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I’d eaten lunch at Zerillo’s Italian Grill before, but this is the first time we’ve gone for dinner.  It was really crowded for a Friday night and we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table.  There were a lot of families with small children eating here tonight so the decibel levels were a bit high.

Our waiter was flaky right from the beginning.  He brought our drink order, then disappeared.  The specials board said they had stuffed mushrooms, but when we went to order them, the waiter said they didn’t have them anymore.  Same thing with the sirloin Loren tried to order.  We settled on the calamari for an appetizer.

The tomato sauce for dipping was really tasty.  Loren liked the calamari more than I did.  I found it to be a bit on the chewy side.  We both got salads with our meal and the waiter brought over some bread.

The bread was warm, which I really like, but the crust was really hard.  Instead of the sirloin they no longer have, Loren ended up ordering a filet with garlic mashed.

It was a pretty stark looking plate.  The filet was tender and he liked it, but they didn’t quite get it to medium.  I liked the mashed potatoes more than Loren did.  He thought they had been whipped too much and were pasty.  They had a lot of garlic in them too.  I ordered the chicken marsala which came with a side of pasta.

When I ordered, I asked the waiter if I could have fettucine alfredo and he said no problem.  What he neglected to mention was the $4 upcharge for it.  And the kicker?  I didn’t even eat it because it tasted overly salty to me.  It may have been the cheese they used, but either way, I just didn’t find it edible which is a shame since I’ve enjoyed it in the past.  When the waiter cleared the plates, he even asked what was wrong with it & I told him, yet they still charged me $4 for it.  The chicken marsala was pretty good.  I liked the taste of the sauce and it went well with Loren’s mashed potatoes.

There’s no reason we should have been in this restaurant as long as we were.  There were long gaps between courses and the waiter had horrible timing.  He didn’t bring out any of our dishes and failed to check on us in a reasonable amount of time after anything had gotten to the table.  Dishes weren’t cleared and we sat with empty glasses waiting on our check.  Although the list of desserts looked yummy, since he didn’t bother to ask if we wanted anything and we were so frustrated at that point, we skipped the sweets.  Total bill was $52 and I doubt we’ll be back anytime soon.

Zerillo’s Italian Grill
11653 Countryway Blvd
Tampa, FL
813-855-5178

Zerillo's Italian Grill on Urbanspoon

Food3/5
Service1/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value2/5
2.1/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Italian, Tampa
  • 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

    Blue Waves


    When we first walked in to the Portofino Mediterranean Grill in Clearwater, we were mesmerized by the walls in the dining room.  They had a textured wave pattern and then sea blue lights shining on the waves.  It was a very pleasant and peaceful decor surrounding you.

    We chose the Portofino tonight because we had a $25 Restaurant.com coupon.  It was fairly early, around 5:30pm on a Sunday when we got there and there weren’t that many people in the restaurant. 

    You can see a reflection of the walls in the bread photo:

    The bread was warm and crispy and served with an herbed olive oil.  We ordered some calamari as an appetizer.

    You can get it with a mild or spicy marinara sauce and I chose the mild.  The calamari was cooked well.  It had a nice crunchy coating and was tender inside. 

    Our salads arrived before we were finished with our appetizer.  Since we were at a small table, it made things a bit crowded.

    Loren liked the salad, but it didn’t do much for me.  It had a balsamic dressing on it that was rather tangy.  For his entree, Loren got the grouper d’capri. 

    It had capers, shallots, and tomatoes in a white wine lemon butter sauce.  You could really taste the lemon in the sauce.  It was served with potato and veggies.  Our waiter didn’t mention that he could have had it with linguine (I just looked at the menu online)  when he placed the order, but that’s one of the first things Loren said when he got it is that it would have been better over pasta.

    We had to laugh because both the butter and sour cream were solid as a rock. They must be stored in the back of the cooler.  I ordered the chicken marsala.

    I found the marsala sauce to be really weak.   When it comes to marsala, I don’t want subtle.  Loren liked it and half of it came home as leftovers since there were two chicken breasts and I only ate one.

    As more people came into the restaurant, we found the service at our table begin to dwindle.  We sat for quite a while after finishing our entrees before our waiter came back to the table to check on us. 

    We decided to try the Palermitana for dessert.

    It was strawberry gelato with tangerines, bananas, strawberries, a raspberry sauce and whipped cream plus some sprinkled nuts not mentioned in the description.  It was tasty.  The gelato had a wonderful rich strawberry flavor.   I liked the strawberries and bananas, but I didn’t think the tangerines went with the dish.  Loren seemed to like them though.

    After our $25 coupon, the total bill was $28.  Overall, it was a pretty enjoyable meal.

    Portofino Mediterranean Grill
    18825 US 19 North
    Clearwater, FL
    727-286-6234

    Portofino Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value3/5
    3.6/5

    Long Lunch


    I took my friend Cathy out for a birthday lunch today at Zerillo’s Italian Grill in Westchase.  They weren’t very busy, so we were really surprised at how long it took to get our food. 

    She got the chicken marsala and I ordered the fettucine alfredo.

    The food was very good.  The fettucine was very creamy and had a great flavor.  Total bill for the two of us was only $16.  They just need to work on getting their lunch menu out fast enough for someone with only an hour long lunch break.

    Zerillo’s Italian Grill
    11653 Countryway Blvd
    Tampa, FL
    813-855-5178

    Zerillo's Italian Grill on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value5/5
    3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Italian, Tampa
  • Had lunch at Stonechase over on Linebaugh today.  The last few times I’ve been here I’ve gotten one of the flatbreads, but decided to try something different today.

    I ordered the chicken marsala.

    Lots of food, but overly salted.  The marsala sauce was also very weak.  Based on taste alone, I would never have guessed it was supposed to be a marsala sauce.  The pasta was a little more al dente than I prefer too.  I think next time I’ll stick with the flatbread.

    This is the BBQ flatbread my friend ordered.  She seemed pretty happy with it.  But then again, it could have just been the side order of fries she had to have.  Total lunch for the two of us was $25.

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

    Stone Chase on Urbanspoon

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value2/5
    2.9/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: American, Tampa