I'm seconding Hugo's on howard ave near bayshore. Pretty well known for their cuban sandwich, but what a lot of people don't know is they also serve a mean breakfast. Can't beat rope sausage with eggs grits cuban toast and cafe con leche'. Reasonably priced too.
Also, Big John's alabama barbecue on 40th street is excellent bbq and VERY cheap. Just look for the bright orange building. I recommend takeout. Otherwise you'll walk out of there smelling like a smokestack.
Vallarta's has great cheap mexican. They have several locations, I've only been to the one on 56th street near busch. 2 people with no drinks can walk out for 15 bucks plus tip. However, I don't know who would want to walk out without a jumbo margarita or 2. They definitely don't skimp on the tequila.
Mel's hot dogs on Busch blvd probably doesn't fit the definition of hidden, but it's certainly a gem. I've been going there for over 20 years now.
New york Del-eatery on bruce b downs in new tampa. Great lunch place. The italian sandwich actually has prosciutto on it (and that's hard to come by around here) place smells like bread and bagles which they make fresh daily. Great fries. My all-around favorite sandwich shop.
Bay pizza on bearss and livingston: I've never had anything but the ham calzone. But the thing is freaking enormous for $5.99. 18 inches and loaded. They slather on the garlic butter like it's water and it's overflowing with ricotta and ham. I just don't see how they make a profit at that price. A really good deal if you're looking for a quick artery-clogger.
Great place for lunch is New York Minute Del-eatery:
It's on bruce b downs a few minutes from i-75. It can get crowded on weekends so you might want to consider carry-out. I live around the corner and this has quickly become my favorite place as far as an every night type meal (i.e. not for special occasions)
The new york theme inside is nice and the whole place smells like bread and bagels (which they make fresh daily) Service is A+ It's the only place in tampa that I've found that actually puts prosciutto on the italian sandwich, and they don't skimp on it at all. Seriously, is it even an italian sandwich without prosciutto? The place is nothing fancy but a good non-chain sandwich shop, especially for lunch.
I've had everything on the menu and it's all good, however here's my faves:
Aforementioned italian sandwich (The big little italy)
Pork tenderloin sandwich: breaded and deep fried. HUGE plank of tenderloin too big for the fresh kaiser roll it's served on. Comes with horseradish alabama sauce. I order this one when my appetite is especially large. Used to get these when visiting family up north, hard to find around here.
Again, every sandwich they serve is great but the one thing you must remember is this:
Sandwiches come with a bag of chips, but for an extra 99 cents, you can get fries instead. GET.. THE.. FRIES. Good fries. My favorite.
The soups can be skipped, nothing special there. The black and white cookie is mediocre. The cheesecake, however, is heavenly. So creamy and rich it will take a tall glass of milk to get it down your throat. Also comes with fresh fruit topping. Bagel chips are a nice snack, grab a bag on your way out.