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    The Restaurants at My End of the Universe Tampa Bay restaurants

Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

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
  • 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
    727-772-7874

    Jonny Primos on Urbanspoon

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

    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
    Dunedin, FL
    727-734-8989

    Joseph's Little Italy on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service1/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    2.8/5
  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Dunedin, Italian
  • 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. 

    Olive Garden
    29461 Us-19 N
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 787-3988

    Olive Garden on Urbanspoon

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