The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Pacini’s Italian Eatery recently opened up in Safety Harbor.  We drove by last Friday & they were packed, so we waited a few days and went on a Tuesday when they weren’t quite as busy.  It’s all outdoor seating, so luckily it had been an overcast day, so it wasn’t too warm.  We were seated with menus and then waited.  And waited.  Eventually, our waitress came by & took our drink orders.  And we waited some more.   In the meantime, there were other tables that got seated after us and they were getting their drinks and bread.  We eventually got our drinks, but we were never offered bread.  I really don’t like inconsistency in the way different tables are treated at a restaurant.

We ordered the calamari for an appetizer and then Loren ordered short ribs only to be told they didn’t have them as well as several other items in that section of the menu.  He settled for the beef tips and when he asked about soup (salad or soup is at an extra $2.50 charge),  our waitress said they didn’t have any soup either.  Needless to say, we weren’t impressed so far.  Then the kicker is a few minutes later the waitress comes back and says the fryer is broken so they can’t make the calamari either.  At this point, our expectations were not high for the rest of the evening.

After waiting quite a while longer, Loren’s salad arrived.

He actually liked the salad.  It was sort of a mini Greek type salad.  What we didn’t like was that the empty salad plate stayed on our table the entire time even though the waitress passed by multiple times.   The beef tips he ordered were ok.  The plate was mounded with rice and the beef tips were a bit past medium.

I decided to try one of their trios with cheese ravioli, chicken Parmesan and fettuccine Alfredo.

The fettuccine Alfredo was very creamy, but the pasta was a little over done.  The ravioli were fine, but the chicken Parmesan was overcooked and inedible.  I couldn’t even cut it with my knife.  We waited with dirty plates for another long while & someone other than our waitress came by and asked it she could take them away.  We weren’t sure if she was a manager or not, but we told her about not being able to get our appetizer or the entree Loren wanted and how tough the chicken was.  She said she’d tell the kitchen about the chicken and that was that.  Our waitress brought our check & we were done.  Knowing full well that we were dissatisfied with the meal, you would have thought they might have offered to discount the check or offered a dessert.  Oh well.  I don’t expect that we’ll be returning.   Granted it’s a new restaurant going through growing pains, but there wasn’t anything about the experience that made us feel a need to go back.  Total bill with a drink was $40.

Pacini’s Italian Eatery
997 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
727-412-8053

Pacini's Italian Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food2/5
Service1/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value2/5
1.7/5

When we were in Ozona last week, we noticed the Quirky Fork Cafe and went over there tonight with some friends.   Come to find out, they’ve been there almost a year.  They weren’t very busy for a Saturday evening.  The waitress told us the chef is the owner and she makes everything fresh, so once it runs out, that’s all there is.  Nothing frozen.  They had some specials on the board and three of us ordered from there.

We started with some pita and tzatziki sauce.

The pita was warm and tasty.  The tzatziki was ok, very sour creamy.  It needed a little more of something; cucumber, garlic, lemon, just something to cut the sour cream flavor a bit more.  Two of us ordered the flounder special.

It came with asparagus, but I asked it they had any other vegetable & they made some grilled zucchini for me instead.  The flounder was very fresh with a crab and breadcrumb coating on it and it had a side of lemon potatoes.  The flavors were good, but it needed a different texture element.  Everything on the plate was very soft.  Loren got another one of the specials.  The Lombardy chicken & pasta.

It had a gorgonzola cheese sauce and sun dried tomatoes.  The chicken was tender and it had a very gorgonzola flavor to it.  Not his favorite cheese, but the dish was very creamy and the flavors worked well together.  Our other friend went for a cheese burger.

She said it was very good and the fries were tasty too.  They also got a piece of chocolate cake to go.  Overall, it was a good experience and we’ll go back again.  The server was friendly, but drinks were empty and not filled quickly enough and when the restaurant isn’t busy, there’s just no excuse for that.

Quirky Fork Cafe
191 Orange St, Ste 403
Palm Harbor/Ozona, FL
727-400-6800

Quirky Fork Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: American, Ozona
  • We were in St Pete with friends for a show at the Mahaffey Theater and ate dinner at Gratzzi Italian Grille.  Luckily, we had made reservations because they were quite busy for a Wednesday evening at 5:30pm.  They started us out with some bread and herb infused oil, then soup or salad included in the meal.

    The bread was ok; the crust a little too crunchy for my taste, but the infused oil had some nice flavors.  The salad had a variety of different things in it.  Both the Pasta e Fagioli and Italian Wedding soups looked very similar to each other, just with a few different ingredients.

