Today’s Groupon telewarps you into the bustling center of an Italian city located in an Italian airplane: for $10, you get $25 worth of Italian cuisine and drinks at this double-decker ristorante. Choose to sit on the first-floor Piazza for a more casual dining experience. It’s a large open space with multiple tables orbiting the central white fountain like bees around Jupiter. Sit on the top floor to see a gull’s-eye view of the feeding frenzy below. This could be considered the upscale section of the restaurant. The menus are the same no matter where you sit—only the views and atmospheric pressure vary.Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
The multitalented chefs at Tony's Pizzeria & Ristorante flex their culinary muscles while they rustle up New York–style pizzas and a variety of Italian specialties. Exposed-brick walls, old-fashioned signage, and black-and-red booths form an ideal setting for polishing off plates of fried calamari, veal scallopine, and saucy pastas. Breezes comb through diners’ hair and birds chirp the theme to Three’s Company from the outdoor patio, where visitors can enjoy their pizza whole or by the slice. Daily happy-hour specials from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. encourage guests to unwind after a long workday with swigs of adult beverages.
A brick oven blazes, transforming soft dough and raw vegetables into savory thin-crust pizza pies crowned with fresh mozzarella and 27 combinations of toppings. The methods used at Cafe Milano go back for centuries, and each dish honors the Italian tradition. Imported spaghetti noodles, gnocchi, and penne pasta support rich sauces, and house-made soups exercise atrophied slurping muscles. Freshly baked breads hold Italian meats such as mortadella and prosciutto together in handheld panini sandwiches. For dessert, in addition to pastries imported from Italy, servers scoop artisanal gelato in flavors such as tiramisu or biscotti, and thirsty diners can sip wine, beer, or frothy cappuccinos.
Chefs whip up house-made pasta, sizzle ocean-fresh salmon fillets, and pair red cherry tomatoes with imported buffalo mozzarella to populate a menu of traditional Italian cuisine. After the chefs apply the final garnishes to entrees, servers shuttle the piping-hot dishes to diners seated at round tables draped in white linens. On Wednesday–Saturday evenings, live music fills the dining room, bouncing off exposed brick walls and jingling off the chandeliers to tickle the ears of patrons as they sip red and white wines from the full bar. Outdoors, an expansive courtyard hosts sunlit and moonlit dining enclosed by brick columns and lush palm trees that occasionally lean over patrons' shoulders to steal a bite when they're not looking.
Cesare Tini grew up in Rimini, Italy, where his family of restaurateurs slowly conditioned his brain with their culinary secrets. When he departed for America, he packed a stack of his clan's perfected recipes, which he eventually parlayed into a hearty menu for his eatery in Clearwater Beach.
Cesare at the Beach's house-made pastas include fettuccine, lasagna, and crabmeat-stuffed ravioli, which arrive at tables draped in sauces such as creamy béchamel, white wine, and marinara. Veal, chicken, beef tenderloin, and sea scallops also fight for the spotlight, making the dinner menu a suitable metaphor for junior-prom court. A lengthy wine selection washes down savory bites before handcrafted tiramisu, crème brûlée, and cannoli brush tongues with Italian sweetness. All of these menu items helped Cesare at the Beach receive TripAdvisor's "Certificate of Excellence for the Year of 2012".
The murals of the Greek Islands in the buffet rooms at Post Corner Pizza bespeak the Sofronas family's heritage, which is equally evident in the restaurant's white stucco exterior and even in its pizza. The Sofronas brothers perfected a pan-pizza recipe, which is still kept a carefully guarded secret, when they moved from their Greek hometown to the United States. Maria, the daughter of one of the Sofronas brothers, now helms the shop, serving pan pizzas with signature crusts that are "not too soft and not too crisp" alongside traditional Greek specialties. She combines both types of cuisine with her Grecian pizza, topped with ricotta, feta, and fresh spinach, which, she jokes, is her favorite menu item because she created it. Every night, diners can look out through windows or across the outdoor patio at an orange sunset over the ocean waves. For those staying in nearby hotels, condos, or caves hidden inside rocky cliffs, staffers deliver steaming pizzas free of charge.
In 1973, Art Capogna opened the doors of his Dugout, a casual eatery devoted to sports and Italian food. In spacious family-friendly dining rooms, framed jerseys and pennants hang above plates of pasta, calzones, hoagies, and pizza. Most of the remaining wall space is occupied by TVs—six in the family dining room and 18 in the sports bar—and plaques commemorating Art's devotion to supporting youth sports. Crispy pizzas slide steaming from fiery brick ovens, layered with italian sausage and green peppers, ham and pepperoni, and many other topping combinations. Diners can also sink forks into entrees such as sirloin steak or chicken cordon blue as adults sip beers and kids try to shake hands with the huge baseball coach painted on the wall.