We decided to stop at Fratelli’s Italian Restaurant for lunch today. They have an inexpensive lunch menu with a lot of different dishes from sandwiches to pastas and pizza. Both the food and service have been hit or miss here, but today everything was ok. Loren got the meatball sub with fries.
The meatballs are pretty tasty, but the fries were just ok. They really weren’t very crispy and that’s the way he likes them. I got the cheese manicotti.
It was like lava when it got to the table, so I had to munch on the bread while it cooled. The bread was very buttery and had a nice texture. It’s a dense bread which makes it great for dipping in the sauce. The two manicotti were cheesy and tasty. I wish they would add more lighting to this restaurant though. It just looks like a dark bar when you walk in. Total bill with a drink was $15.
Fratelli Italian Restaurant and Bar
120 Commerce Blvd, Ste 1
Since we figured we’d be waiting for a table no matter where we went for dinner tonight, we decided to get some Italian food at Johnny’s. Surprisingly, the wait was only about 10 minutes tonight. We got the best part of the meal out of the way first thing, the Johnny bread.
Hot & fresh out of the oven with a garlic oil dipping sauce that will have you tasting garlic for days. It’s so good. We kept going back & forth about whether to get calamari or crab cakes for an appetizer and settled on the crab cakes.
I think we’d have been better off with the calamari. Though the crab cakes were ok flavorwise, they just had no texture whatsoever. They were mushy and definitely needed a crunch on the outside. The two sauces served with them were spicy and spicier. The red pepper sauce was miserably hot.
Loren got a salad and I went for the clam chowder.
The chowder lacked seasoning tonight. A bit of salt went a long way to improving it. Loren ordered the Chicken Fra Diavlo.
He liked it. The sauce was spicy and the chicken was tender. There was easily enough for two meals in the bowl, so he had some leftovers. I went for the fettucine alfredo with mushrooms & onions. I’ve had it here before and really enjoyed it, but tonight’s version was quite inedible.
As soon as the waitress put it on the table, I knew there was a problem. It wasn’t creamy. The alfredo sauce had completely separated. It was a bowl of pasta in oil basically. She took the bowl back to the kitchen & added some additional alfredo sauce to it, but the damage was already done.
I get that alfredo sauce separates when it’s reheated, but it should be able to stay together through the first serving. They did take it off our bill which ended up being $27. This was sadly an off night for one of our favorite Italian restaurants.
Johnny’s Italian Restaurant
2907 SR 590 #1
Leo’s Italian Grill opened up 3 weeks ago in Palm Harbor so that was our destination for lunch today. It’s a huge space with a patio, banquet room, and large bar area. We were seated in a booth that seemed rather awkward to me. The table was too long for us to sit opposite each other, so we sat in the middle & looked out at the other diners in the restaurant. The experience didn’t get off to a good start when the waitress brought Loren sweet tea instead of unsweetened and just went downhill from there.
Both our entrees came with soup or salad. Loren chose the wedding soup & I got the pasta fagioli.
Both were desperately underseasoned. A little salt can go a long way. This was the theme of the meal though, it was all very bland. I certainly prefer non-chain restaurants, but I compared everything I ate to that at Olive Garden and the chain definitely wins out this time. The bread sticks were really tough and thick.
Even the dipping oil was lackluster. I also noticed a definite lack of consistency in how the waitresses handled their tables. When another waitress brought out the bread & oil, she explained what was in it. When another table said the bread was hard, she brought them out a different basket. When ours went to clear some plates, she asked if she could take the bread basket & I said yes because it was hard. Her answer was oh, well, sometimes they just come out that way.
We tried the calamari.
It had a very thick coating of batter on it, so they were very crunchy and also in need of some seasoning. The marinara sauce had an undercooked taste to it. It was almost a metallic taste from the tomatoes not being allowed to simmer long enough.
For his entree, Loren got the chicken piccata.
Now, this is a dish he gets at a lot of restaurants and the key flavor you expect to taste is lemon. It was non-existent in this dish. In fact, the sauce tasted like eggs & butter. He did say the chicken was very tender though. I went for the eggplant rollatini.
