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.
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.
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.
Every time a guest orders from Tuscano Grille's savory menu, an angel-hair noodle cries, knowing that its fate has been decided. Start with buttermilk-battered fried artichokes and mushrooms with horseradish-cream sauce ($7.95), or mix up a bowl of greens tossed among pears, gorgonzola, candied walnuts, and dried cranberries in a honey-poppy-seed vinaigrette ($7.95). Off the grill, main-plate options include the 6-ounce filet mignon ($18.95), regarded as the swordfish of the land, and the 8-ounce swordfish steak ($18.95), regarded as a tenant in most seaman's stomachs.
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 b?chamel, 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, cr?me br?l?e, 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.
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.