Always on the lookout for places we haven’t visited yet, we ended up at Pensare Italian Bistro in Dunedin for dinner tonight. The place was packed and really loud. We were seated in this little alcove and I felt like the sound just reverberated off the walls. Our waiter came over and explained the specials and brought bread and oil to the table.
The bread was warm and crusty and the dipping oil was very flavorful. We were optimistic about the rest of the meal only to be quickly disappointed when our appetizer arrived.
It was a fried platter of calamari, shrimp and zucchini. The calamari was thin and like rubber. The breading had no flavor whatsoever. The shrimp were overcooked and the zucchini was burnt. If our waiter had actually come back to the table in a reasonable amount of time, I would have sent it back. Salads came with our meal and we both got the mixed greens.
Loren likes mixed green salads, I’m not a fan. They also brought oil & vinegar to the table & you can have the waiter dress the salad or you can do it yourself. Eventually, our entrees came out. At this point, I felt like we had been there for quite a while. Loren ordered the Salmone Asparagi which was salmon in a lemon buerre-blanc sauce and asparagus.
He said it was pretty good. I found the sauce to be a bit too tart and sour for my tastes. I went for the pappardelle bolognese.
This was not a good dish. The pasta was undercooked and the sauce was flavorless. It was just very uninspiring. Our waiter disappeared at this point, I think he had tables out on the patio, so we didn’t see much more of him. My expectations were so low at this point that I didn’t even bother with dessert. We won’t be back. Total bill was $59 with a drink.
Pensare Italian Bistro
799 Highland Ave
We went over to Surf Shack for lunch today. They were pretty busy, but we were able to get a table inside which was good because it was a bit warm out on the patio. Loren tried the Hula Burrito again with a salad.
I love how colorful the salad is. As for the burrito, just like last time, he had to put some of the salsa from the chips & salsa on it to give it some flavor. I ordered the West Coast tacos and added avocado to them. For some reason, I just think a West Coast taco should already have avocado as one of its main ingredients.
I did the upgrade for mac & cheese as my side and that was a mistake. I’ve tried it here several times with mixed results, but the majority of the time, it’s just too dry. There’s just not enough cheese sauce on it. The tacos were ok. They’re pretty plain, just chicken, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. Total bill with a drink was $22.
Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen
12217 West Linebaugh Ave
We eat out a lot and one of the things I’ve noticed is that a lot of places have gone to a very minimal presentation of their food, but that’s not the case with Pacific Thai Cuisine. Their plating makes the food look that much more appetizing and it’s those little details that can take a meal to that next level. Loren decided to try the Yum Beef tonight.
He got it medium spicy and he was sniffling a little by the end, but really enjoyed the dish. He loves entrees with lots of veggies. I went for the Pad Se-ew tonight.
It’s a very simple dish, but they do it well here. It has that right mouth-feel, the veggies are crisp, the flavors subtle, and the noodles are cooked perfectly. It’s just a pleasant dining experience from start to finish. Must be why we eat here quite often. Total bill with a drink was $33.
Pacific Thai Cuisine
4058 Tampa Road
My dining experiences at Rumba Island in Oldsmar have been going downhill for a while and tonight was no exception. They remodeled the interior since the last time we were there and now the entire restaurant is open to the bar area which made it a bit louder inside. Not sure how that’s going feel once the summer heat sets in. We started off with some grouper fritters and corn muffins.
The corn muffins were yummy as usual. That’s about the only consistent thing I’ve found here. The grouper fritters were ok, but a bit on the spicy side for me. Loren ordered a bacon cheeseburger.
He liked it. In fact, he usually has a pretty good experience with the food here. I’m the one that ends up with the wonky entrees. Tonight, I went for something I’ve had before with relative success, the BBQ salmon.
One bite was enough to tell me that the salmon was not fresh. I eat enough salmon to know that it shouldn’t have a fishy taste to it. And just to be certain that I wasn’t being overly critical, I had Loren taste it and he agreed. When the waiter finally came back to our table, I told him the fish wasn’t good. He said salmon is a very fishy tasting fish and I politely disagreed. If that’s what he thinks, then he’s obviously never had fresh salmon. They took it off the bill and the manager came out as well, but I sort of got the impression from him that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the fish either. Total bill with a drink was $19.
Rumba Island Bar & Grill
3687 Tampa Road
I think we’ve found our new favorite German restaurant down in Largo. German Bistro 2 is in a little strip mall, has about 10 tables inside and some very tasty and hearty German food. They started us off with some bread and coleslaw.
The bread was fresh and tasty. The coleslaw was a bit on the peppery side, but still very good. I knew I shouldn’t have ordered an appetizer, but I just love potato pancakes.
Normally, Loren isn’t a fan, but he really enjoyed these. They were nice and crispy with a little bit of herbs on them and served with applesauce and sour cream. I have to admit, I was already full by the time our entrees arrived. Loren got the Gypsischnizel with a side salad and dumpling.
They forgot to bring out the dressing for his salad, but other than that the meal was very good. His pork had a tomato and green pepper sauce on it. The dumpling was made of stuffing. It was different. I ordered the Jaegerschnizel with spaezel and warm potato salad.
The pork was very tender and the mushroom gravy had lots of thick slices of mushrooms. The spaezle was so good that I had to order seconds. I forgot to mention, all the sides have free refills. Loren really enjoyed the potato salad. It had bacon and that distinct vinegary German flavor. We both ended up with lots of leftovers and yet, we still ordered the apple strudel for dessert.
It was served with ice cream and whipped cream. Seriously, we were both so stuffed by this point that we couldn’t finish the pastry, though we did eat all of the apples inside. Another thing to mention is that they also offer complimentary beer or wine. It was a very enjoyable experience. The owners are very friendly and accommodating. They want to make sure you enjoy every last thing on your plate. This is definitely a restaurant we’ll be returning to. Just have to remember to bring a big appetite. Total bill was $55.
German Bistro II
1300 E Bay Dr Ste L