I’m not sure how to describe the taste on this. It had a lot of mozzarella which I guess ended up being the predominate flavor. The eggplant was very mushy and the ricotta also tasted like eggs. There just weren’t any Italian spices or even salt & pepper to give it any flavor whatsoever. I ate half of one. Needless to say, this isn’t a restaurant we’ll be returning to. I’d choose Olive Garden over this any day. It was a very disappointing $29 lunch in both food and service.
Leo’s Italian Grill
33286 US Hwy 19 North
Palm Harbor, FL
We drove up to Tarpon Springs tonight to have dinner at The Plum Tomato. It’s a little Italian restaurant and though our first impression wasn’t great, the food made up for it. When we walked in the door, we weren’t greeted by anyone. Waitresses walked by and no one acknowledged us and then an older gentleman (I’m guessing the owner) sort of looked at us, but I honestly couldn’t tell if he was a customer or worked there. He eventually came all the way over to us & directed us to a table being cleared.
They started us off with some homemade bread.
The bread was warm and tasty. Would have been nice to have a plate of oil & herbs to dip it in. It was gone in a few minutes though. Our entrees came with soup or salad and we both chose the clam chowder.
It was really creamy and had some rich flavors to it. Very, very tasty and had a nice assortment of ingredients that weren’t mushy and a good depth of flavor. We also decided to try the calamari.
It was good, but not great. Loren liked it more than I did. It was a little on the chewy side, mostly because the pieces were very thin, but the breading was flavorful and the marinara sauce was very good.
Loren got the chicken mediterranean which was chicken & eggplant in a lemony sauce which also came with a side of pasta.
Eggplant is not the easiest thing to get right and they did a really good job with it here. It still had texture and the flavors blended together very well. The chicken was tender and the sauce was good. He even ended up with some leftovers.
I ordered the pasta bolognese based on another review I had read.
I swear there was a pound of pasta in this bowl. I absolutely had leftovers. The sauce was slow cooked and you could really taste the deep flavor of the wine that only comes from letting the sauce simmer for hours. Really tasty.
I also had to get a cannoli to go.
It was pretty good. One of the better ones I’ve had lately. I think for to-go orders though, any toppings should be put in a separate container on the side, otherwise the shell gets soggy. Honestly, it didn’t even need the chocolate sauce & chocolate chips.
Overall, the food was really good. We sat in the booth furthest to the back, so we heard & saw a lot of the service delays. The were busy tonight and we could hear the upset customers waiting on late pizza deliveries as well as the wait staff going back & forth with the kitchen on orders. We had both a waitress & waiter that tended to our table and they were really good, but where we were sitting, I felt a definite tension in the overall air. It also didn’t help that the guy I’m assuming is the owner, sort of hung out at the back of the restaurant where we were and it felt awkward. Total bill with a drink was $43.
The Plum Tomato
1988 Pinellas Ave S
Tarpon Springs, FL
The last couple of new restaurants we visited were really good, but our luck ran out when we went to the Lombardi Cafe today.
The place was empty for Sunday lunch. Just one other table with a bunch of annoying children. It’s an Italian restaurant with pasta dishes, pizza and sandwiches, but it’s sort of set up like a sports bar with a bunch of TV’s all tuned to sports channels. Plus there was a DJ set up in one corner & a disco ball on the ceiling, so I’m not totally sure what the overall vibe of the place is supposed to be.
But, on to the food. We started off with some calamari.
It had a decent crunch, but was a bit chewy and definitely underseasoned. The sauce was really thin and watery. The flavor was ok, but it just dripped off the calamari. Loren got an Italian sub with potato salad.
It was huge. Definitely enough for two meals and he liked it. I, on the otherhand, ordered a Philly cheesesteak and ended up sending it back.
