Cheap Eats: Los Tucanes

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Near the beloved Taco Bus in Tampa is another Mexican restaurant worth your attention for two reasons: a larger menu and alcoholic beverages.  Walking in, you will notice brick walls, scattered red and green decorations, the sound of Salsa music and/or Spanish television playing and a full bar.  A juke box and pool tables can be found in a back room.  The menu boasts “The Best Mexican Food” and includes breakfast, lunch and dinner items.  There are the ubiquitous piled-high nachos, quesadillas and fajitas and some rarely seen items like sopes, caldo de chivo (goat soup) and menudo (only available on the weekend). 

Sopes are a thick corn “pancake” topped with refried beans, crumbled queso blanco, lettuce, onions and meat.  Traditionally round, the tasty sope I received resembled the guarache (pretty much the same, but sandal shaped) also on the menu.  The chips and salsa were fresh and will satisfy salty and spicy cravings.  An order of guacamole is worth the $3.50 as it is not overly bulked up with chopped tomato, etc.  The steak in the tacos is decent: softer and less fatty than some other Mexican places around town.  The Camarones al mojo de ajo (garlic shrimp) for $11.95 is also a worthwhile choice with large, garlicky shrimp, sautéed onions and heaps of rice and refried beans.  Or try a piled up plate of Carne asada for $8.99.  Most items are under $11.95.  And you can wash it all down with a 2-for-1 margarita. Bueno!  

Los Tucanes

1235 E. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa, FL  33604

813-232-5048

Hours: 7 days 10a- 10p

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