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Written by Puff Staff

Monday, 23 May 2005

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Tags:
caliente bistrorestaurants and dining
ybor cities

Caliente Bistro on 7th Avenue, in the historic Ybor City section of Tampa, Florida features some of the best real Cuban cuisine, made by real Cuban ladies. They brought their recipes with them from Cuba. Mimi, the 25-year old owner is as beautiful as the food is great. I give them both a "10".

Mimi, Owner of Caliente BistroMimi, the beautiful 25-year old Cuban entrepreneur, opened Caliente Bistro just four months ago. I hadn't planned on going to Caliente Bistro this day. As a matter of fact, I planned on eating at a different restaurant, but when I got there the wait was too long. I walked on down the street to see a sign pronouncing the opening of a new Cuban restaurant, and I couldn't resist.

I've come to find that many times the best things in life happen by mistake. To quote one of my favorite authors, Randy Wayne White, "Nearly all life's passages, tranquil or tragic, hinge on a random intersecting of events, a chance meeting, or on some seemingly insignificant decision."  

Perhaps this is true for Mimi and Caliente Bistro as well. Mimi became a successful telecommunications reseller and moved to California. California was ok, but not as good as she thought it would be, so she ended up back in Ybor City wondering what her next move would be. Caliente Bistro was born. She says, "I worked in restaurants and bars for a long time, I enjoy dealing with people and I love Ybor City. I wanted to be in the restaurant business, but didn't want to have a boss. My mom and aunt said they would supply the authentic Cuban recipes and the cooking. My mom always had her own business when I was growing up, so I guess being an entrepreneur is in my blood."

If you're looking for posh surroundings and prices meant for tourists, then Caliente Bistro is not the place for you. However, if youCaliente Bistro Wall Menu want the real feel for Havana in simple, yet warm surroundings and hearty, homemade food that is the real taste of Cuba, Caliente Bistro is a must. I haven't been to Cuba, but from reading many articles and seeing pictures, this seems just like the places they have there; small, family run, warm and friendly, with food that you will have you longing to return. The food is made fresh every day, and sometimes certain popular items will sell out. You can see from the wall-menu on the right, that the Chicken Frito, Palomilla Steak and Huevos con Rice & Beans sold out the day I visited. 

I ordered the Roast Pork, and when I hesitated on my decision between red beans or black beans, Mimi gave me both along with yellow rice. Nice. The portion she served reminded me of the portions my mom dishes out. I wonder if the two of them have a conspiracy to get me fat?

I love Latin food. I eat it all the time and have access to some of the best being that I live in the Miami area. Therefore, I believe myself to be somewhat of a connoisseur. Caliente Bistro passed the test. I ate until it hurt and still couldn't finish everything on my plate. 

If you are going to be in Tampa, be sure to visit Caliente Bistro, 1817 East 7th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605. 813-248-8580 and tell them Kevin from Cigar review sent you.
Mimi Caliente Bistro




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