The aromas of Middle Eastern spices and grilled meats waft through the restaurant’s windows and doors, drawing passing noses closer with every outpouring of scent. At Prestige Lounge & Lebanese Cuisine, chefs reproduce authentic Lebanese recipes that draw from both Eastern and Western culinary influences to give diners a taste of the Middle East that lingers on in memories with expressive herbs and sizzling meat dishes. Chefs build their culinary sonatas using only halal meat and prepare yogurts and build on their flavor profiles all in the restaurant’s kitchen, ensuring that each bite is fresh. As live entertainment gets rolling on Friday and Saturday nights, the food gets a worthy competitor for diners’ attention spans. Belly dancers perform on weekends, and other talents, such as Middle Eastern singers and DJs, electrify the dining room with their lively shows.
At Pronto Pizza, chefs whip up Chicago-style, New York-style, and thin Italian-style crusts on their signature pies. Customized pizzas can be enhanced by more than 15 toppings, from pepperoni and sausage to eggplant and banana peppers. Pizzas range from the Hawaiian pizza, with ham, pineapple, and mozzarella, to “Carlos Pie,” with grilled chicken and pesto. The menu is also rife with classic Italian dishes, such as veal piccata, chicken Palermo, and shrimp fra diavolo, paired several wines and beers.
Voted Best Specialty Pizza in Dunedin in a House of Beers citywide contest in 2010, Bayshore Pizza’s success comes courtesy of co-owner Erik Johanson’s passion for quality ingredients. That and his mom’s secret sauce recipe, of course. Making good on a lifelong dream to run his own restaurant, Johanson oversees the family-owned-and-operated pizzeria, where chefs hand-toss fresh, daily prepared dough before transforming it into thin-crust and pan pizzas, folding it into ricotta-stuffed calzones, and rolling into hearty strombolis. Pizzas are available whole, or by the slice, where toppings range from the classic––pepperoni, sausage, green pepper––to the creative––clams, garlic, parmesan, and bacon––and a choice of five sauces waits to grace Bayshore’s chicken wings, which also won top prize in 2011, but never brag about it.
Drawing on culinary insights gleaned over 20 years of refining family recipes, the cooks at Antonio's Pasta Grille fill plates with sauce-draped pasta dishes and pizzas built on homemade dough. As they dip freshly baked bread into herb-infused oil, diners can stare wistfully at a mural depicting rolling hills, stone bridges, and wars between groups of talking animals from young-adult novels.
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's 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's at the Beach receive TripAdvisor's "Certificate of Excellence" in 2012–2014.
Casanova Restaurant & Lounge slings traditional italian veal, beef, seafood, and pasta, hosting famished foodies in an elegant indoor space and lighted outdoor patio. Launch ingestion sequences with appetizers including bruschetta ($8/lunch, $10/dinner), caprese ($14/dinner), and antipasto misto, a panoply of imported meats and cheeses ($14/dinner). Chatty mouths pause to savor Casanova Restaurant & Lounge’s entrees, such as the ravioli d’aragosta, five housemade pasta pieces stuffed with lobster meat, chaperoned by shrimp, scallops, tomato sauce, and cream ($25/dinner). The scaloppina piccata, thinly sliced veal in a lemon-butter sauce ($14/lunch, $20/dinner), lays a delicious foundation inside stomachs or beneath all-linguini models of the Tower of Pisa.