on March 9, 2006
I didn’t have a typical experience when visiting Carmine’s. It’s a well-known restaurant, but I did not go there for dinner. I stopped in to have a few drinks at the bar while I was waiting for the nightlife to pick up in Ybor City. In the process, we made friends with Shane, a really great bartender, and ended up having a few things to eat. Next to the TV, above the bar, is a picture of two older gentlemen in bathing trunks sitting on a boat. I asked Shane about them and he answered me with a short history of the bar. The original Carmine opened the bar in the 1940s. He passed the restaurant to his son (with a different name) who was pictured on the right in the photo. He died a few years ago and left the restaurant to his son, the second Carmine, who now owns the place. The rest of the restaurant is decorated with '50s sports photos, black floors, and a tin ceiling. The food featured is Cuban and Spanish. Along with our beers, we ordered the deviled crab. This ended up being a small football-shaped, deep-fried item. It tasted amazing. Not too oily, even though it was fried, and the crab was tender. After some time, I ordered a half of a Cuban sandwich. I have to say I think they may make the best Cuban sandwich in all of Tampa. It was really, really good, and I strongly suggest stopping in for one if you are ever in Ybor City.
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