The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Good Flavors

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
(727) 944-3330

The Plum Tomato on Urbanspoon


On a Whim

Outback Steakhouse seems to always have a wait, but as we were driving by this afternoon on our way to another restaurant for lunch, the parking lot looked fairly empty so we made a quick U-turn and pulled in.  We were just ahead of the Sunday lunch crowd and able to get a table right away.

The bread & salad make me happy here.  There’s just a touch of spice in their ranch dressing which I like especially mixed with the cool of the cucumbers.

Loren went for one of their specials, a mixed grill with a 6 oz sirloin.

The steak was cooked very nicely and the shrimp & scallops were also pretty good.  It came with a mango salsa that he seemed to enjoy as well.  I went for my tried & true favorite here, the Alice Springs chicken.

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but it’s the honey mustard that really makes this dish for me.  The chicken was tender and the baked potato was good.  Even though I get this dish without the bacon, it’s still about a zillion calories of goodness.  No room for dessert today, so the total bill with a drink was $38.

Outback Steakhouse
31988 US Hwy 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL

Outback Steakhouse on Urbanspoon


Yummy Greek

We drove into Tarpon Springs tonight and ended up at Chloe’s Family Restaurant for dinner.  There were quite a few people in the restaurant and we quickly found out why… the food was really good.

I started off with a Greek salad which came with my entree.

It had a nice, tangy dressing on it.  Then they brought out fresh bread.

This just oozed awesomeness.  Fresh and hot out of the oven covered in a buttery garlic sauce.  It was so soft and delicious.  I’d go back just for the bread.  Loren got the Greek Keftedakia which came with a salad and fries.

The salad didn’t have any lettuce and when we asked about it, our waitress said it was called a village salad.  Who knew?  But, she was nice enough to bring out a side dish of lettuce for us non-Greeks.  The meatballs were flavorful and there was enough for leftovers.  I ordered the Greek combo plate since I like to try out lots of things when we go to a new restaurant.

It came with pastitsio, moussaka, gyro, chicken and spinach pie.  I really liked the pastitsio.  Normally, that’s what I would have ordered and I’d have been happy with a big ol’ plate of it.  It was moist with just the right Greek flavors.  The moussaka was also really flavorful & tasty.  The spinach pie was also pretty good.  Flaky with a nice filling.   I tried both the gyro & chicken and ended up taking most of it home for leftovers.   The gyro was good, but the chicken was dry.

And then as a nice surprise at the end of the meal, the waitress brought out complimentary bowls of ice cream.

A perfect finish to an awesome dinner.  Everything was fresh and homemade.  Service was really good and everyone was very friendly.  Definitely putting on our list to try again.  We’ve been having some really good luck with restaurants in Tarpon Springs lately.   Total bill with a drink was $32.

Chloe’s Family Restaurant
1722 S. Pinellas Ave
Tarpon Springs, FL

Chloe's Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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.

Bella Kouzina
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL
(727) 797–2667

Panos Kouzina on Urbanspoon


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

Johnny's Italian on Urbanspoon

  • Filed under: Clearwater, Italian