The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Safety Harbor’ Category

Whistlestop


I hadn’t been to the Whistle Stop Grill in Safety Harbor in quite a while, so a friend of mine & I headed over there for lunch today.  It’s an open air casual kind of place and we settled in for a chicken sandwich and a burger.

The Cali-Style Chicken Sandwich has bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato & avocado.  My friend said it was tasty, especially with some sweet potato fries.  I went for the mushroom and onion burger with a side of onion rings.

The burger was big with lots of portabello mushrooms and onions on it.  It was cooked a perfect medium and had a nice flavor to it.  Total bill with a drink was less than $25 for the two of us.

Whistle Stop Grill
915 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
(727) 726-1956

 

Food3/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.0/5

Pizza


There are a lot of little restaurants tucked away on the side streets in downtown Safety Harbor and tonight we made our way over to Pizzeria Gregario. They must have had a line waiting when they opened because we were there pretty early and all of the inside tables were already occupied. Luckily, it was a beautiful evening and the outside tables were in the shade.

Their menu is on the wall as you walk in and then you order at the counter & they bring the food out to you.  Loren started off with a salad.

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Honestly, I’ve never heard him rave about a salad as much as he did about this one.  It had a little bit of this & that and seasoned perfectly as far as he was concerned.  I think he would go back just for the salad.  Loren made the mistake of getting a GuS soda which is supposed to be a not too sweet “grown-up soda”.  It was quite awful tasting.  We also ordered a side of meatballs.

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He liked them more than I did.  They were well seasoned, but I didn’t find them moist enough for my taste.  The sauce was a bit on the loose side as well.  It had the flavors, just not quite the texture I was after.  That little gator in the background was our table designation.  He looked like he was ready to eat everything brought to the table.  For our pizza, we went with the mushroom.

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It was ok, but neither of us would be tempted to order it again.  The crust was good, but it has a gremolata on top and with every bite the lemon zest overpowered all of the other flavors.  Lemon and pizza just isn’t a combination that worked for us.   Overall, the food was fresh, and we may go back & try a different pizza at some point.  If nothing else, Loren would be happy just to have more salad.  Total bill with a drink was $33.

Pizzeria Gregario
400 2nd Street North
Safety Harbor, FL
727-386-4107

Pizzeria Gregario on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.0/5

We were driving through downtown Safety Harbor looking for a different restaurant when we came across Marker 39 Floribbean Grill.   I think we’ve been in two other restaurants in this same location.  Hopefully, this one will stick around a while.  It’s a small space but we got there early so were able to get a table in the backroom.  We started off with the Nemo roll.

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This little salmon appetizer was gone before we knew it.  Tasty little bites of ginger cured salmon with pickled cucumber.  It was fresh and light.   We could have easily eaten another plate or two of them.  Instead, Loren got a side salad and I had to try the shrimp bisque bowl.

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Loren really liked the salad and the vinaigrette that came on it.  It had greens, cucumber, tomato, roasted corn, and sundried cherries.  The shrimp bisque was very creamy and had a deep, rich flavor to it.  It was garnished with a little bit of blue crab, but I sort of wished that there was a crispy texture element to go along with it.   For his entree, Loren decided on the ahi tuna.

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It was seared and the inside was a nice rare.  I liked the crispy wonton on top and he liked the wasabi sauce, but said it really cleared his sinuses because it was so strong.  It was one of those things to eat in moderation.  I went for the Cuban Crisis.

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This is the way roast pork should taste.  It was very tender and it was marinated and cooked long enough for all the flavors to meld together perfectly.  I also really enjoyed the plantains.  They added a bit of sweetness to the dish.  The rice, however, was overcooked and mushy and there weren’t enough black beans in the dish.  At this point, I was pretty full and Loren had to finish off the last of the pork, but we couldn’t pass up dessert.

