She directed us off the tourist-centric 7th Avenue, just a couple blocks away to 5th to the Argentine restaurant El Puerto. The place was adjacent to another cigar store (where Redneckhunter picked up another 1/2 dozen cigars) and had chickens running around on the sidewalk outside -- both good signs.
We got there a little before noon, and I'm glad we did because by 12:15 every seat in the place was taken, and we never would have made our flight in time! Another good sign considering the restaurants on 7th Avenue had people out on the street trying to drum up lunch business.
I ordered the Chupe de Camarones - shrimp soup with potatoes, rice, shrimp, and a hard-boiled egg. Redneckhunter got a lunch special - the Mini Parillada - Argentinean sausage, skirt steak, chicken breast, pork chop with a side of rice and beans. I can't believe this was the mini version of the dish!
A great find, which hopefully we'll return too next time we're visiting family!
El Puerto Restaurant and Grill
1623 E. 5th Avenue
Tampa, FL 33605