The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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We’ve eaten at Fratelli’s in Oldsmar a few times for lunch, but hadn’t been over there for dinner yet.  They had a coupon out on Restaurant.com, so it seemed like a perfect excuse to head out there for dinner.

We started off with some calamari.

It had a wonderful, light batter on it and the calamari was cooked perfectly.  I really enjoyed the tomato sauce they served with it.  It has some really nice, cooked all day flavors in it. 

Soup or salad came with our meals, so we got one of each.

The pasta fagioli had a wonderful aroma and tomato flavor, but unfortunately the homemade pasta in it had practically dissolved.  You put it in your mouth and it turned to mush. 

Loren ordered the meat ravioli. 

These were really good.  Excellent sauce, the pasta shells were fresh, and the meat filling was unique.  It was a very soft filling, but had an interesting meaty flavor to it.  I normally don’t like meat ravioli, I go for the cheese, but I’d actually order these for myself.

I went for the chicken marsala with rigatoni pasta.

The marsala sauce was very good with a hint of sweet, which I like.  The pasta was excellent.  Homemade pasta is just so different from store bought.  The texture and consistency is so much better.  Two big pieces of lightly battered chicken and there was definitely more food there than I could eat in one sitting. 

And yet, I still ordered cheesecake for dessert.

The actual cheesecake filling was creamy and yummy.  I didn’t like the crust though.  There was too much cinnamon in it and that’s all I could taste.  It was overwhelming the delicateness of the cheesecake.

Total bill after the coupon was $22 which is an amazing deal for the quality and quantity of food we ate.  Service was good, though I thought the pacing of the food was a little fast.  I don’t want a lot of time between courses, but I would prefer to be completely finished with the appetizer before salads and soups came out, and completely finished with those before the entree arrived. 

One thing I noticed tonight was the lighting in the restaurant.  It was very well lit and the lights didn’t blind you.  So many restaurants dim the lights a little too much.  It was nice to be able to actually see each other and our food. 

The quality of the food here is really amazing.  I just hope their location doesn’t hurt them.  They don’t have a very big parking lot and are located off the beaten path, but hopefully people will find them and have as great as a meal as we did.

Fratelli Italian Restaurant and Bar
120 Commerce Blvd, Ste 1
Oldsmar, FL
813-854-1717

Fratelli Italian Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value4/5
4.0/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Italian, Oldsmar
  • Taste of Peru


    We were on our way to Tampa to see the musical “9 to 5” and found a little Peruvian restaurant called Machu Picchu on Hillsborough Ave near Dale Mabry.  It’s not a very big restaurant, set up like a diner, but the folks there were very friendly.

    This being our first time trying Peruvian food, we asked the waiter what he recommended and he brought us out a mockup of their new menu which included photos of the dishes.  He said seafood was the way to go, recommending a dish resembling paella.   They also had a goat special that Loren ordered, but found out they had just run out, so he ordered another of the seafood dishes.

    We started out with some calamari.

    It was a little chewy for my taste.  It also had a piece of fried yucca on the plate which was pretty good.  Loren ordered the fried fish in a seafood bisque, Pescado a lo macho.

    It was tasty.  The batter on the fish went nicely with the sauce.  It also had calamari, shrimp and mussels.  He said he would have liked some veggies instead of all of the other seafood, but overall it was very good.  They also gave him a hot sauce that added a little kick.  I would definitely order this dish again.

    The paella dish I ordered also had shrimp, calamari, octopus and a mussel in it.  It was called arroz chaufa de Mariscos.

    There was enough on this plate for at least two people.  The flavors were very subtle, but everything was cooked perfectly. I ended up taking half of it home. 

    Total bill was $35.  The dishes were very authentic and even as they were trying to close up for the night, more customers kept coming in, which is a wonderful sign in this economy.

    Machu Picchu
    3974 W Hillsborough Ave
    Tampa, FL
    813-875-2661

    Machu Picchu on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value3/5
    3.6/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Peruvian, Tampa
  • I really do like the sushi at YoYo Sushi in Oldsmar, but every time we eat there, I feel blinded by the lights above the tables.  They either need to have some sort of diffused bulb in them or placed at a different height.  It makes an otherwise enjoyable meal, just a bit less relaxing. 