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Unfortunately, this didn’t quite live up to the expectation.  It’s a doughnut tossed in cinnamon sugar with a caramel sauce, bacon, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I think we’re used to desserts built for two and this was a single serving dessert.  Loren liked the bacon, but it just didn’t add anything worthwhile to the dish for me.  I think I would have liked it better if the bacon had been caramelized and was sweeter.  The doughnut was tasty, but compared to everything else we ate tonight, this just didn’t shine.  Total bill with a drink was $74 and worth every penny,  but for as often as we go out to eat, it is a little high for us to come back very often.

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

Marker 39 on Urbanspoon

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

It was a cool night and I wanted some comfort food so we headed out to Southern Fresh in downtown Safety Harbor.  It seems quite a few other people had the same idea tonight.  Since it wasn’t warm enough to sit outside, we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table.  It’s a bit loud inside when it’s this full, but it’s so worth it.

Loren chose the salmon salad for dinner and I got what I always get, the fried chicken.

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They don’t have a large menu, in fact, I think it’s exactly the same as the first time we came here.  They’ve chosen to do a small number of menu items, but they do them right, every time.  The salmon was perfectly cooked and seasoned.  The salad has mixed greens, capers, grilled asparagus, tomatoes and a tasty balsamic vinaigrette.   The fried chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  It’s cooked to order so it’s hot and fresh.  Real mashed potatoes and gravy plus roasted veggies round out the deliciousness.  And then, who could pass up dessert?

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There’s not a bit left on the plate when we’re done.  It’s an angel food cake with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.  Fresh and light, but oh so tasty.  Total bill with a drink was $36.  There’s a reason this place is busy.  The food, service and quality are consistent and great every time.

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

Southern Fresh on Urbanspoon

Food5/5
Service5/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value5/5
4.9/5

Fireside Table recently opened up in the location where San Sushi Grille and Bella Kozina were in Safety Harbor.  I know they just opened because the waitress mentioned it many times during the course of our meal.  Perhaps that was her way of warning us that they weren’t quite ready for the public; though, that became quite evident by the lack of quality of the food and service.   Our waitress brought over some cheddar biscuits while we were looking at the menu.  They were by far the best thing we were served here.

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They would have been better had they been warmed up, but otherwise they had a nice texture and flavor.  When I asked Loren what he was going to order, he said the roast pork and yellow rice, which I found odd since it wasn’t listed on my menu.  We asked the waitress and she checked with the kitchen and they said they did have it.  We weren’t sure if it was a new dish being added or one that was being removed.  (This should have been a warning sign).  Loren ordered it anyway with a salad as his side dish.   The waitress first brought out a Caesar salad and then had to go back to get the right salad.

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He wasn’t even halfway through the salad when she brought out the entrees.  Well, she brought my entree and brought him some other dish that he didn’t order.  She brought that back to the kitchen, so he finished his salad while I ate my chicken and dumplings with a side of mac & cheese.

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This was one big dish of mush.  It was very bland and had the same texture throughout.  There was very little chicken or dumplings; it was mostly sauce.  I’m not sure what the difference is between “fluffy cheese dumplings” and normal dumplings, but there certainly wasn’t anything outstanding about the ones in the dish.  The chicken was so overcooked and soft that you really didn’t need to chew much.  The mac & cheese was ok, but Loren did remark that it had a rather artificially looking color about it.  Eventually, his roast pork and yellow rice showed up.

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This was also one big dish of mush.  Nothing like what he expected from the menu.  It could have been any type of cooked to death meat, I would have said it was chicken, but it was flavorless and just mushy.  It had this odd watery gravy all over it that was just awful.  He ate a few bites before giving up.  One of the managers stopped by and asked how things were.  She commented on how there are so many variations of roast pork and would he like her to bring him some garlic and lime.  He declined as there was absolutely nothing that was going to help this dish.   The prices were cheap, our bill was $18 with a drink, but with this type of poor quality food, I expect there will be a different restaurant here before too long.  We certainly won’t be back.

Fireside Table
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL
727-216-6178

Fireside Table on Urbanspoon

Food1/5
Service1/5
Atmosphere1/5
Value1/5
1.0/5