to grab an inexpensive meal on the go. Their gyros, cheese steaks burgers aren't the healthiest fare, but hit the spot -- especially after hitting the bars.

BEVERLY'S LA CROISETTE 7401 Gulf Blvd. at Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach, 727-360-2253, A popular breakfast and lunch spot with a neighborly vibe specializing in French favorites like tasty crepes and croissant french toast.

BLUE SEA FISH MARKET 7110 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 234-5085. This simple and inexpensive fish shack serves up broiled, fried and sautéed seafood ranging from Dungeness crab to Gulf grouper, all with sides of starch and veg.

CABANA CAFE 833 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, 727-712-2233, This quaint spot serves a small but eclectic menu of paninis, soups, and salads, as well as coffee, espresso drinks and tea. But the biggest selling point is the front and side porch seating from which one can watch the passersby. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

CALIFORNIA TACOS TO GO 1450 Skipper Road, Tampa, 813-971-8226, Serving tacos, burritos and the like, but specializing in San Diego-style fish tacos and freshly made pork rinds.

COLUMBIA CAFE 801 Old Water St., Tampa, 813-229-5511, Another locale of the famous Columbia Restaurant, the cafe at the Tampa Bay History Center offers a limited menu of favorites from the Columbia's menu (including the famous 1905 Salad™), all $8 or less.

DELCO'S ORIGINAL STEAKS AND HOAGIES 1737 Main St., Dunedin, 738-4700. Formerly La Spada's, Delco serves traditional Philly cheesesteaks on Amoroso rolls shipped in from the homeland as well as burgers and dogs. Cheez Whiz anyone? --Brian Ries

FRESHLEY'S CAFE 5420 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-361-8190, Owned and operated by three generations of women, Freshley's offers breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday out of a refurbished Airstream trailer. Their healthy options include turkey sausage, banana wheat pancakes, egg white frittatas, grilled fish tacos and salads. --Patrice Murphy

IKEA RESTAURANT 1103 N. 22nd St., Tampa, 813-434-4532, Where else can you get a plate of Swedish meatballs and two sides for $5 or a hot dog for 50 cents? Makes for a satisfying pre- or post-shopping meal.

KRISTINA'S CAFE 3590 34th St. N, St. Pete, 727-526-6673. A 24-hour hot spot in St. Pete that's especially hopping after 2 a.m. Kristina's serves its entire menu all day and night. After a long night at the bars in Downtown St. Pete or even the morning after, you can get everything from French toast to chicken fried steak without spending a fortune.

LA CABANA DEL TIO 1709 Drew St., Clearwater, 727-466-0504. At first glance, it's just a tiny, hole-in-a-strip-mall Mexican lunch counter. But go inside and experience some of the tastiest, most authentic tacos in Tampa Bay. It's no wonder they won the Editor's Pick for CL's Tournament of Tacos. Cash only.

LA TERESITA 3248 W. Columbus Drive, Tampa, 813-879-9704, Is there a better place for people-watching than that winding counter? Is there a better time for people-watching than late-night? Best of all, the food is cheap, arrives fast, and always comes with pressed Cuban bread. Open 24 hours on weekends. --Andy Huse

LENNY'S 21220 U.S. 19 N, 727-799-0402. This Clearwater legend is one of the best places for breakfast in Tampa Bay. Serves up huge breakfasts and classic Jewish deli treats. Just try not to fight over the complimentary basket of Danishes.

LETTUCE EAT HEALTHY 135 Second Ave. N., St. Pete, 727-639-0071, St. Pete's first (and only thus far) all-vegetarian food cart in the downtown area. Specialties include vegan Philly "cheese steaks," Italian "sausage," hot dogs and burgers. PETA recently ranked them as one of the top five places to grab a veggie dog in the U.S.

SAIGON DELI 3962 W. Waters Ave., Tampa, 813-932-0300. You'll find some of the quick and tasty standards of the Vietnamese dinner table, including some damn fine pho, capable stir-fries, bun salads, and a plethora of pre-packaged puddings and desserts. No matter what they come in for, though, everyone leaves with at least one banh mi. At $2.99 each, they're hard to resist. --BR

SUB PORT GIANT NEW JERSEY SUBS 14932 North Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa, 813-962-5958. Meat sliced to order, giant subs on fresh bread and prices that can't be beat.

TACO BUS 913 E. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa; 813-232-5889, 2324 Central Ave., St. Pete, A Tampa (and now St. Pete) favorite that serves freshly prepared, authentic Mexican fare -- tacos, burritos, tamales, etc. Do yourself a favor; skip Taco Hell and head over here instead.

THREE COINS RESTAURANT 7410 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa 239-1256. Another Greek/American reasonably priced diner in Seminole Heights with some killer corned beef cooked in-house. Open 24 hours, seven days a week.

WHARF RESTAURANT AND BAR 2001 Pass-A-Grille Way, Pass-A-Grille, 727-367-9469, Housed in a former fish processing plant, the Wharf has the waterfront perch and casual seafood fare of a typical beach-town restaurant, but with its 13 TVs, multiple Happy Hours and cozy wood-paneled booths it also feels like the kind of convivial sports bar you'd find in a college town.


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