I’m not sure how to describe what it was that I didn’t like about the sub. The first thing I did was just pick a piece of meat off and tasted it and immediately didn’t like the flavor. I don’t know if it was herbs blended with it or what, but it just didn’t taste right to me. I tried a couple more bites, but just couldn’t get past the odd flavor. Loren tried it and didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with it, but it wasn’t something I was going to eat. I also didn’t like how crusty the bread was. The waiter saw I wasn’t eating it and offered to bring me something else, so I went for a simple ham & cheese.
It was ok, nothing to write home about, but at least it was edible. I wasn’t a fan of the bread they used here. It was just too thick and hard to eat. I also didn’t like the potato salad. It was too sweet and very generic. Definitely not homemade.
I also got a dessert to go since I figured it wasn’t likely we’d be coming back to eat again.
Believe it or not, there’s a cannoli in there somewhere. Talk about overdoing it. I’m of the mind that you should be able to eat a cannoli with your hands. There was so much extra filling, whipped cream & chocolate sauce ladled on top of it that you had to eat it with a fork. The overall flavor was ok, but it was way too messy. Total bill with a drink was $32.
34210 US 19
Palm Harbor, FL
We decided to try Umberto’s of Long Island in Dunedin for dinner tonight. It looked like a cozy little Italian restaurant. We sat in the back, which was rather dark, so the photos are a bit washed out. We started off with some salad.
If you’re only going to have one salad dressing, it should at least taste like more than oil & vinegar. Mine actually tasted like just vinegar. We tried the calamari.
The texture and crunch were there, but it was completely underseasoned. A little salt & pepper went a long way to improve this dish. The sauce was ok, but didn’t taste like a long simmering sauce by any means.
Loren tried the Chicken Maximo for his entree.
There was a definite lack of fresh ingredients in this dish. Both the asparagus & mushrooms were out of a can and absolutely tasted like it. The entire dish was also underseasoned. I went for the chicken marsala with penne pasta.
Mine suffered the same lack of seasoning and there really wasn’t a lot of marsala sauce on the dish. The chicken was very plain and the lack of an actual steak knife made cutting it more difficult. I’m also not a big fan of canned mushrooms.
As for the service, our waitress was very nice, but unlike the other waitress in the dining area, she didn’t offer us bread or ask if we wanted dessert. For what we got, the meals were overpriced. Total bill with an undrinkable iced tea was $45.
Do you ever watch “Restaurant Impossible”? All during our meal, I could hear Robert Irvine in my head talking about how fresh ingredients and a bit of seasoning would really help the food.
Umberto’s of Long Island
150 Patricia Ave
Panos Kouzina has changed owners and they’ve renamed it Bella Kouzina. It looks the same inside and the menus haven’t been changed yet, but there was definitely a difference in the food.
We both decided on the clam chowder to go with our entrees.
The chowder was pretty good. Not quite as creamy as other places, but it had a good flavor to it. The bread was tasty. I seem to remember it being a lot more garlicy here before though. For his entree, Loren got the Pork Medallions.
He said the pork were very tender and tasty. The dish was served with rice, but he sort of wished it was served with a vegetable as well to round out the meal. I ordered the chicken marsala with a side of fettucine alfredo.
My plate was very plain looking. The marsala sauce was very thin and looked like chicken stock, though it absolutely tasted like marsala. It had a nice sweet flavor, though I’d just never seem a marsala dish that looked that color before. (Here’s a photo of the last time I ordered it) The chicken was ok, though, very plain. It didn’t even have any sort of breading on it whatsoever. They also hit on a pet peeve of mine by not giving us steak knives to cut our food. I’m sorry, but butter knives just don’t cut it, literally.
Surprisingly, Loren liked the taste of the fettucine alfredo more than I did. There was just something off about it. I don’t know if it was the type of cheese in it or if they added some additional herbs. All I know is that it just didn’t do it for me.
Unfortunately, our waitress ignored our table quite a bit. We were done eating long before she ever stopped by again. And once she brought us boxes for our leftovers, she disappeared again. The owner ended up clearing the dishes off our table. We didn’t even get asked if we wanted dessert. Total bill was $30 with a drink.
