Dining Guide

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Dong Phuong, 3636 Henderson Blvd. (813-874-2919). Closed Sunday and Monday. This dinky cafe, which shares space with an Asian grocery, serves the basic refreshing Vietnamese noodle dishes and pho, the meal-in-a-bowl. A good spring roll, grilled shrimp and pork over noodles and Vietnamese filtered iced coffee costs under $8. The market offers bargains on fresh herbs and Asian produce. $

Fuji Sushi Bar and Japanese Restaurant, 1155 S. Dale Mabry (813-282-9098). Look for traditional Japanese dinners like katsu, fried beef, chicken or pork cutlets, along with shrimp and vegetable teriyaki on the menu, with a sushi bar offering daily lunch and dinner specials. Bento boxes are the best buy. Isobeage, seasoned, grilled salmon rolled with seaweed paper, is a treat. $$

Green Iguana Bar & Grill, 4029 West Shore Blvd. Cheap eats in a rowdy setting. The food is surprisingly good for a place where the focus is on drinking, loud music and the usual watering hole mating rituals. Try the grouper sandwich. $

Il Gabbiano, 3671 West Shore Blvd. S. (813-831-0694). Inside Il Gabbiano you'll find an intimate dining room, fine food and attentive service, but don't let the Italian name fool you. Moroccan owners Ali Seghrouchni and Chef Younes Bennani sneak a bit of the Casbah into their Mediterranean menu. Enjoy fine pastas with fresh-made sauces, as well as splendid lamb shanks kissed with wine and cinnamon, delightful couscous, or tender veal in green peppercorn cream sauce. Dinner entrees from $12 to $16. $$

Jimmy Mac's, at the Imperial Marina, 5000 W. Gandy Blvd. (813-839-3449). Known to most as a burger empire, Jimmy Mac's dips into the sea to come up with some unique fish dishes. There are langostino in Chardonnay sauce, seafood "in the coop," large Dungeness, blue and golden crab. If you like their famous burgers, order the "Bigger" Mac; it contains one full pound of beef. Grouper, swordfish, tuna and salmon can be ordered blackened, broiled or grilled. $$

Joto Japanese Restaurant, 2549 Countryside Blvd. (727-796-2022) and 310 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa (813-875-4842). Belly up to the sushi bar or grab a seat on the floor while a kimono-clad waitress serves traditional Japanese dishes. Try the special sushi and sashimi platters. $

Kojak's House of Ribs, 2808 Gandy Blvd. (813-837-3774). If you want excellent barbecue on your plate in just minutes, this could be the spot for you. Barbecue lovers will dig the tender slabs of pork ribs, the chopped or sliced pork and beef dinners with sides of fresh corn-on-the-cob, homestyle baked beans and slaw like Ma used to make. $$

Lola Jane's Crawfish Inn, 5712 S. MacDill Ave. (813-805-0312). Good-natured informality is as abundant as flavor in the little house at the south end of MacDill Avenue, where Lola Jane and hubby Gardner re-create the food and atmosphere of their family table. Enjoy absolutely authentic muffaletta and po-boys, outstanding jambalaya and crawfish pie, great red beans and rice, and a marvelous crawfish etouffe with roux made to your special order. High quality and low dough are the house rule. Salads and sandwiches cost $2.95-$6.95. Hot foods like gumbo and etouffe range from $5.95 to $7.25. Homemade pecan pie or bread pudding ranges from $1 to $2.25. All food packaged for carryout. Screen porch has three tables if you can't wait. No alcohol. $$

Miguel's, 3035 W. Kennedy Blvd. (813-876-2587). Authentic Mexican food at reasonable prices. Combo specials are always good and they make a mean stuffed poblano. Colorful, casual atmosphere. $$

Nature's Harvest, 1021 N. MacDill Ave. (813-873-7428). A full-service supermarket with organic produce, bulk grains, nuts and dried fruits, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, etc. In the back, you'll find an on-site bakery making whole-grain breads, carrot cake, muffins and more; a cold case for prepared takeout; and a small cafe offering a salad bar and at least one hot daily special. Veteran Chef Debby DeGraaff teaches free vegetarian cooking classes every Wednesday and Thursday, offering easy menus for people looking to add meatless meals to their diet. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 am to 6 p.m. Sunday. $

New City Bistro, 3333 S. West Shore Blvd. (813-805-0250). Roger and Terri Lenzi, chef/owners of the popular New City Diner, turn their talents to delicious bistro dining with their New City Bistro. The New American menu changes often, but exciting flavor combinations and skillful preparation remain constant. Look for dishes like Moroccan-spiced salmon with feta couscous salad, goat-cheese stuffed filet mignon or fresh herb rub on grilled rack of lamb. A wine bar with more than 60 affordable labels and especially tasty appetizer assortments make this a pleasant place to linger. Entrees range from $10.95 to $17.95.$$

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