Great Indian Near Busch Gardens Africa

Since man cannot live by theme park food alone, I am always on the lookout for good places to eat nearby and I hit the jackpot just a short drive from Tampa’s Busch Gardens Africa.

I consider myself quite the Indian food aficionado, and Cilantro is a superb Indian restaurant. Every dish I’ve sampled here has been a cut above the run of the mill Indian fare we tend to get used to in this country.

I have yet to come across a me-too recipe and the flavors are intense and complex. They will vary the spiciness to your taste and I find the “medium” setting to be just fine. Especially good are the chicken sag, navratan korma, and lamb rogan josh. The garlic nan is terrific as well.

Cilantro doesn’t automatically serve rice, so expect to order it separately, although if you are used to rice with your Indian food, I’d suggest trying it without for a change of pace. I found I didn’t miss it. When I did order lemon rice or vegetable biryani, I found them to be excellent.

There are some great Indian beers, including the Hayward 5000 in a 21-ounce bottle. There’s also a wine list, which I haven’t sampled.

They also have a lunch buffet for around $12. It’s not as good as the evening meals, but then these things never are.

Cilantro is located at 11009 N 56th St, Tampa 33617 (813) 983-8220. The number for delivery is (813) 914-4000.

There is also a branch in Jacksonville (which I plan on sampling as I head north) at 9825 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville 32257 (904) 262-9577.

They say the web site is, but it didn’t work when I tried it, hence no link.

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