The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Pacini’s Italian Eatery recently opened up in Safety Harbor.  We drove by last Friday & they were packed, so we waited a few days and went on a Tuesday when they weren’t quite as busy.  It’s all outdoor seating, so luckily it had been an overcast day, so it wasn’t too warm.  We were seated with menus and then waited.  And waited.  Eventually, our waitress came by & took our drink orders.  And we waited some more.   In the meantime, there were other tables that got seated after us and they were getting their drinks and bread.  We eventually got our drinks, but we were never offered bread.  I really don’t like inconsistency in the way different tables are treated at a restaurant.

We ordered the calamari for an appetizer and then Loren ordered short ribs only to be told they didn’t have them as well as several other items in that section of the menu.  He settled for the beef tips and when he asked about soup (salad or soup is at an extra $2.50 charge),  our waitress said they didn’t have any soup either.  Needless to say, we weren’t impressed so far.  Then the kicker is a few minutes later the waitress comes back and says the fryer is broken so they can’t make the calamari either.  At this point, our expectations were not high for the rest of the evening.

After waiting quite a while longer, Loren’s salad arrived.

He actually liked the salad.  It was sort of a mini Greek type salad.  What we didn’t like was that the empty salad plate stayed on our table the entire time even though the waitress passed by multiple times.   The beef tips he ordered were ok.  The plate was mounded with rice and the beef tips were a bit past medium.

I decided to try one of their trios with cheese ravioli, chicken Parmesan and fettuccine Alfredo.

The fettuccine Alfredo was very creamy, but the pasta was a little over done.  The ravioli were fine, but the chicken Parmesan was overcooked and inedible.  I couldn’t even cut it with my knife.  We waited with dirty plates for another long while & someone other than our waitress came by and asked it she could take them away.  We weren’t sure if she was a manager or not, but we told her about not being able to get our appetizer or the entree Loren wanted and how tough the chicken was.  She said she’d tell the kitchen about the chicken and that was that.  Our waitress brought our check & we were done.  Knowing full well that we were dissatisfied with the meal, you would have thought they might have offered to discount the check or offered a dessert.  Oh well.  I don’t expect that we’ll be returning.   Granted it’s a new restaurant going through growing pains, but there wasn’t anything about the experience that made us feel a need to go back.  Total bill with a drink was $40.

Pacini’s Italian Eatery
997 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
727-412-8053

Pacini's Italian Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food2/5
Service1/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value2/5
1.7/5

Gigglewaters


Gigglewaters recently opened in downtown Safety Harbor.  It’s a restaurant, bar, and starting in July they’ll also be showing movies.  We parked out front where we saw the sign, but ended up walking all around the building because we weren’t really sure where it was.  Eventually we found the front door.   It’s the furthest left entrance if you’re standing in front of the building.  The first thing that hit us was how loud it was inside.  It was deafening.  Had there been a wait for a table, we wouldn’t have stayed, but since they had an open table, we gave it a try.

We started out with the onion tanglers & you get to pick two dipping sauces.

We got ranch and were going to get the kicked up queso sauce, but our waitress recommended the beer cheese instead.  It was good.  Thinly fried onions and both sauces were tasty.  Loren got a side salad, but wasn’t impressed.

He’s not an iceberg lettuce kind of person and it was just a wedge of iceberg, cheese, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.  For his entree, he ordered the Brave Sir Robin.

It was a grilled chicken sandwich with guacamole, bacon, and crushed potato chips.  Unfortunately, the bacon was missing.  He even commented that the sandwich would have been much better with bacon, but couldn’t remember if it was supposed to come with it or not.  He said the chicken & guac were good & he liked the bun as well.  I ordered the chicken & waffles.

