I wasn’t surprised to figure out that Adamo Drive’s new Asian hot spot, Zimó Bakery and Cafe, serves incredible pastries. I mean, the place has a 4.9 star rating on Google and near perfect Yelp reviews. That part made sense.
Nevertheless, my recent visit to the local bakery provided one of the most unexpected discoveries of my food-tasting career:
Tampa’s (and perhaps even the world’s) best spicy fried chicken sandwich.
Yes, I’m serious—it’s that good. Here’s why.
Creating Tampa’s crunchiest, juiciest chicken sandwich
First, the cutlet itself is stunning. If I were to ballpark it’s size, I’d probably say the piece is at least 6-7 inches in length and weighs half a pound. In addition, it’s comprised entirely of thigh meat, which is hands down the juiciest part of a chicken. With a hunk of dark meat that size, it’d be nearly impossible, even under the hottest temperatures, to dry it out.
Even with the most tender meat, however, a fried chicken sandwich is only as good as its coating, and this is where Zimó owners, Mandy Zhang and Andy Ren, truly soar. Their house-made batter is thick, rich, and loaded with a kickin’ spice blend. Whereas most pieces of fried chicken are simply egg washed and rolled in flour, Mandy and Andy’s are cleverly crafted to include much more complex flavors.
Next, after being perfectly battered, Zimó’s mammoth chunks of chicken are dropped into the deep fryer (presumably more than once), just long enough to create an ultra-crispy coating while simultaneously retaining the meat’s mouthwatering juice. And, even with this short, flash-frying process, the chicken still manages to reach an internal temperature hot enough to release a cloud of steam following each consumer’s initial, crunchy bite. It’s mind-blowing.
Now, at this point, I’ve covered all there is to cover about a piece of fried chicken—but Zimó’s sandwich excels far beyond its meat. In fact, one of the best components of the dish is its showstopping bun. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, because, after all, Zimó is a bakery.
Each morning, Mandy says, the Zimó team hand rolls all of their sandwich buns from scratch. The result is melt-in-your-mouth, cloud-like bread that perfectly surrounds and contrasts the crispy chicken placed upon it. Top off that fluffy bread and crunchy bird with a thick layer of mayo (and iceberg lettuce for texture) and there you have it: the world’s best spicy chicken sandwich.
Come for the sandwich, stay for the boba and desserts
If that ultra-sensory sandwich description has your mouth watering, you can hurry over to 10115 E Adamo Drive to grab your own. Zimó is open and serving all menu items until 8pm each day, but I’d suggest visiting between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., during which you can pair the spicy chicken masterpiece with any boba tea for only $9.95.
Oh, and like I mentioned earlier, the place also has incredible pastries, so you’ll definitely want to snag a couple of those.
I mean, think about it; you’ve already eaten the king of deep-fried decadence. Why not wash it down with a dreamy slice of strawberry crepe cake?