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Reviewed by Joe H. on 7/ 17/00 / meal: Dinner / party of: 4 / pent: $53 / Food: Fair Kid_Friendly: Good / Service: Excellent / Value: Fair / Cleanliness: Excellent / Wine_List: Excellent / Ambience: Very Good / Overall: Fair / Return?: Recommend? No
Main courses (especially white sauces - typical of Northern Italy) were VERY disappointing! We went to Gastronomia (for the 2nd time - my wife and I had a fairly decent meal there two weeks before). This time we were accompanied by our daughter and our 14 year old granddaughter. Foccaccio bread was delicious and plentiful and the basket was refilled quickly. Dipping sauce was quite good. The dinner salad was crisp and the house dressing was quite good. Then everything went wrong. My wife and I each I ordered spaghetti alla carbonara which turned out to be prepared not with pancetta (as the menu stated) but with underdone ham. The dish was very dry and more sauce had to be requested. Our daughter ordered penne putanesca which was even drier. More sauce (red) was brought, but it wasn't enough to redeem the dish. Our granddaughter order spaghetti con polpette di carne (meatballs). Same story - exceedingly dry and unredeemed by extra sauce. Two ladies who came in while we were beginning to eat also ordered and found the meal dissatisfying. The owner tried to mollify them, but ignored the fact that we (seated right next to them) had been forced to request extra sauce for every dish! (Selective mollification?) An extremely disappointing meal, particularly since I prefer Northern Italian cuisine to the usual run of red sauces. We won't go back - two strikes is enough in my ballgame.
Gastronomia (Italian) Sarasota
Huge portions. Our osso bucco, reasonably priced at $16 and
gnocchi at $8. left enough leftovers for lunches the next day. A number of reasonable
Italian wines at $17 -$22. Bread was good and served warm.
Consistently good food & value. To date, this is our favorite restaurant in all of Sarasota. We like the lively cafe feel of the place. We love the flavorful modern Italian menu. We appreciate the attentive / upbeat service. And to top it all off, we feel like we "bagged a bargain" after signing off on our tab.
I'd like to try the restaurant again when it's not so busy --
maybe some afternoon or a midweek evening. Interesting food choices, hopping atmosphere. I
joined a party that had already ordered on a busy Friday night at 10 p.m. The waitresses
were few and far between although it didn't impact the experience as it was relatively
easy to summon someone when the need arose. I like the cozy atmosphere in the front room
(plus it's non-smoking) -- the back is neat, too, if one's a drinker/smoker and is looking
for a less-formal meal setting (there are comfortable couches amid the blacklights as well
as a bar and pool tables). Plus there are tables outside in front for those who must smoke
while they dine. The food itself was tasty -- I had a stir-fried teriyaki chicken and
vegetable dish which was chock full of both, on top of yellow rice, with a tangy teriyaki.
One of my friends was finishing a calamari/rice dish that she said was great altho
extremely spicy. Other tablemates said their choices were also very hot-spicy, in a good
way. Valuewise it is so-so (approx. $10-15 for most entrees), I think it was
Half-Baked Cafe, (eclectic American)
On the spur of the moment our party of 6 decided on dinner here on a Saturday night and with no reservations. We were offered a choice of tables--one on the dance floor or one in the lounge. We opted for the lounge so we could talk and definitely made the right choice. Once the band came on at 9:00 things got a little loud. The band was good but any conversation close to them would have been impossible. Now for the most important part. . . the food! Never having been to the Half Baked Cafe before, we had no idea of what to expect. What we found was a very interesting and very varied menu with everything from fresh seafood to bbq ribs to quesadillas to salads and sandwiches. All six of us ordered something different and all items were served as ordered and were extremely good. The bbq ribs were a pleasant surprise and were equally as good as many of the local bbq restaurants. The shrimp quesadillas were a pleasant surprise - very well prepared and brimming with cheese and shrimp. One of our party even tried a blackened chicken club which was simple but well prepared and tasty. All in all it was a very pleasant surprise. Recommend it to anyone looking for a comfortable, casual dinner.