    As for the food though, it doesn’t disappoint.

    We ordered the Rainbow roll, the Jessica Roll, the Washington roll, spicy tuna tempura roll, and some salmon nigiri.  The Rainbow roll is definitely my favorite.  I find the salmon here to be some of the best around. 

    We also got the calamari tempura.

    It was very tasty, though there wasn’t much of it for the price.  The tempura batter was very good. 

    Total bill was $57.  I do find the prices here to be higher than a lot of the other sushi places around, but both the salmon and tuna have always been wonderful.

    YoYo Sushi
    300 State St E, #110
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-814-0216

    Yoyo Sushi on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value3/5
    3.3/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Oldsmar, Sushi
  • Group Lunch


    We had a department lunch over at Stone Chase today.  There were ten of us and they were able to seat and serve us pretty timely.

    We started off with some appetizers.

    The fried calamari was my favorite.  It had a nice crunch and the calamari was tender.  I would definitely order this one again.

    I actually didn’t try the lettuce wraps, but I heard other people say it was good.

    The balsamic vinegar on the tomato and mozzarella appetizer was a bit too strong in my opinion.  I think you lose a lot of the delicate flavors in the cheese and the tomato.

    Several of us had the lobster bisque.  It was very thick and creamy and had a nice overal flavor and consistency.

    I didn’t get photos of all the entrees, but several people had flat breads and one had the salmon.

    I found my meatball flatbread to be a little too dry.  The meatballs were also cut into chunks and not spread out on the flatbread very well.  I ended up taking most of it home.

    A few of us ordered milkshakes to go and that had to be the most disappointing thing of the whole meal.  I don’t know what they put in the milkshakes, but they had a very gritty texture.  It was like having sand in your mouth.  The flavors weren’t very strong either.  Otherwise, the rest of the meal seemed to go fairly well. 

    Stone Chase
    12227 W Linebaugh Ave
    Tampa, FL
    (813) 818-8000

    Stone Chase on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.3/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar, Tampa
  • We had a Restaurant.com coupon for Greektown Grille and headed over there for dinner tonight.   Loren’s son Alex moved back in temporarily and he joined us for dinner tonight.

    We started off with some calamari which came with a lemon sauce for dipping.

    The calamari was very tender.  Even the tentacle pieces were surprisingly tender.  The lemon dipping sauce didn’t really have a lot of lemon flavor and had the consistency of mayonnaise.

    I ordered the Moussaka which came with a Greek salad.

    Their Greek salad dressing was very weak and there wasn’t a lot of it on the salad.  I’m used to very flavorful Greek salad dressings and this was more like just a splash of oil and vinegar which is odd since the last time we were here the dressing was very good.

    The Moussaka had some really nice flavors in it though.  Layers of eggplant, zucchini, beef and potatoes topped with a bechemal sauce and a flavorful tomato sauce.  The lemon potatoes on the side weren’t cooked long enough, but I didn’t have room to eat them anyway.

    Alex and Loren ordered the Souvlaki and Gyro platters.

    The gyro meat was very tasty and not greasy at all.  It was probably some of the best we’ve tasted.  Plus there was enough on the plate for at least two meals.  The souvlaki pork could have been a little more tender, but otherwise it was pretty good.

    We decided to try some desserts tonight.  Loren ordered the baklava and I ordered the galaktobouriko which is a custard dessert inside phyllo dough layers.

    The baklava was very dense and chock full of walnuts.  Loren liked it. 

    I found the galaktobouriko to be inedible.  The custard had the consistency of old, overcooked jello.  It wasn’t creamy at all, just very rubbery. 

    After the $25 coupon, the bill came to $37 and we had lots of leftovers.

    Greektown Grille
    1230 Cleveland St
    Clearwater, FL
    727-447-7800

    Greektown Grille on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value4/5
    3.2/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Clearwater, Greek