The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

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.

Pasqualinos Italian
25 Everett Street
Bryson City, NC
(828) 488-9555

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  • Filed under: Dessert, Italian, NC
  • We ate dinner at Fratelli Italian Restaurant in Oldsmar tonight because we had a 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
    Oldsmar, FL

    Fratelli Italian Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon


    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
    Tampa, FL

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    Pasta Sunday

    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
    Clearwater, FL

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Italian
  • Mixed Review

    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
    Clearwater, FL

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