The only thing better than dining on delicious meals is not spending a fortune on them.
After all, if we could find the best mom-and-pop/indie/dive-y/hole-in-the-wall spots, then we’d never have to cook for ourselves again. (And isn’t that the dream?) So we turned to Rebecca “Bec” Keller, who lives in Tampa, loves to dine out and is in charge of diversity, health and lifestyle at Debt Bombshell. “I have lots of relevant experience,” Keller gushed while sharing her favorite spots.
Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop, Miami
We could eat Cuban food all day — and to do this without breaking the budget, we turn to Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop in Miami. It’s a total dive for sure, and you will drive right past it a few times before noticing it. Order from the pick-up window, or go inside to grab a strong cafe con leche, a Cubano or a Pan Con Lechon sandwich. There’s usually a wait, but it’s worth it. Make sure you get here before closing time at 2 p.m.
Curry Leaves, Tampa
Cue the surprised look on your friends’ faces when you pull up to Curry Leaves in Tampa, which has a gas station next door — it looks like it’s actually part of the gas station. Yes, the location leaves much to be desired, but the food more than makes up for the locale. The hole-in-the-wall, family-owned Indian spot has a gigantic menu which may initially appear to be overwhelming (ask the servers for recommendations), but trust us: You really can’t go wrong — and at these prices, it’s no biggie if you experiment. Our go-to is the saag paneer — and this one could go head-to-head with any we had when we were actually in India. Beware, however: there is no liquor license, and you can’t BYOB. So remember to pre-party or get your food to-go, as many people have learned to do here.
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Yardie Spice Restaurant, Homestead
It’s the best Caribbean comfort food ever. The Homestead restaurant feels like home, if home equates to jerk chicken, curried goat, conch fritters and fish dip. If you plan on dining in, expect a wait, or get your food to go. This is a family-owned spot, and it tastes super authentic.
Sweet Delights Key Lime Pies, Florida City
This spot is literally a shack in the corner of a strip mall that shares a door with a salon, but we don’t care at all. When you enter, you’ll be greeted by the owner, Miss Debbie, who will instruct you to take a seat at the tiny table. You’ll receive multiple samples of her pieces in flavors ranging from banana to key lime to guava to sweet potato. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to try some of her cakes: Cherry almond is our fave, but the rum soaked vanilla walnut cake is a close second. Order by the slice, by the half pie or the whole — and don’t be surprised if you leave with stacks of pie when you only planned on stopping in for a bite.
Owen’s Fish Camp, Sarasota
When we’re craving local, old-school unpretentious Florida seafood, this is where we go. There used to be places like this scattered all over the state, but now they’re few and far-between: There’s a backyard for kids to play while you wait for a table; the prices are low; there’s live music; and there’s cold beer to drink. If you don’t like waiting for a table, you may want to skip Owen’s Fish Camp, as there are no reservations, and this place is popular.
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