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL
We ate dinner at La Trattoria in Dunedin tonight and every time we eat here, I wonder why we don’t do it more often. If you haven’t been there before, it can be a little bit overwhelming at first. There are no menus so you don’t know what anything costs. The owner comes to your table and rattles off appetizer options to you with a very thick Italian accent. Everything sounds delicious, but you have to draw the line somewhere, so we settled on some lobster bisque and an eggplant rollitini. But first, some bread & pizza squares.
Both are tasty, but you have to save room for the lobster bisque.
I have never had lobster bisque with such big chunks of perfectly cooked lobster in it. This was absolutely amazing. It was creamy and had a lovely flavor to it. The eggplant rollitini was tasty too.
We just got one to split. It was filled with ricotta with a nice tomato sauce on top. Once the appetizers are done, the owner comes by with a cart of proteins and goes through a long list of ways he can prepare them for you. There’s seafood, steak, veal, and pork and every preparation he mentions sounds better than the last one. I come here for one dish that is like nirvana to me. It’s penne pasta with crab in a pink amaretto cream sauce.
From the first bite to the last, I’m making giddy “Mmmmm, Mmmmm” noises. There are just some flavors that sing to me and this dish tops them all. It’s very sweet, so Loren doesn’t like it, but it was all I could do to not lick the plate clean. There are large chunks of crab in it and the pasta was cooked just right. I’m salivating just thinking about it again.
Loren went for the NY Strip prepared pizziola style which also came with a side of pasta.
Yes, those are large chunks of garlic in the sauce. The steak was a little overcooked on the ends, but the center was a perfect medium. Considering how thick it was, I was amazed at how well it came out. He did have to add a little salt to it, but otherwise, he enjoyed it. In fact, he ended up taking half of it home because it was so big. We didn’t have any room for dessert tonight; we were both stuffed and with very happy taste buds.
This is definitely not one of those restaurants you want to go to if you’re in a hurry. Service was pretty slow, especially when we were waiting for our check. One of the funniest things about the experience was that the owner always addressed me, “Senora, what would you like?, Senora, how was everything?”, but when it came time for the check, he very pointedly put it in front of Loren. Total bill with an iced tea was $66. Well worth it in my book as it was one of the tastiest meals I’ve had all year.
2152 Main St
I’d eaten lunch at Zerillo’s Italian Grill before, but this is the first time we’ve gone for dinner. It was really crowded for a Friday night and we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. There were a lot of families with small children eating here tonight so the decibel levels were a bit high.
Our waiter was flaky right from the beginning. He brought our drink order, then disappeared. The specials board said they had stuffed mushrooms, but when we went to order them, the waiter said they didn’t have them anymore. Same thing with the sirloin Loren tried to order. We settled on the calamari for an appetizer.
The tomato sauce for dipping was really tasty. Loren liked the calamari more than I did. I found it to be a bit on the chewy side. We both got salads with our meal and the waiter brought over some bread.
The bread was warm, which I really like, but the crust was really hard. Instead of the sirloin they no longer have, Loren ended up ordering a filet with garlic mashed.
It was a pretty stark looking plate. The filet was tender and he liked it, but they didn’t quite get it to medium. I liked the mashed potatoes more than Loren did. He thought they had been whipped too much and were pasty. They had a lot of garlic in them too. I ordered the chicken marsala which came with a side of pasta.
When I ordered, I asked the waiter if I could have fettucine alfredo and he said no problem. What he neglected to mention was the $4 upcharge for it. And the kicker? I didn’t even eat it because it tasted overly salty to me. It may have been the cheese they used, but either way, I just didn’t find it edible which is a shame since I’ve enjoyed it in the past. When the waiter cleared the plates, he even asked what was wrong with it & I told him, yet they still charged me $4 for it. The chicken marsala was pretty good. I liked the taste of the sauce and it went well with Loren’s mashed potatoes.
