Tampa

These are Tampa Bay’s top 10 new restaurants

On March 11, 2020, I published the last restaurant review I would write for the rest of that year.

Of course, I had no idea what the future held at the time. That week, we ran a playful rundown of the Filipino fare served at Jollibee, a fast-food restaurant with a cultlike international following that had recently opened in Pinellas Park.

I’ve been a restaurant critic for close to seven years now and I can say with some certainty that I never expected my last review before a pandemic to focus on the nuances and flavor profiles of Jolly Spaghetti

Read More

The 10 best dishes our food critic ate in Tampa Bay in 2021

For many of us, the great takeout game of 2020 stretched well into 2021. To-go meals made up many of my dinners. But despite not eating out as much as I did during pre-pandemic times, I still discovered dozens of exciting new restaurants and fantastic meals. Whittling down that list to my 10 favorite dishes wasn’t easy, and there were more than a few great bites that didn’t quite make the cut. Here are some of the most memorable dishes I ate during the past 12 months.

This story is part of our 2022 Top Restaurants series. Read the other

Read More

What’s in a Peruvian sandwich? This Tampa food truck has the answer

TAMPA — What makes a really good Peruvian sandwich?

At Meanchi’s, a Peruvian-inspired food truck in Tampa, owner Josh Varon seems to have found the answer.

For him, it’s a combination of things. First, it’s about tradition — giving indigenous ingredients and recipes the attention they deserve. But it’s also about adopting a contemporary, fast-casual mindset: taking risks and thinking outside the box.

His best-selling Chicharron sandwich ($11) makes a pretty compelling argument for both. Instead of the traditional pork belly, Varon swaps in roasted, fried pork shoulder and pairs it with thick planks of fried sweet potatoes, a zingy

Read More