    Our friends ordered the Chicken Parmigiana and the Pappardelle Giuliana

    The chicken parm was big enough for leftovers (we’ll get to that later) and the pasta dish had scallops in a roasted red pepper sauce.  They both said the food was good, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Loren ordered the cedar planked salmon and I ordered the chicken marsala with a side of Pappardelle Alfredo.

    The salmon was nicely cooked and topped with blue crab.  Loren liked it.  The chicken marsala was tender and the sauce was good, but I’ve had more flavorful at other Italian restaurants.  The alfredo pasta was tasty, but not worth what I ended up paying for it.  (we’ll get to that later).  For dessert, we got the Lemoncello cake and our friends got the gelato.

    The cake was really good.  Very strong, tart lemon flavor to it. Now, for those things we were going to get to later.  We were busy talking and not really paying attention as we paid the bills and left the restaurant.  Come to find out, they charged me the full entree price for the side of alfredo pasta that I ordered.  The waitress also didn’t bring the leftovers back to the table that my friend had from her dinner.  Drinks weren’t always filled quickly enough and Loren’s pretty sure his glass of tea was refilled with diet soda.  Overall, the food was ok, but nothing that would make us feel the need to return. And the mistakes with the check and leftovers definitely would keep us from recommending to others.  Our half of the bill was $77, $10 more than it should have been.

    Gratzzi Italian Grille
    211 2nd Street S
    St Petersburg, FL
    727-623-9037

    Gratzzi Italian Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food3/5
    Service2/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value2/5
    2.6/5

    Back Again


    We can’t help it, we love the food at Craft Street Kitchen.  There’s always something new to try and it’s usually pretty darn tasty.  Tonight was no different.  We started off with the avocado hummus.

    I’m not usually a big fan of hummus, but this was good.  The only thing I didn’t like about it were the chunks of bell pepper.  Other than that, it was rich and creamy and had pickled radish, mandarin oranges, and a corn relish.  We ran out of crackers before we ran out of hummus.  For his entree, Loren decided to try the SS Minnow.

    It’s a mahi sandwich with a jalenpeno kraut on it.  He said it was reuben-esque and quite tasty.  I decided to try the crafty pasta.

    I’m surprised I hadn’t tried this one before.  It was creamy and peppery from the arugula in it.  It had chicken and mushrooms, tomatoes & onions in a Madeira cream.  I would definitely order it again.  We also got a red velvet lover’s sundae to go.  No photos, but it was red velvet brownie cake with strawberry ice cream, whipped cream and two chocolate covered strawberries.  So good!  Total bill with a drink was $47.

    Craft Street Kitchen and Drinks
    3153 Curlew Rd
    Oldsmar, FL
    727-314-4270

    Craft Street Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

     

    Food5/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value4/5
    4.3/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar
  • Tonight we went over to La Trattoria Da Gaetano in Dunedin for dinner.  This is one of those places that makes you feel like you’ve walked into an Italian Grandma’s kitchen.  From the pictures on the walls to the red & white checkerboard tables, it just has old world Italy written all over it.  If you’ve never been here, it’s a little odd in that they don’t have a menu.  First, they drop off bread at the table and then for the appetizers, they bring over what’s available that day.  Tonight there were artichokes, stuffed mushrooms, and cheese stuffed rollatini.  We got a couple of mushrooms and split the rollatini so we’d have room for our entrees.

    Everything’s made fresh that day.  I could have eaten a few of each and not thought twice about it.  Once you finished up your appetizers, they come around with a cart of proteins and list off all of the different ways they can cook them.  They’ll pretty much accommodate whatever you want.  Surf or turf, they have ways to cook all of it.  I come here specifically for the amaretto cream sauce with crab and pasta.

    It’s all about the sauce for me.  It has one of those flavors that makes my tastebuds sing.  The sauce is a bit on the sweet side and goes perfectly with crab and pasta.  I all but lick the bowl.  Loren went for a NY strip steak with garlic and a side of spaghetti.

    He said the steak was tender and there was plenty of garlic on top.  It’s a simple dish, done right.  We ordered the ricotta cheesecake for dessert.

    It’s not a smooth and creamy cheesecake and honestly, not one of my favorites.  It’s dense and just doesn’t have the right mouth-feel to me.  Otherwise, though, it was an enjoyable meal.  Total bill with a drink was $69.

    La Trattoria Da Gaetano
    2152 Main St
    Dunedin, FL
    (727) 733-5664

    La Trattoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Dunedin, Italian