Pleasing Palates for 30-Years, Caribbean Cafe is a True Local’s Favorite

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Pleasing Palates for 30-Years, Caribbean Cafe is a True Local’s Favorite

The Caribbean Cafe is a second generation family owned St. Petersburg staple serving up Caribbean and Cuban inspired sandwiches, bowls and more for 30-years. Their Cuban Sandwich has remained on our Top 10 Best list since 2022.

Caribbean Cafe was doing fast-casual way before it was cool. The restaurant opened in 1995, and was bought by long-time owner Jimmy Abel in 1997. Jimmy’s daughter, Cassi Abel took over the establishment after her father’s passing in January 2023.

They are still using all of Jimmy’s original recipes, but Cassi is making her mark with a new recipe for a Honey Mustard Jerk Chicken bowl. This recipe went through four months of testing to reach its level of perfection.

Honey Mustard Jerk Chicken Bowl
Honey Mustard Jerk Chicken Bowl

The seasoning is a well balanced mix of sweet and savory between the honey mustard and the rice and beans. I tasted the black beans alone and they are excellent. I recommend getting a side of beans with anything you order.

This Honey Mustard Jerk Chicken Bowl works best when you mix everything together before eating so all of the flavors can work together to create the perfect balance. You can also consider a Honey Mustard Jerk Chicken Sandwich with a side of rice and beans.

Cassi has also put her personal touch on the building with a new mural and updated signage, while still keeping the friendly quaint feel to the place.

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Caribbean Cafe Updated Exterior
Caribbean Cafe Updated Exterior (Photo: I Love the Burg)

(Above photo courtesy of I Love the Burg. Check out their recent profile for more background information on the Caribbean Cafe here.)

As mentioned above, the Cuban Sandwich has been on our best list since I first tried it in 2022. If you love Cuban Sandwiches and you haven’t had this one, you should.

Caribbean Cafe Cuban Sandwich
Caribbean Cafe Cuban Sandwich

Their Cuban sandwich is so scrumptious that the first bite will have you closing your eyes in pleasure and dreaming of being on an island where you can hear the waves and seagulls. It has ham, salami, “Cuban” pork, Swiss cheese, dill pickle, mustard and mayo on fresh Cuban bread. The bread is delivered fresh daily from La Segunda Bakery, the oldest and longest running Cuban bread bakery in Tampa Bay.

Now we embark on a journey of Cuban sandwich inspired gastronomy. All of these sandwiches were packed with flavor, and craveable.

My favorite of the three that I had after the Cuban Sandwich is the humble comfort food delight, the Chicken Melt – chicken salad and white American cheese pressed on Cuban bread.

Chicken Melt
Chicken Melt

All of the full sandwiches are on pressed Cuban loaves that are nine inches long. This is the standard length for Cuban loaves for over 100 years. There are two other options though.

You can get a half sandwich with a side of rice and beans for the same price, (currently under $10 for most, which is a steal), or you can make it a foot long for $1.50 more.

Buffalo Chicken Melt
Buffalo Chicken Melt

My next favorite was the Buffalo Chicken Melt. This starts as the chicken melt, but then gets transformed with cream cheese Buffalo sauce. It has a nice kick while still being approachable for most.

Jerk Pork Sandwich
Jerk Pork Sandwich

Our final delight is the Jerk Pork Sandwich. This one is loaded with wonderful medium-sliced pork, melted white American cheese, dill pickle chips and then topped with the housemade jerk sauce. The sauce is sweet, smoky, and tangy with just a touch of spice that makes it delicious and palatable for all.

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Check out the Caribbean Cafe menu below and pick some things to order before you go. (Click or tap to enlarge.)

Caribbean Cafe Menu
Caribbean Cafe Menu
Caribbean Cafe
  • Readers Rating
  • Rated 4.9 stars
    4.9 / 5 (16 )
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  • Caribbean Cafe
  • (727) 327-7202
  • Cuban Sandwiches, Cuban Bowls, Salads
    • Mon - Thu 11:00am - 6:00pm
    • Fri - 10:30am - 6:00pm
    • Sat - 11:00am - 3:00pm
  • 4801 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33713, US

Caribbean Cafe is a second generation family owned St. Petersburg staple serving up Caribbean and Cuban inspired sandwiches, bowls and more for 30-years. Their Cuban Sandwich has remained on our Top 10 Best list since 2022.

DISCLAIMER: Kevin, Lori, Abby, Haley, Lindsey & Mahika do not dine anonymously (this would be impossible) and we sometimes get free food (though never expected). However, we dine with the locals and we support our own. You will always get honesty in a respectful manner. We do not include any large national or regional chains in our ratings and reviews. We focus on independent locally owned eateries exclusively.

PLEASE NOTE: Reviews reflect a certain moment in time. Some restaurants stay extremely consistent over many years, and some change for the better or worse. Some things that may change are: chefs, recipes, food suppliers, ingredients, philosophies, ownership, etc. We always hope that you have the same good, or great experience we had.
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