Some of the items on the menu reminded me of the Cuban food I grew up with in Miami (1980's). The Bistec de Palomilla that my mother ordered was the star of this visit to La Teresita. I don't know if anyone remembers the old Lila's Restaurant (used to be in Westchester), but the flavor of the steak reminded of their version (minus the pile of shoe string fries). I had the churrasco steak. The flavor was there, but it was a thinner cut than what I've had in average restaurants such as La Carreta (the one on Bird Road). It would have been more tender if it was a thicker cut. I had the arroz moro and fried sweet plantains as my side dishes. The arroz moro wasn't as flavorful as others I've had in the past, but it was still pretty good. The fried sweet plantains totally satisfied my fix for Cuban food. Caramelized on the outside, and soft and sweet on the inside.
I do need to say that the restaurant part of La Teresita may look fancy as you enter, but the seating area has no atmosphere. It's not a place you go to for a romantic dinner. You need to know that upfront, or you'll be very disappointed. It's an old restaurant. Also, the Arroz con Leche wasn't very good. It was too sweet. I'll have to try the flan on the next visit.
On the bright side, the service is very good. Our server was very friendly and attentive, as well as the lady who brought us the bread. I forgot to mention the bread earlier. It was also very good. Anyway, the only difference between the restaurant and the cafeteria is the service, the seating, and the hours of operation. The food is exactly the same. I think the best part of our visit was the fact that you get a nice Cuban meal for an awesome price. It's not like the Miami version that I grew up with, but it's pretty close. I've been to many Cuban restaurants in the Tampa Bay area. I just don't think I'll ever find what I'm looking for anywhere north of West Palm Beach (maybe in Orlando). Will I go back? Yes, because I've heard from a couple of my friends that the Lechon Asado and Bistec Milanesa are also very good.
Just a tip. Don't go there thinking you'll get some innovative preparation of this type of cuisine. It's very old school and traditional. Nothing more. It's where the local Latino population goes to when they don't feel like cooking. That's all you need to know.
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