Bodega: flavors in a box

The yummy Cuban sandwich in all its glory. Photo provided by

Gitana Garcia, Entertainment and Editorials Editor

A tiny box, squished between a parking lot and a juice bar, this hidden gem is packed with sizzling spices and juicy flavors. Bodega is found on the streets of Downtown St. Pete and is known for its delicious Cuban sandwich. Their food is always fresh and served made to order. Though small, the atmosphere is relaxing and tropical with tables and chairs lined along the sidewalk and an outdoor dining space decorated with palms and stringed lights.

Even though the menu is small, each plate is cooked to perfection. There is the classic Cuban sandwich ($8.50) that is made with fresh bread that makes the sandwich melt in your mouth. From the gooey warm swiss cheese that balances out the savory roast pork and ham with the staple mayo and pickles, it is a definite must-have. It is pretty large too, perfect for splitting with a friend. Other options on the menu include the pollo asado, vegetarian, and lechon, which come in both a platter with rice and beans or in a sandwich form. The pollo asado sandwich ($8.75) has coconut marinated chicken, mango mayo, avocado, fresnos, and fresh mango. The vegetarian sandwich ($8.50) has mojo grilled tofu, avocado, cucumber, and fresh jicama. And the lechon sandwich ($8.50) is cooked with cuban style roast pork, garlic mojo, and grilled onions.

To top that off, they serve sodas frescas, which are fresh sodas made with fresh-squeezed fruit, herbs, spices, Florida cane sugar, and Pinellas seltzer. Their flavors do vary according to when you go, but they usually have an orange ginger and passion fruit flavor. My favorite is the passion fruit one; its sweet taste is refreshing and delectable and doesn’t taste like just sugar. The orange ginger has a more tangy, spicy taste as the ginger compliments the citrus zest perfectly. This Latin street food creates foods for everyone to enjoy that are authentic and full of flavor.