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    The Restaurants at My End of the Universe Tampa Bay restaurants

Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

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
Oldsmar, FL
813-854-1717

Fratelli Italian Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service2/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
2.7/5

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
813-854-1616

Marina Pizza on Urbanspoon

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

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
727-797-2940

Johnny's Italian on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value4/5
3.9/5
  • 0 Comments
  • 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
    727-408-5189

    Jimmy Ikes Restaurant & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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

    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
    Clearwater, FL
    727-797-2940

    Johnny's Italian on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value4/5
    4.0/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Clearwater, Italian