The menu said it came with maple syrup, so I didn’t think twice when I poured out one of the containers onto a waffle.  Come to find out, it also comes with a spicy chili sauce that’s meant for the chicken.  It was way too spicy for me.  A little head’s up would have been much appreciated.  The waffles were good, but I found the chicken to be a little over cooked & over crunchy for my taste.  It wasn’t near as tender as I would have liked it.  We also tried the bourbon pound cake for dessert.

It didn’t look like much when it came to the table, but it was the tastiest thing we ate.  They grilled the pound cake and it had a bourbon caramel sauce, and vanilla ice cream.  The pound cake had a nice texture after being grilled and the whole thing just went together well.  Our waitress was great.  She was funny and on top on things.  The owner stopped by and asked for feedback since they just opened.  We told her about the noise and she said they already had a sound engineer in there once and was having him back again.  It was also a little warm in there and she said the air conditioner guy was coming back as well.  We gave her comments on the food and she seemed to take them all in.  New restaurant growing pains.  We’ll be back after they have some more time to work out all the kinks.  Total bill with a drink was $52.

Gigglewaters
737 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
727.669.7077

Gigglewaters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food3/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value3/5
3.2/5

It was early so we headed to downtown Safety Harbor for dinner at Southern Fresh.   The weather was cooperative, so we sat out on the patio.   Their menu isn’t very big, so I’m pretty sure we’ve had this exact same meal before here.  BLT soup, roast pork, fried chicken & strawberry shortcake for dessert.

   

 

Small menus are fine when the food is as good as this and consistent every time.  Everything is fresh.  They cook the fried chicken to order, so although it takes a little longer to get to the table, it’s worth the wait.  The roasted veggies were tender, the mashed potatoes and gravy, made from scratch.  The strawberry shortcake is absolutely wonderful.  Total bill with a drink was $41.

Southern Fresh
122 3rd Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
727-216-6341

Southern Fresh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value4/5
4.0/5

We went back to Marker 39 for brunch this morning.  The weather was nice, so we sat out on the patio where it’s a bit quieter than their small indoor dining area.  We started off with the fried calamari.

This was a plate of perfectly fried, tender calamari.  There are places that do calamari well, this is one of them.  Loren got the “Big House Salad” with jerk chicken.

He said the chicken & salad both had lots of good stuff going on.  A good mix of flavors and textures with just the right amount of spice.  I decided to try the shrimp and grits.

The shrimp and the grits were cooked well and they were swimming in a spicy little tomato based sauce.  It had a good amount of heat going on without being overly spicy.  Everything was fresh & tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $46.

Marker 39
155 5th Ave N
Safety Harbor, FL
727-791-1939

Marker 39 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value4/5
4.0/5

Bar Fly Saltwater Grill recently moved to a new location in Safety Harbor, so we went over there for dinner.  We were able to get a table without a wait, but the restaurant was crowded and loud.  We started off with some grouper bites and I somehow managed to delete the photo.   They had a very thin, flavorless coating and most of the fish was overcooked.  When I ordered the appetizer, I asked for a side of ranch dressing.  Of course, it didn’t come when the food was delivered and we were almost finished before the waitress came back around.   Our entrees came out before we finished the appetizer.

Loren ordered the Mahi Bowl and I went for the lobster mac & cheese.

He said the mahi itself was good, but the rest of the dish was simply missed opportunities.  Right ingredients, wrong execution.  There was no flavor to the beans or rice and the whole thing just fell flat.  The lobster mac & cheese wasn’t much better.

It came with a cup of lobster bisque and kettle chips.  The bisque needed salt and didn’t have a lot of flavor overall.  There were enough lobster pieces to cover the bread, but I’m not convinced that grilled cheese & lobster should go together.  The sandwich was dry and all you could taste was the cheese.  Total bill was $43 and I don’t think we’ll be returning anytime soon.

Bar Fly Saltwater Grill
100 Main St, Ste 107
Safety Harbor, FL
727-400-4790

Saltwater Grill @ Bar Fly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food2/5
Service2/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value2/5
2.0/5