We’ve eaten at the Tia’s on Fowler Ave a few times and both times that we’ve sat in the bar area, the service has been terrible. If you go in and the hostess starts to seat you to the right in the bar area, ask to be seated in the main dining room instead.
Once we finally got some menus, drinks, chips and salsa, we ordered some queso supremo, which is really the only reason I ever come here to eat.
Mind you, we waited for a very long time before our waiter brought it out. I don’t know what it is about their queso, but I just love it. It’s the combination of cheese and taco meat that’s just so yummy.
Because it took him to long to bring it, our entrees came out soon after. Loren ordered the beef fajitas.
He said they were pretty good, but it was more than enough food for him. We should have just split them. Instead, I ordered a pick three and got a chicken and beef empanada and a chicken taco.
There really wasn’t anything on this plate that was very good. The rice didn’t taste good and the refried beans were dry. The beef empanda was extremely cheesy inside, but still better than the chicken one. The taco was pretty bland. Next time, we’ll just split something and I’ll stick with the queso. Total bill was $34.
Tia’s Tex Mex
2815 E Fowler Ave
We ate dinner at Panos Kouzina tonight. They were fairly busy, with several tables coming in at one time, so service was a bit slower than usual. We ordered off their specials menu, which is a great deal. I got a Greek salad and Loren ordered a house salad.
The Greek salad had big chunks of feta on it. Unfortunately, I forgot that they put sliced onions on the salad, so I had to pick those off. The dressing was very tangy. One of my favorite things here is the bread.
Loren got the souvlaki and I ordered the eggplant parmesean.
He liked the souvlaki. He’s had it here a few times before. This was the first time I tried the eggplant and unfortunately the last. It was just too mushy. I expect a bit of crunch and texture to fried eggplant, but this just disolved in your mouth, no chewing necessary. Total bill for both dinners and a drink was $20.
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL
Had lunch at Green Market Cafe today. The Florida Wrap is one of my favorites, chicken, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and goat cheese. Yummy, yummy!
It also came with kettle chips and a free small frozen yogurt. I got the cookies and cream.
It was tasty, but the creamsicle one my friend Cathy got was even better. Lunch with a dessert was $7.50.
Green Market Cafe
3150 Tampa Road, Unit 1a
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
Our experience with Indian cuisine is less than a year old and given my aversion to very spicy food, I’m probably not the best judge of authenticity, but I do know what I like. We’ve been to a few places in the area, most recently, Laziz Indian Cuisine tonight and before that, the new place in Oldsmar, 5th Element Indian Cuisine.
I order pretty much the same thing no matter which restaurant we go to. I like the creamy, tomato based sauces. Tonight at Laziz, I ordered the butter chicken.
The dish here has a more earthy taste. I’m not sure how to explain it. The cilantro (at least I think it’s cilantro) permeates the dish more. Unfortunately, I find it detracts from the dish more than enhances it. I prefer the sauce at 5th Element. The chicken, however, was cooked better here. At 5th Element the pieces are thinly sliced and I’ve found more inedible pieces of chicken in their dish.
I like the garlic naan bread at Laziz, even though occasionally, some of the pieces are a little burnt. I found the naan bread at 5th Element to be a little more doughy and softer. It has good flavor, but I think the texture should be a little firmer.
Loren ordered the chicken saagwala at Laziz tonight. It had chicken and spinach with some spices.
He really liked it. He said you could definitely taste the spinach and even though he ordered it medium spicy, he said it wasn’t too spicy to eat. I don’t have anything to compare it to since this is a new dish for him.
Portion size is about the same. As for pricing, Laziz is more expensive. Tonight’s dinner was $34. Our last meal at 5th Element was $31, plus we had an appetizer. Where 5th Element really shines, though, is in the service. The owners are very friendly and seem happy to see you. Granted, it’s a brand new restaurant, so they’re trying to impress, but I prefer their smiles to the almost standoffish service at Laziz. 5th Element stikes me more as a family-type restaurant.
So, which would I choose? I’m leaning more toward 5th Element, mostly because I feel more comfortable there. The flavors are similar at both restaurants, but I find I enjoy the experience at 5th Element more.
Laziz Indian Cuisine
2475 N McMullen Booth Rd