We had a coupon for Carrabba’s, so that’s where we headed for dinner. They were packed and it was only 5:30pm when we got there. We had hoped to beat the crowd, but ended up with a 25 minute wait. The restaurant was very loud and we were seated up against a wall that connected to a large party room which made it even that much louder where we were sitting.
We started off with the Spinach Fonduta.
This was a really tasty appetizer, but needed a few more toast points. We had quite a bit of spinach dip remaining once the 6 pieces of bread were gone. The dip was creamy and had a nice mellow flavor to it. We ended up dipping the untoasted bread from the basket to scoop up the remaining dip.
Our dinners came with soup or salad and we got one of each. The soup tonight was a lentil.
Loren enjoyed the soup. He said it had some nice savory flavors to it. For his entree, he ordered the sirloin skewers.
These were really tender. It’s not often that he’s gotten kabobs that were this good. I ordered the fettucine alfredo.
I found the cheese to be way too sharp for my tastes. Loren said it tasted more like a mac & cheese than an alfredo sauce. I prefer a very creamy, mellow sauce and this just wasn’t it for me. Total bill after the coupon was $27.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
2680 Gulf to Bay Blvd
We decided to give Bascetti’s in Dunedin another try for dinner tonight. The restaurant was empty when we got there and after our experience tonight, I can understand why. We started off with some calamari which was the best part of the meal.
The calamari was very tender with a nice crunchy coating on it. The dish also came with artichokes, that I found to be too sour for my tastes. The dipping sauce was a bit on the spicy side too. Our dinners came with bread, soup or salad and we got one of each.
The noodles in my soup were mush and it desperately needed salt. The bread was really good and the dipping sauce was tasty, but as I’ve mentioned on previous visits, I just think it would be better if it was warmed. For his entree, Loren chose the stuffed pork chop.
They gave him a very large steak knife and I don’t think he would have been able to make a dent in this pork chop without it. It was really tough. It came with a red pepper mashed potato which we had to ask about since we couldn’t identify what it was. I ordered the bolognese pappardelle.
I ordered this dish once before and had mixed feelings about, but thought I’d give it another try. The first time I had it, it had a very thin white sauce to it. The waitress said they had reformulated the recipe, but I could still get it with the white sauce. After a bite or two, I kept tasting something very sour in the dish, which I assumed was olives. It just had an odd taste to it, but Loren actually thought it was ok. When the waitress came to clear our half eaten dishes, I asked her if there were olives in my dish and she said no, but I explained that there was a sour taste to it. We also said how tough Loren’s pork chop was. She took both dishes back to the kitchen & said she tried them. She agreed that something was very wrong with both dishes & took them off the bill. She kind of scolded us for not saying something earlier in the meal. We ended up getting a slice of cheesecake to try to salvage something from the meal.
It was very creamy and had a nice raspberry filling. Loren thought the raspberry was a little too tart, but otherwise it was ok. We appreciated the way our waitress handled things, but still question how food could come out of the kitchen like that. Total bill without the entrees ended up being $18 and it’s doubtful we’ll be back.
1568 Main Street
We had a AAA coupon for Olive Garden, so that was our destination for lunch today. Luckily we just missed the Sunday lunch crowd. We started off with salad & breadsticks and one of their new appetizers, the Fried Cheese Risotto.
These were very cheesy, but the risotto inside was complete mush. Other than the outside crust, there was no texture whatsoever. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t like them, because I did, but they were more like fried cheese, than fried rice balls.
Olive Garden was having a two for $25 deal that included dessert, so Loren & I both ordered off of it. He got the Parmesan Potato Crusted chicken.
He thought it was pretty good. The chicken was tender with a nice crunchy exterior. I ordered the bucatini formaggio.
It didn’t do much for me. It was just a fairly plain bowl of pasta and I didn’t really care for the taste of the sauce. The special also came with dessert. Loren got the dark chocolate with caramel dolcini and I got the chocolate mousse cake.
These were both yummy. My mousse cake was thick and creamy and had little chocolate covered krispie balls on top that added an interesting texture. I think Loren scooped every last morsel out of his plate. Good stuff. Total bill was $27 after our coupon.
29461 Us-19 N
Johnny’s Italian Restaurant on a Friday night is a very crowded place. We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. Salads and bread started off the meal while we waited for our calamari.
The Johnny bread is one of the best things about this restaurant. The oil & garlic dipping sauce will have you warding off vampires for a week. The bread is just perfect and we ended up getting a second loaf. It’s hard to resist. Next up, calamari.
It was very tender and had a nice crunch. The dipping sauce that came with it was rather spicy with lots of red pepper flakes. I was feeling the heat for a while. Loren ordered the Tuscan Steak with Portabella Sauce.
The interesting thing was that he actually tried to order something else, but the waitress talked him out of it. I can’t remember what the other item was, but she said it didn’t have a lot of flavor and that he’d enjoy this one more. And he did. I went for the chicken marsala with a side of fettucine alfredo.
The chicken was tender and the marsala sauce had a really nice flavor to it. When they get their alfredo sauce right, it’s really good here. Tonight was one of those nights. I could have eaten an entire bowl of just that. I felt the need for chocolate tonight so we ordered the chocolate cake.
This was an incredibly rich and chocolately cake. It had thick ganache layers and just melted in your mouth. Perfect ending to a very good meal. Total bill with a drink was $45.75.
Johnny’s Italian Restaurant
2907 SR 590 #1
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