There’s no reason we should have been in this restaurant as long as we were. There were long gaps between courses and the waiter had horrible timing. He didn’t bring out any of our dishes and failed to check on us in a reasonable amount of time after anything had gotten to the table. Dishes weren’t cleared and we sat with empty glasses waiting on our check. Although the list of desserts looked yummy, since he didn’t bother to ask if we wanted anything and we were so frustrated at that point, we skipped the sweets. Total bill was $52 and I doubt we’ll be back anytime soon.
Zerillo’s Italian Grill
11653 Countryway Blvd
We ate dinner at Panos Kouzina tonight and found out the restaurant has been sold to the guy who used to own Alberto’s in Oldsmar. Tonight was the original owner Nick’s last night in the restaurant. He came over and chatted with us for a while when he noticed me taking photos and said he’d been reading my blog.
Tonight we tried the Mediterranean hand tossed pizza.
It was really good with a very fresh taste to it. It had chicken, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, feta, and garlic. I’m usually a fan of a deep dish crust pizza, but I enjoyed the hand tossed crust on this one. The last time we had pizza here we both got personal pizzas and the crust seemed a lot thinner on that one.
Since we’re not sure what’s going to change with the new owner, I figured I better get a piece of the chocolate cake while it’s still there.
It’s got the fudgey goodness. It’s such a thick, rich yummy chocolate cake. Total bill was $23. The name of the restaurant will likely change in the next few months so we’ll have to go back and check it out under the new owner.
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL
We stopped in Bryson City for dinner tonight at Pasqualinos Italian Restaurant. Unfortunately, out of all the places we ate on vacation, this one ended up being at the bottom of the list. From start to finish, service and flavor were lacking.
The restaurant was understaffed and the waiter we had was clueless. He was completely overwhelmed with the number of tables he had and other people working in the restaurant did more for our table and other tables of his, than he did.
Once we finally got our order placed, they brought some bread to the table.
The bread sticks were ok, but the dipping sauce had way too much balsamic vinegar in it for my taste. Our dinners came with soup or salad, so we got one of each.
The pasta fagioli was like mush with no flavor whatsoever. I never put salt on my food and this needed it desparately. It was so bland and a foreshadow of everything else to come.
Loren ordered the ribeye for his entree. They actually had another steak special tonight but we didn’t know about it until we heard our waiter tell another table.
The steak was cooked well, but again lacked any seasoning whatsoever. Same with the marinara sauce. It tasted like tart tomatoes with no spices at all. A sauce has to cook for a lot longer in order to mellow that tartness. I ordered the fettucine alfredo.
The sauce was creamy, but again lacked in flavor. The alfredo sauce at Olive Garden is much better. Despite my better judgment, I ordered a piece of French Silk pie to go.
It would have been much better without the Hershey’s syrup drenching it. I couldn’t even taste the pie. Total bill with a drink was $41. This is not a place we’d recommend.
25 Everett Street
Bryson City, NC
We ate dinner at Fratelli Italian Restaurant in Oldsmar tonight because we had a Restaurant.com coupon. The restaurant was pretty busy. We hadn’t been back in a while and unfortunately this time, we didn’t find the food to be as good as it had been in the past.
Our waitress seemed a bit scattered. She came to get our drink order, but forgot to leave us menus and had to come back to the table after we ordered to verify some things.
We started off with the stuffed mushrooms.
They had a sausage stuffing and were covered in mozzarella cheese. They were rather dense and had no depth of flavor. We’ve had stuffed mushrooms at other places where we fight over the last one, but that wasn’t the case here.
Our entrees came with soup or salad, so Loren got the salad and I got a cup of the pasta fagioli.
The pasta is always overcooked in their pasta fagioli. It’s like mush. The soup itself has some good flavors, but the texture isn’t quite right. The garlic bread was ok.
Our entrees showed up before either of us had finished our soup and salad. I hate it when a restaurant doesn’t get timing right. Loren ordered the chicken francese for his entree. It came with pasta and had a lemon wine sauce.
This is where the lack of seasoning became very apparent. You could taste lemon, but that was about it. It desparately needed some salt and pepper. It was a fairly big portion though and we ended up with leftovers of both our entrees. I ordered the chicken marsala because I really liked it the last time I had it here.
