When Carmine's was a tiny place on the corner in Ybor City, my wife and I used to go there for the great food and friendly atmosphere. A lemonade was squeezed by hand. Today, Carmine's has become a tourist trap, expanded in size and diminished in service. It is now cash only and after our experience today, it is easy to see why. As someone who was born in Tampa, not only is the ""Cuban"" food inauthentic, it is frankly awful. While the waiter was efficient and friendly, the ""Cuban sandwiches"" inferior to a convenience store, and after my wife ordered a lasagna and received something akin to lasagna soup, boiling at the edges and lukewarm inside, she found it inedible. The waiter mentioned something about ""problems in the kitchen,"" and my ""palomilla steak"" which seemed to have been harvested from a very old yak, was seasoned in a way that was totally unfamiliar to anyone acquainted with authentic Tampa cuisine. I was lucky, though, in that my food came within 30 minutes of ordering it. After the waiter asked about my wife's virtually untouched lasagna and offered to see if it could be taken off the bill, a female manager approached, and as my wife was bent over attending our son, loomed over her menacingly and wagged a finger at her, saying she'd ""stuck a finger in"" the lasagna, and there wasn't anything wrong with it. Now I can deal with lousy food, and I can deal with waiting too long for the lousy food, but this manager insulted my wife, basically calling her a liar, and the sad thing is that we frequented Carmine's before it was a successful tourist trap, and it's a pity to see how far it's fallen. We'll never go again, and as someone born in Tampa, and someone who knows where to direct every client of my business as well as friends and family, I will warn everyone off this restaurant that was once a great place and is now an absolute, and inauthentic, disgrace. As my brother in law said, ""Carmine's: Cash only and the customer is always wrong."" Very sad.
Cons: Hostile managers, Chef Boyardee lasagna, convenience store Cuban sandwiches