If you believe Food & Wine, Tampeños don’t have to travel very far to get Florida’s best sandwich because it calls Ybor City home. In his new listing of “The Best Sandwich in Every State,” Food & Wine Editor David Landsel wrote that the Cuban sandwich at Columbia is top of the heap in the Sunshine State.
Landsel rightfully picked up on how the original version of Casimiro Hernandez Sr.’s “Mixto” sandwich is a reflection of the immigrants who helped build Ybor City.
“Ham for the Spaniards, Genoa salami for the Italians, mojo roast pork for the Cubans, and for the Germans and Jews, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard,” Landsel wrote, adding that Columbia’s offering ($10-$15) is served on “Florida's best Cuban bread” from nearby La Segunda.
Wait until he tries Tampa’s signature cocktail, which is also an homage to the city’s immigrant culture.
In his assessment of the best sandwiches from sea to shining sea, Landsel wrote that all Food & Wine was looking for were each state’s most iconic, time-tested sandwiches.
“We wanted the ones with an extreme sense of belonging, the sandwiches people would fight for, and possibly over,” he added. And yes, Miami, we’ll fucking fight you over the Cubano.
By now, it’s no secret that Landsel is kinda sorta in love with Tampa Bay. In November of 2019, he put three local coffee shops on his “Best Coffee Shops in America” list, even placing Tampa Heights’ King State at no. 8 in the nation. Less than a year before that, Landsel spent an afternoon getting a tour of Tampa from James Beard semifinalist chef Ferrell Alvarez. In 2018, he wrote a “Beginner’s Guide to Cuban Tampa.”
And if you can’t get to Columbia for a Cuban sandwich, fret not. Creative Loafing Tampa Bay can think of at least 22 Cuban sandwiches in Tampa Bay you should’ve tried by now, and in 2017 we even ran through some of our favorites including the versions at Florida Bakery, La Tropicana (R.I.P.) and of course the Obama Cuban at West Tampa Sandwich shop.
Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you up to the minute news on how Coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.
Want to know everything going on with Tampa Bay's food and drink scene? Sign up for our Bites newsletter.