Gio's Italian Restaurant is hidden away in the back portion of a shopping center at the corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Waters Avenue. It can be hard to find, but it's worth the search, offering well-prepared classic Italian favorites such as their wonderful Chicken Marsala. This is a family-run restaurant featuring nice bistro-style decor and a quiet atmosphere with piano music to accompany your meal on weekends. The service is great and many of the employees have been around for many years. Gio's has quietly built up a strong following so it's a good idea to make reservations, especially on weekends.
Timpano Chophouse revives and celebrates the Chicago supper club with an emphasis on martinis, Sinatra and old-school table service. The restaurant specializes in preparing a wide variety of aged, hand-cut steaks, chops, veal and house-made pastas. Some other menu favorites include their delicious flatbread pizzas, the perfectly prepared Osso Bucco, and the simply prepared mussels. Next door the Starlight Lounge serves up live entertainment daily (in keeping with the Rat Pack theme) along with a good variety of martinis and specialty cocktails. On weekends they offer brunch with era-inspired favorites like the Chairman's Eggs Benedict, and suitable offerings from the bar including a "create your own" Bloody Mary bar with all kinds of fixins.
As you would expect from a place named after a famous Italian sculptor, Bernini is going for the classical vibe. Fine art and decorative columns may fill the space, but what we're really interested in is the gourmet food. Dishes include black Angus beef, orange-glazed duck, and fresh salmon. The highlight of the menu is the authentic wood-fired flatbread pizza and the opulent martinis. You're also going to need to save room for dessert, featuring fresh spins on classic Italian favorites. Lunch is definitely more casual than dinner, which includes live jazz music. This is a great spot place to fuel up before taking on the nightlife in Ybor City.
Osteria Natalina is a casual restaurant located in a strip mall in south Tampa. As its location suggests, the restaurant is unassuming from the outside, and once inside, it's pretty unassuming there as well. But looks are not everything - and in this case, they just don't count. The authentic homemade specialties served here are rhapsodized about throughout Tampa. After being greeted warmly upon entering by the owner, Spartaco, expect to be dazzled. Dishes are reflective of the owner's birthplace, Rimini, on the Adriatic coast of Italy, and are based on his mother Natalina's recipes. Specialties also reflect the owner's birthplace with a focus on seafood and homemade pasta.
Eclectic and sophisticated describes the scene at this South Howard address. The restaurant features an intimate atmosphere with décor featuring Art Deco paintings, stained wood trim, high ceilings and an open kitchen. But what visitors really flock to are the culinary creations of Chef Robert Masson. Expect modern takes on Italian classics – for example, manicotti stuffed with lump crab, scallops and shrimp, veal scaloppini, or penne with jumbo sea scallops and pesto. In keeping with the place's cosmopolitan feel, the menu also lists a handful of Asian-inspired dishes, sesame chicken and Szechwan duck breast among them. The hip young professional crowd also appreciates the extensive wine list, martinis and creative specialty drinks.
Bella's has been a favorite of locals in South Tampa for over three decades. Featuring home-cooked flavors, everything is prepared from scratch here including their pizza dough and pasta. Diners return often to tuck into the delicious wood-fired pizzas and full menu of classic Italian favorites. Although the decor could easily seem overdone, thanks to subdued lighting and gracious details, Bella's greets guests with a relaxed charm. The open kitchen provides a hint of what's to come for inside diners, and there is also a patio with outdoor seating. Late hours and favorable prices heighten Bella's appeal with the after-clubbing crowd.
La Terrazza is a well-established Italian restaurant located in Tampa's historic Ybor Ctiy neighborhood. Popular with locals and visitors alike, this quaint eatery offers diners some of the most authentic Italian food in town at a surprising reasonable price. Small and intimate, this is the perfect spot for a romantic date, but the friendly service and welcoming atmosphere makes La Terrazza a favorite among families as well. Featuring fresh pasta and high quality ingredients, the expertly-prepared cuisine is classic Northern Italian. Wine lovers will also be impressed with the excellent, well-curated wine list.
Understated elegance and a premiere dining experience await you at this celebrated restaurant. The décor sets the stage for romance with tables set with fresh roses, crystal and china, providing a perfect lead-in for the traditional Italian cuisine. Waiters in black tie deliver perfectly prepared osso buco, linguine with lobster, and poached salmon with shrimp and asparagus. You'll also find beef carpaccio, a grilled porterhouse and pasta with scallops and calamari. The extensive wine list, populated with numerous Italian vintages, ensures that you'll have a perfect complement to the meal. Finish off your dining experience with a divine dessert of profiteroles or Grand Marnier souffle.
Pelagia's is located in the Marriott Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza Mall and is the perfect spot to fortify yourself for a long day of shopping. This beautifully decorated trattoria reflects a contemporary Milanese style and the service is impeccable. There is a spacious outdoor patio for dining al fresco. Mediterranean-influenced Italian dishes include lobster ravioli, pan-seared sea scallops with Key lime emulsion, spinach-potato gnocchi and sautéed Blue Nose bass. Although not well known in Tampa as a breakfast spot, they offer one of the most extensive breakfast menus in town as expertly prepared as their lunch and dinner options.
Armani's is an award-winning restaurant located on the 14th floor of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. This popular local eatery is best known for it's sophisticated ambiance and panoramic views enjoyed through floor to ceiling windows. For the first course, guests may choose their own appetizers from a wide range of selections available on the famous antipasti bar. Pasta dishes include both established as well as more creative offerings added by the new Chef de Cuisine, Jonathon Wilson, including a wild mushroom risotto and beer braised elk shank with cavatelli. Entrees include a nice selection of classic veal and seafood dishes including the traditional osso buco, but if you're looking for something a little different, try the delicious seared duck entree. Armani's is ideal for romantic dinners and special occasions. Reservations are suggested.