Good Spanish-style restaurant right off the causeway. They used to flaunt their Basque roots, but now feature "Spanish, continental and Latin American cuisine." Neat interior, but pricy. Lots and lots of yuppies with their wives chattering on their cell phones. Ugh.
Dark break and sweet butter are very good. Sangria is excellent--- not too sweet, very nice. The Columbia's tastes like kool aid.
The waiter assured me that I would like their salad, although I am not a big salad person. Iceberg lettuce sucks. Sure enough, it was a typical iceberg salad with a little parmesan and blue cheese. YAWN.
Spanish Bean Soup was okay, but nothing special. $3 for a tiny cup. Living in Tampa, I can get a huge bowl for $3. I guess they really have to pay for those garbanzos.
My 22-24oz pork chop turned out to be 15 ounces of bone plate with a small pork chop nestled inside. The garlic sauce was good, a bit sweet, but very oily. Another disappointment: although entrees are mostly around $20, none of them come with vegetables, just starch. I would have ordered some veggies if I knew that.
My company has pompano en papillote, which they declared excellent. It seemed bland to me, but understandably so with the strong taste of garlic in my mouth from the pork. Beef tips salteado was quite good.
Dessert was good: a large slice of Key lime pie topped with flaming rum. Not too sweet but plenty sour. The rum really added a nice touch that suppresses the sweetness.
Altogether, I can reccommend Tio Pepe for dinner, but not strongly. I can get plenty of great food in Tampa without a bill of $110 for dinner for four. Altogethr, though, a pleasant experience--- now if those yuppies could just shut off their cell phones!
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