This was not the same recipe I had last time. The sauce in this dish wasn’t thickened at all. It was watery and lacked seasoning. I was very disappointed as I remembered how tasty it was the last time. We also got a piece of cheesecake to go.
It was creamy, but really not anything to write home about. The whole experience was just a bit disappointing. Between lackluster service and under seasoned food, it just didn’t leave either of us with the desire to come back anytime soon. Total bill after the $25 coupon and included tip was $24.
Fratelli Italian Restaurant and Bar
120 Commerce Blvd, Ste 1
Went to Marinas’s for lunch today. Loren was craving an Italian sub and I just can’t help but get a cheesesteak here.
Actually, the cheesesteak was on special today with fries. They just make an ooey gooey yummy cheesesteak here. The bread is soft with a little crunch on the outside. So good. Total bill with a drink was $15.
Marina’s Pizza and Pasta
12121 W Linebaugh Ave
We’ve figured out the right time to eat at Johnny’s Italian Restaurant in Clearwater - mid-afternoon on a Sunday. The restaurant was pretty empty and the early bird menu has just the right portions and prices.
The Johnny bread is still the highlight of the experience and we ended up getting two loaves. It’s just too hard to stop at one. We both went for the New England clam chowder instead of salad today too.
Loren got the chicken piccata which came with fettucine alfredo.
The chicken was tender with a tasty lemon/caper sauce. He had way too much fettucine for his tastes, so I ended up taking it home with the rest of mine since that’s what I ordered for dinner.
They make a pretty good alfredo sauce here and there was more than enough for two meals on the plate. It was rich and creamy and definitely satisfied my pasta cravings. Total bill with a drink was $23.
Johnny’s Italian Restaurant
2907 SR 590 #1
We ate dinner at Jimmy Ike’s Restaurant & Pizzeria tonight. It’s on SR 580 just past Countryside Mall. We both had things we liked and disliked about this experience and feel that a few tweaks would really make a difference.
Loren’s first complaint was that his iced tea was a little on the bitter side. Not undrinkable, but just not quite where it should have been. We ordered calamari for an appetizer.
The restaurant wasn’t all that busy, so we were surprised at how long it took for it to come out of the kitchen. The calamari was very tender; however, the breading had very little flavor and wasn’t crispy at all. It definitely needed both salt and lemon added to it. Although the dipping tomato sauce that came with it was flavorful, it was very thin so it didn’t adhere to the food and you dripped it on the table all the way to your mouth.
Our entrees came with soup or salad and we got one of each. Loren got the mini Greek salad.
He had to take about half the cheese off the salad. It was buried in feta. The Greek dressing was pretty good. I ordered the mushroom bisque soup which came with a roll.
The soup was the best thing I ate all night. I even joked that I should just stop there because I’ve been disappointed by entrees before. It was very creamy and had a wonderful delicate flavor to it. I really enjoyed it. The roll was a little dense, but it was warm and tasty.
Loren ordered the chicken souvlaki which came with fries and pita bread.
This was a huge plate of food and he ended up with leftovers. The chicken was very tender and he said it was peppery. A little heavy on the feta again too. Though he liked the fries, he said they were cut a bit too long and they weren’t crispy, so you almost had to eat them with a knife and fork. They were too floppy to just pick up with your fingers. He thought the dish would have been better if it had came with some tzatziki sauce as well.
I ordered the pastitsio.
I knew before I even tasted it that it was going to be dry. The splatters of grease on the plate didn’t give me confidence at all that this would be a dish I liked. It did have some good flavors to it, but the overall dish was just too dense and dry to eat. I told the waitress it was dry and asked for a side of tomato sauce. She was very apologetic and brought me the sauce and took the entree off our check. Unfortunately, the sauce didn’t really fix the dish. I don’t know how to describe it, but when I combined the sauce with the dish, I got a spiciness in my mouth that I just didn’t like.
Our waitress was very nice, but at one point she took away my drink to refill it and forgot to bring it back. She also comped us a dessert and we got the Baklava cheesecake to go.
