Tampa Originals: Revisiting Local Icons II

Hugo’s Spanish Restaurant, founded in 1975, is a true Tampa icon. The now burgeoning section of South Howard Avenue continues to benefit from Hugo’s fresh fusion of Spanish flavors and family recipes. Their award-winning deviled crab, yellow rice and chicken, black bean soup and, of course, the renowned Cuban sandwich made Hugo’s a staple in locals diets.


*Photo via Hugo’s

That standard of excellence is the reason why the restaurant remains a consistently lauded favorite amongst foodies and critics today. The Spanish fusion restaurant was founded by Hugo and Angela Sanchez. In 2015, the restaurant came under new management, but the spirit behind the menu is intact. With the change in management came a refreshed interior. Full renovations inside were completed in the summer of 2015.


*Photo via Hugo’s

The restaurant is the host of Café con Tampa — a weekly gathering of neighborhood and community leaders who discuss the major issues facing Tampa Bay. Both an incubator of change and a space for true Tampa flavor, Hugo’s is an integral part of local pride and progression.


*Photo via Hugo’s

If you’re looking for a good breakfast on the go, few dishes compare to Hugo’s breakfast empanada — egg and cheese with your choice of chorizo, bacon, ham or sausage. Their savory flan is a proverbial headliner after indulging in their award-winning Cuban sandwich.


*Photo via Hugo’s

If you’re in the mood for something simple, a tall stack of thick pancakes is the ideal partner for a hot cup of café con leché. Other fan favorites include:

Milanesa Steak — Fried breaded palomilla steak smothered in marinara sauce and garnished with diced eggs and peas served with your choice of two sides.

Arroz Con Pollo — Sautéed chicken leg quarters, served with yellow rice.

Lechon Asado — Seasoned roasted pork cooked in Hugo’s mojo criollo.


*Photo via Hugo’s

For sides, you can’t go wrong with platanos maduros, sweet fried ripe bananas, or tostones, green plantains cooked traditional style. If you’re looking to fill up, we recommend a couple orders of their buttery Cuban toast.

The restaurant is open Monday through Friday, from 7:30am-5:30pm; and Saturday, from 8am-5pm.

Hugo’s Spanish Restaurant, 931 South Howard Avenue.

Experience more Tampa food history in Part I

Which Tampa spot should we visit next? Let us know in a comment. 


Article by Andrew Harlan, writer/editor of ThatsSoTampa.com

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