Where to go for Tasty Italian Cuisine



Italians take their food very seriously and their main meal - "il pranzo" - is taken at lunch time. It begins with antipasti, followed by "il primo," consisting of pasta or minestrone, and is followed by "il secondo," or main course, consisting of meat or fish. Dessert and fruit are next, and finally, of course, there's coffee.

While US diners may not opt for all of these courses, there's no doubt that the love of Italian cuisine is alive and well on these shores - especially in the many bistros, trattorias and restaurants you'll find in this area.

Some are old, some are new but there are some you shouldn't miss, such as Pia's Trattoria, where you'll not only get delicious fare, you'll be treated to ambiance too. Gigi's Italian Restaurant on St Pete Beach offers no frills, but it showcases truly tasty cuisine.

For an exceptional experience, along with a delicious "shop op," be sure to visit Mazarro's Italian Market where you can spend hours poring over the tasty fresh food, baked goods, wines, olive oil and much more - before settling down for a nice lunch on their pretty patio.

Villa Gallace and Alfano's lead the list of "old" favorites,  but don't overlook newcomers Sea Guini and Il Ritorno.

Buon appetito! 


Mazzaro’s Italian Market
Photo courtesy of Mazzaro's Italian Market


Imagine a place where you can explore aisles lined with fine cheeses, crusty, brick-oven-baked breads, wines, finely roasted coffees and select fresh seafood, meats and handmade pastas. You'll find this - and more - at this family-style market....  Read More


9
St. Petersburg
BellaBrava
Photo courtesy of Bella Brava


If burgers with a Tuscan twist, savory antipasti, pizzas and pasta - combined with a view of Tampa Bay appeal to you, then you've come to the right place. Pizzas, flatbreads and calzones cooked in a Woodstone oven, European- style outdoor...  Read More


8
Clearwater Beach
Sea Guini
Photo courtesy of Opal Sands Resort


The recently opened Opal Sands Resort is home to Sea-Guini, the sea-inspired in-house restaurant offering Italian-influenced cuisine along with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Both lunch and dinner menus feature savory selections starting...  Read More


Palm Court Italian Grill
Photo courtesy of Palm Court Italian Grill


Located in the Island Grand Resort, this intimate bistro is a favorite, not only for of its fine food but because of its location inside one of the area's premier resorts. Consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants on St Pete Beach, the...  Read More


6
St. Petersburg
Il Ritorno
Photo courtesy of Il Ritorno

Conveniently located in downtown St Petersburg just steps from some of the city's stellar attractions, Il Ritorno has been offering discerning foodies a new twist to Italian fare since 2014. The food is not only delicious, it's pleasing to the...  Read More


5
Clearwater


Since 1984 this cozy bistro has been pleasing clients with classic Italian cuisine. The family-owned restaurant boasts a wide range of dishes, sure to satisfy every craving. The lunch and dinner menus offer options ranging from basics such as...  Read More


4
Indian Rocks Beach
Villa Gallace
Photo courtesy of Villa Gallace

Known as one of Tampa Bay area's premier Italian restaurants this gem is the brainchild of Pompeo Gallace, who came to the US from Calabria, Italy in 1952. Ample menu offerings showcase the best of Italian cucina, with pasta dishes such as...  Read More


3
St. Petersburg
Gratzzi's Ristorante


Classic Italian fare in an elegant atmosphere defines this St Petersburg favorite. Lunch and dinner specials are made with fresh ingredients, crafting Old World Italian flavor into modern-day favorites, courtesy of Italian-born Chef Tony....  Read More


Gigi's Italian Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Gig's Italian Restaurant


What began as a love story between 18-year-old Dorothy Pearl Simpson and Vergil Newberne in Haira, Georgia, culminated in the opening - on Dec.1, 1967, of the first Gigi's in Florida in the Pasadena Shopping Center. Since then, the Newberne...  Read More


Pia's Trattoria
Photo courtesy of Pia's Trattoria


Set in an Italian-village-like ambiance in charming Gulfport, Pia's lends new meaning to the meaning of Old World charm meets la dolce vita. Freshly made salads, delicious paninis, and a wide array of robust pasta choices draped in savory...  Read More


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Meet Michelle da Silva Richmond

Michelle da Silva Richmond is an award-winning travel editor and member of the Society of American Travel Writers and other journalism organizations. 

She has written hundreds of articles...  More About Michelle

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