If you’re living in New Tampa or if you’re willing to hop on 75 towards Bruce B Downs for excellent Spanish food, Café Ole is the place to go. Located off of Cross Creek Blvd and Kinnan St, across from the New Tampa Library, Café Ole is off the radar to most of Tampa Bay. It has a steady stream of customers, but with their new expansion, Café Ole deserves attention from all parts of Tampa. Café Ole was gracious enough to invite both of us for a sampling of their food. My wife and I have been to Café Ole a few times, so I came in liking the place already.
Getting Started at Cafe Ole
We started out with their sangria. It was flavorful, light and fruity, and not heavy with the taste of alcohol. The first course was their tapas, Patatas Alioli O Bravas and Setas Con Chorizo. The Patatas Alioli O Bravas are fried diced potatoes finished in an alioli sauce. The potatoes were delicious and the sauce immaculate. The Setas Con Chorizo was the second tapas served to us. This is Spanish sausage and mushrooms, sauteed in olive oil and garlic, served in a sherry wine sauce. The chorizo was flavorful with a hint of spice and the sherry sauce was not overpowering. This first course was a success.
The second course served to us was two different kinds of paella. One was the Paella Valenciana, which features shrimp, calamari, clams, mussels, fish, chicken, and chorizo baked with Valencia rice in a home made saffron sauce. The second paella was the Paella Negra, which had pulpo (octopus), shrimp, calamari, fish, and scallops. This is baked with Valencia rice and squid ink. Both paellas were excellent. The Paella Valenciana was the saltier of the two paellas and the squid ink definitely brings an unique flavor to the Paella Negra. Choosing between the two Paellas boils down to whether or not you want squid ink in your food. You can’t go wrong with either choice though. It is currently my favorite place for tapas out of the restaurants in Tampa that I have been to.
I have also had other menu items during previous visits, like the Albondigas Navarrpete, Croquetas de Atun, and Pollo Ole. The Albondigas Navarrete are baby meatballs, slow cooked in a red wine reduction sauce and served with sautéed red peppers and mushrooms. This dish is excellant and use the remaining sauce for dipping your bread. Pollo Ole is my favorite entree at Café Ole. This is chicken breast sautéed with artichokes and mushrooms in a brandy cream sauce. I’ve had the Patatas Alioli O Bravas with the spicey tomato sauce. The sauce had the same consistency as the alioli but had a kick of spice. While I enjoy spicy foods, I can understand people finding this too spicy.
Cafe Ole New Tampa for Dessert
The final item for our tasting was the Crema Catalana. This is vanilla citrus pudding topped with caramelized sugar. Doug referred to this dish as “creme brulee but better” and I can’t argue with that. It was the perfect ending to a very good meal.
On Monday and Tuesday, Café Ole has reduced priced tapas. Feel free to go for tapas or experience a three course meal. Café Ole is a top-notch restaurant. Cafe Ole also has a stellar bar area with plenty of beer on tap and with all the tapas to choose from I can’t imagine a better place to be for Monday Night Football once the season starts back up again or any other sporting event. Doug’s Note: “I would gladly watch underwater Olympic basket weaving as long as I had some alioli covered tatters”
How to get to Cafe Ole
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