The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fan of dining in restaurants where there are a lot of young children around, but having a little kid at the hibachi table at Arigato makes the dining experience a little more entertaining.  The chefs play up to the kids and really seem to get into the show more when there’s a wide eyed child watching their every move.

We like Arigato more than Kobe when we’re in the mood for hibachi dining.  They started us off with soup and salad.

Pretty standard for one of these restaurants.  Loren ordered the chicken, steak, and shrimp and I got the steak, shrimp and scallops.  Rice and veggies come with it and I spend so much time eating the rice and veggies that by the time the rest of the meal comes I’m usually quite full.

Our chef was entertaining, the food was cooked well, and overall the meal was enjoyable.  I think I’d like it better if they limited the tables to 8 people rather than 10 because it did feel a little crowded.  Loren had to send back his iced tea and ended up not drinking the soda he got either because the fountain mix wasn’t quite right.  Overall service was pretty good though.  Total bill was $65.

Arigato
26508 US 19 N
Clearwater, FL
727-799-0202
Arigato Japanese Steak House on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5

Tasty Gyro


We ate dinner at the Olympia Greek Restaurant over by Fresh Market on US 19 in Clearwater tonight.  There are so many of these little Greek places in the area and they all seem very generic.  It’s pretty much Greek fast food. 

I’m a sucker for pastitsio, so I had to try that.  It came with a Greek salad.

The salad had a little bit of everything in it and the dressing was tangy and tasty.  The pastitsio was ok, but both it and the sauce lacked in flavor.

The sauce really tasted like it had just come out of a can.  It was tart and definitely needed to simmer a lot longer to give it any depth of flavor.  The pastitsio had a decent texture, but just didn’t have enough spices in it.  Unfortunately, the rice was a bit overcooked as well.

Loren ordered the gyro platter.

There’s a mound of rice under the gyro meat, but out of everything we had here, the gyro was the best.  It had a nice flavor and texture and tasted very fresh.   Both meals came with pita bread & tzatziki sauce and I also ordered a side of potato salad, forgetting that there’d be some on the salad.

I like the pita and tzatziki.  It was creamy and had a good flavor without being overpowering with garlic.  The side of potato salad was way more than we could eat.  I was expecting one scoop, not four, so this is definitely a side to share.  I also ordered a cannoli to go.

It was disappointing.  The shell was too thick and not crunchy at all and the the filling was also too thick.  It had the consistency of cookie dough.   After the $5 coupon from their website, the total bill with a drink was $23.  If I was in the area and wanted a quick gyro, I’d try it again, but otherwise, there wasn’t much that would draw me back in.

Olympia Greek Restaurant
25821 US 19 Hwy N
Clearwater, FL
727-724-0099

Olympia Greek Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.3/5

We ate dinner at the House of Enchiladas in Clearwater tonight.  It used to be Carambas.  They weren’t busy tonight, but then again, we were there around 8:30pm, so a bit after the dinner crowd.  The waitress brought over some chips and salsa, which Loren enjoyed. 

He said it wasn’t very spicy, but it was fresh and had lots of flavor.  Though there were a lot of choices for enchiladas on the menu, we both opted for something else.  Loren got the chicken fajitas.

He said they were good.  Tender chicken and plenty of it.  He brought enough home for another meal.  I can’t help but order chimichangas if they’re on the menu.

This one was crispy on the outside (so many restaurants miss this key component) and the filling was abundent and tasty.  The chicken was moist and had been cooked in a lot of mellow, but tasty spices. Total bill was $23.

House of Enchiladas
1840 Drew St
Clearwater, FL
(727) 286-6208

The House of Enchiladas on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value4/5
3.6/5
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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Mexican
  • Great Dip


    When we were driving down Gulf to Bay Thursday night, we noticed Pappas Ranchhouse had finally opened, so we headed over there for dinner tonight.  It’s a large restaurant and they were pretty full when we arrived.  We waited about 15 minutes for a table.

    The first thing we noticed was how loud it was in the dining area.  This is definitely not a peaceful and quiet restaurant.  Turning down the music would help some, but they also need to find some way to damper the overall noise level in there. 

    I had read some other reviews that said if you wanted bread you had to ask for it, but our waiter brought us some without us having to say a word. 

    The bread had a nice flavor, texture and crispy crust, but either it needed to be warmer or the butter needed to be softer.   Trying to spread rock hard butter on barely warm bread is not an easy task.

    We decided to get the artichoke and spinach dip.

    This is definitely an appetizer for more than 2 people.  The crock was huge!  We ran out of chips way before we ran out of dip.  Hands down, this was the best part of the meal.  Loren said the key to a great spinach dip is garlic and this one had plenty.  It was cheesy, creamy, and full of flavor.  We’ll go back just for it.

    Loren ordered a 6 oz sirloin with mashed potatoes and a salad.

    They didn’t quite get medium right on his steak.  The majority of it was medium well, with just a small bit of the thicker piece of the steak anywhere close to the medium range.  He said it was tender, but just a bit dry from being overcooked. 

    I ordered the prime rib sandwich with sweet potato fries. 

    The prime rib was very tender and juicy.  The sandwich also had grilled onions and mushrooms on it.  I think they need a thicker bread to put it on though because the bottom slice was extremely soggy.  The au jois was a bit salty to me, but overall, the sandwich was really good.

    We also got a piece of chocolate cake to take home.

    It was a very moist cake and the mousse layers had chocolate chips in it.  I could have done without the chocolate chips though as they ruined the smooth texture for me.  Total bill was $41 which was pretty good for the amount of food we got. 

    Pappas Ranch Steakhouse
    2630 Gulf to Bay Blvd
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 797-9800

    Pappas Ranch Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value3/5
    3.3/5

    We were headed to the Sprint store on Gulf to Bay and since there was a coupon in the last Val-Pak envelope for a BOGO at Diner Sixty West, we decided to stop there for dinner.

    They weren’t very busy tonight and our food came out pretty quick.  Loren decided to try the chicken fajitas.

    He said it was ok, but lacked flavor overall.  The chicken was tender and the food was actually sizzling when it came to the table  (it’s just not fajitas if it you can’t hear it sizzling as the waiter brings it to the table).

    I went for the meatloaf with mac & cheese and a baked potato.

    The meatloaf also lacked flavor.  Even with the onion straws and gravy it was still rather bland.  The baked potato needed to stay in the oven a bit longer as well.  It wasn’t quite soft enough.  The mac & cheese, however, was very good.  It was a buttery flavor to it.  It was the only thing on the table that actually tickled my taste buds. 

    After the coupon, the total bill with 2 drinks was $16.  The prices here are really good even without any coupons, but unfortunately, the food is just very generic and lacks flavor.

    Diner Sixty West
    2525 Gulf to Bay
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 437-0255

    Diner Sixty West on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value4/5
    3.2/5