It was really good. Very creamy with pieces of baklava in it. Loren thought it could have used a little drizzle of honey over the top. Total bill after my entree was removed was $24.
I’m not sure why, but even after all the things that weren’t right about this meal, I think we’d go back again. I wouldn’t order the pastitsio, but I’d give this place another try. I don’t know if it’s because they tried to make things right or that with just a few tweaks, the food had real promise.
Jimmy Ikes Restaurant & Pizzeria
2340 State Road 580 (Main Street) Unit H
We both like Johnny’s Italian Restaurant in Clearwater, but they’re usually so crowded that we don’t eat there very often. Today, we managed to get there after the lunch crowd, but before the dinner crowd, so the restaurant wasn’t very busy at all.
Bring on the Johnny bread.
I think this is one of the only restaurants where Loren eats almost as much bread as I do. It’s got that perfect crust, texture and flavor and their dipping oil is beyond garlicy. We ended up asking for a second loaf.
Loren got a salad and I got the New England Clam Chowder.
The soup was ok, but not the best chowder I’ve ever had. For his entree, Loren ordered the Special Calzone which had a little bit of everything inside.
He liked it and it was way bigger than he could eat in one sitting, so half came home for leftovers. I got the chicken marsala which came with a side of fettucine alfredo.
This was also too much food for me (ok, maybe we shouldn’t have gotten that second loaf of bread). I really like their fettucine alfredo. The chicken was tender and the marsala sauce had a decent flavor, though I would have liked more of it on the plate. Since we were able to order off the early bird menu, the total bill with a drink was only $24 and we both had leftovers. We’ll just have to remember Sunday afternoons around 3pm is the perfect time to come by.
Johnny’s Italian Restaurant
2907 SR 590 #1
We ate dinner at Jonny Primo’s tonight. They weren’t very busy for a Friday night even though the parking lot looked full. We started off with some bread while we looked over the menu.
They make some really awesome bread here. It’s warm and soft with just enough crunch on the crust, and the dipping oil was very flavorful. Loren ordered the same thing he always gets here, the Giobotto.
This is one of those dishes that has everything you can think of in it. A huge pile of pasta, plus steak, sausage, chicken and veggies. There’s always enough leftovers for at least 2 more meals.
I decided to try something different tonight, the Italian trio.
It had chicken parm, lasagne and cheese ravioli. I have to say, it’s not a dish I’d order again. The chicken wasn’t very tender. I ended up not eating much of it. The lasagne had a lot of sausage in it, so that was the overwhelming flavor. I did like the cheese ravioli though. They were in alfredo sauce which was a nice change.
There was something about our waiter that I just didn’t like. Loren called him insincere and I think that’s the right word to describe him. It was as if our being there in his section was an inconvenience for him. Even when I asked what they had for dessert, he just flippantly pointed to the dessert menu which was on the back of a placard on the table instead of telling me what they had. His whole attitude just turned us off. Total dinner with a drink was $36.
Jonny Primo’s Italian Grill
33180 US 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL
Joseph’s Little Italy in Dunedin has changed their name to Julian’s Little Italy. Looks like the exact same place and staff. We went in with our Restaurant.com coupon and needed to spend $40 to get the $25 off.
The restaurant was fairly busy for a Sunday night, but we should have known something was wrong when our waitress didn’t even come take our drink orders until we’d been sitting there for almost 15 minutes. The service only got worse from there.
This was a long night of waiting. Our waitress would disappear completely from the dining room and when she would come out, she’d either walk right by our table or would be completely inefficient in what she would bring out at any given time.
We started off with the meatball appetizer.
Flavor-wise, it was pretty good, but texture-wise, the outside was tough. They were definitely overcooked. Loren ordered a dinner which came with house salad, three bean appetizer and soup.
He really liked the dressing on the salad and even though he thought he didn’t want the three bean appetizer, he liked it so much that he scarfed the entire thing. The garlic bread brought to the table was pretty good, except for the burnt pieces hiding at the bottom.
