Though Gino Bonetti has lived in Florida for nearly a quarter-century, he has every right to call his pizza New York-style. The Sicilian-born restaurateur lived in Queens for 30 years, during which time he fell hard for the city's versions of his native Italian cuisine. Since 1993, Gino, his wife, Arlene, and their two children have operated Gino's NY Style Pizzeria, where chefs prepare both Neapolitan- and Sicilian-inspired pies. Whichever style they choose, customers can have their pizzas topped with anything from meatballs and eggplant to premium toppings such as prosciutto and artichoke hearts.
In addition to pizza, the cooks also whip up hot and cold subs brimming with veal cutlets or cappicola, as well as use traditional recipes to prepare a lineup of baked pasta dishes, including a lobster ravioli with homemade vodka sauce. In good Italian tradition, they bolster their myriad of chicken, veal, or seafood entrees with a hearty side of pasta and garlic rolls. Gino's also provides catering services, as well as can help plan complete events with recommendations for local equipment rental, videographers, and linen providers.
Unlike applying for a job, auditioning for a play, or winning over in-laws, becoming a member of the Lobosco clan is as easy as eating pie. Pizza pie, that is. "One bite and you'll be family!" is the restaurant's fun-loving motto, one that the kitchen crew reinforces by crafting homestyle pasta dinners, hot hero sandwiches on fresh-baked bread, and classic Italian entrees such as eggplant parmigiana. Pizzas are stretched thin in the New York fashion, then topped with ingredients ranging from classic sausage, pepperoni, and olives to less common shrimp, crab, and white sauce.
Mozzarella, dressings, and dough crafted from scratch populate Vetture's authentic Italian dishes to create fresh fare. Multitudes of tempting toppings meet atop the thin and crispy crust of Vetture's pizzas, which range from the 8-piece medium pizza ($10.95+) to the 16-piece sicilian ($16.95+), with most sizes available in whole-wheat varieties for healthier helpings. Like watching a silent film on a smartphone, the chicken parmigiana pizza turns a timeless classic into a handheld treat ($14.25–$18.95), and the Crispino pizza marries the subtle flavors of balsamic vinegar and olive oil with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and homemade mozzarella ($20.95 for 16"). Those looking to please their Italian-craving palate can taste creamy penne carbonara tossed with peas, bacon, and onions ($11.95); or take an oceanic adventure with the calamari and scungilli marinara, including an option of spicy fra diablo sauce on mouthwatering morsels of squid and snails ($14.95).
San’s delectable menu bursts with a medley of homemade thin crust pizzas, piping pastas, and hearty sandwiches crafted with fresh ingredients. Dinner DJs hand-hurl each pie sky-high upon your order, slathering it in scratch-made sauce, a rich blend of cheeses, and tantalizing toppings including house-made meatballs, artichokes, eggplant, and feta ($1.95+ / slice, $7.50+ / pie). Silence trilling tummies with specialty pizzas, such as the rail-thin Cara’s Crispino sprinkled with tomato, basil, garlic, and balsamic ($2.50 / slice, $18.95 / 16’’x16’’), or the Balls of Fire pizza, a pizza topped with cheese and pizza sauce combined with a special hot sauce, meatballs, jalapeno and crushed red peppers ($18.95 / 18" large). Homemade manicotti ($10.95) and lasagna ($10.75 for cheese, $11.75 for beef) soak in flavorsome lochs of house marinara, and a bevy of hot and cold sandwiches ably sate bun enthusiasts ($5–$8.75).
Lonzalos Pizzeria & Ristorante borrowed the name of the one-time foreman of the Starkey Ranch, Lonzalo “Lonnie” Cannon, whose work ethic and Italian origins inspired the eatery’s culture. The man himself still resides in north Florida at the ripe old age of 95, not too far away to visit owner Scott Cochrane’s homage to his life.
The pizzeria serves regular, deep-dish, and stuffed pies, but also delves extensively into traditional Italian cookery, combining choice pieces of meat and seafood with rich sauces and pasta. The rich scent of cheese and wine wafts through the dining room, though visitors can opt instead to enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and potential UFO sightings of alfresco dining on the outdoor patio. The indoor space transforms into a late-night comedy venue on the second Saturday of each month at 10 p.m., hosting a rotating cast of funny-bone ticklers.
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.