After he finished his salad, we waited and waited for our soup to come out. His drink glass was empty at this point at well.
Our waitress brought my bowl of soup out, but not Loren’s. She also said she’d refill his drink, but then disappeared again.
The pasta fagioli was really good. I didn’t realize I had ordered a bowl instead of a cup of soup, so I ended up with some leftovers. It had good flavors and the veggies and pasta weren’t mushy, which was nice. There were also pieces of sausage in it.
Eventually, Loren’s soup and another drink came out.
His was a minestrone soup that had a lot of potatoes in it. Again, nice flavors overall.
As we waited for our entrees, several other parties came into the restaurant and to our amazement, the host kept seating them in our waitress’ area. I was stunned. There was another waiter working and he spent the majority of his time clearing the table of a big party of his that just left. I wanted to warn the new patrons to not expect much in the way of service, but I bit my tongue. Instead we watched them get ignored as much as we had been.
Our entrees finally arrived and they were both lukewarm. The mushrooms on mine were actually cold. They had obviously been sitting in the kitchen for sometime before our waitress brought them out. So disappointing. Again, the flavors were pretty good, but I took the majority of it home so I could at least microwave it to a normal temperature.
I ordered the chicken marsala and Loren ordered the chicken with artichokes. Both came with a side of spaghetti.
And then to top things off, when I asked for some boxes, our waitress walked off with my water glass. Who does that? I went to get a drink while we waited for her to bring our check and I realized it was gone.
When we went to pay, the host asked us how our dinner was and we told him how bad she was as a waitress. He was completely unaware. I told him the other patrons in her area were already deeply disappointed as one couple had been sitting there for a good 15 minutes and she had yet to stop by their table.
Total bill after the coupon was $27. Unfortunately, the Restaurant.com coupons include an automatic tip for the wait staff, because otherwise, we wouldn’t have left her a dime.
Julian’s Little Italy
916-A Patricia Ave
Loren said he wanted a salad for dinner so I suggested Olive Garden. We haven’t eaten there in a long time. Being Superbowl Sunday it wasn’t very crowded, yet the service was a bit slow.
We started off with salad and breadsticks.
Normally, I scarf an entire basket of breadsticks, but these weren’t all that fresh. The salad was good though. I really like the dressing they use.
Loren got the stuffed chicken marsala.
The chicken was tender and the sauce was tasty, especially over mashed potatoes. He managed to stop himself from eating the whole thing and took some home for leftovers. (he knew I was planning on ordering dessert).
I got the same thing I always get at Olive Garden, the fettucine alfredo.
They make a nice alfredo sauce here, but they need to put more on the plate. The dish gets dry after a while, but it’s still my favorite thing on the menu.
And for dessert, I just couldn’t pass up the dolcini.
Three little dessert cups of yummy goodness. We got the chocolate mousse, the dark chocolate with caramel, and the strawberry & white chocolate. They were all really delicious. The chocolate mousse was my favorite, but the strawberry one ran a close second. The nice thing about them is that they were all fairly light, which was perfect after such a heavy meal. Plus the different flavors were wonderful. Total bill with a drink was $39.
29461 Us-19 N
Went to Fratelli’s for lunch today, well sort of. We sat down, we ordered, we waited, we waited, and we waited. We finally flagged down our waitress to find out where our food was and she said it takes a while for the lasagne. Yeah, not 50 minutes. She decided to check the kitchen only to find out that she never put our order in. Given that we only had an hour for lunch, we were pretty frustrated and hungry at this point.
She said they could get it out quickly and we decided to just take it back to work with us. The owner took one of the meals off our bill, but we still ended up waiting another 15 minutes before the food came out. And even though the waitress kept saying it’d be worth the wait, it wasn’t. My friend Cathy got the lasagne and I had the stuffed shells and there was nothing that was going to make it worth an hour wait.
I’m usually very happy with this restaurant, but the service today was inexcusable.
Fratelli Italian Restaurant and Bar
120 Commerce Blvd, Ste 1