To sushi lovers, because we found it to serve excellent Japanese food.... Hana is very new, and needs to improve the serving staff, some of whom do not seem to understand English very well, although they try to please. The biggest problem with them on our visit was that they brought the food too rapidly and in strange order. However, the sushi was super fresh, and nicely presented - as good or better than the best in the community...as a matter of fact, as good as any we've had anywhere. The sushi and tempura appetizer portions were very generous and the tempura was crisp and greaseless.
Heritage Oaks Golf and C. C.
This club is open to the public. They have an excellent Sunday brunch and special dinners on Wed, Thurs and Friday evenings. A larger menu is available, but Thursday Prime Rib and Friday fish are excellent.
We had one fish dinner and one pork tenderloin with jerk sauce dinner. Both were fine. Each was served with either soup or salad and rolls. The pork dinner came with potatoes and perfectly cooked broccoli. There is a nice view of the golf course and the dining room is well decorated, large but not noisy. If you attend, call ahead for reservations because there may be a private party or some special event planned. MENU
Holiday Inn, Lido Key, Sarasota
Been many times; the view and expansive breakfast/brunch/lunch items a top draw!! This time service was poor and disappointing since I brought a guest and we really anticipated the quality of prior visits. Overall, food was very good--the chef does a wonderful eggs benedict which does not suffer from extended warming in chafing dishes on buffet line. Shrimp, lox, crab salads; typical breakfast foods/meats including blintzes (filled with cheese and topped with cherries; variety of rolls, breads, bagels; and magnificant dessert extravaganza really cannot be beat (serving up to 2PM); this is truly a Brunch which offers a broad luncheon fare as well. Only drawback was lack of service and attentiveness of waitress.
Hungry Fox (American/Seafood/Cajun)
Excellent, unique food. Comments: On a Tuesday night we visited the Hungry Fox, our 1st visit since new owners took it over in October; and our reactions were very enthusiastically positive. Salad was crisp, fresh greens et al., and my saldad dressing (creamy Italian, but like no creamy Italian I have ever had anywhere else), was simply terrific. For an entree my wife chose the Portabello & Eggplant Lasagne and it was not only unusual but delicious. I'm a great lover of Cajun & Creole food, and I choose the Jambalaya. The mildly spicy rice was loaded with jumbo shrimp, chicken chunks and andouille sausage which add an additional kick to the flavor. Splendid dish. And an excellent meal.
Hungry Fox (American/Seafood/Cajun)
We were smilingly greeted right off the elevator...offered
SPECIALS on wine! Served EXCELLENT shrimp scampi and terrific steak for my companion.
Drinks refilled often, service super-friendly! Dined al fresco and, due to perfect weather
MAY not be as lovely next time! :-) (Oh, we also enjoyed the music wafting up from Cha-Cha
International House of Curries,
We had a superb meal and a most pleasant dining experience. Comments: My wife, my daughter (her 42nd birthday, and I chose Intl. House of Curries because we all love Indian food and no other Sarasota restaurant is devoted to that alone. I ordered Chicken Makhani which was absolutely splendid! My wife and daughter each ordered the Sabji vegetable curry dinner, which was extremely flavorable and delicately seasoned. (Although a meat eater by preference, I would not hesitate to order the Sabji curry in the future.) Service was prompt and attentive; even intelligent. Owner Harry Walia has apparently spent much time in ironing out the glitches noted on a previous visit and the service matches the food. A-number-one! (CAUTION: For those not familiar with Indian seasoning, Indian food - when so ordered - can be VERY hot, although normally this is not the case. Also be warned: portions here are LARGE as well as flavorable.) We'll all go back - often!
International House of Curries,
During 28 years in Buffalo, NY, we learned to like Indian food. I decided to try this relatively new place since I have been yearning for six years for good Indian food to return to Sarasota. IHC is small, but brightly decorated, with what appears to be a full bar in the front dining area. Staff was new and being briefed on various procedures by the bartender, who appeared to be part of management. My waiter was knowledgeable and intelligent, able to discuss the various degrees of heat of different dishes. (Beware! Indian food can be REALLY hot and spicy; but almost every dish can be ordered in a mild form). I ordered a favorite, "Chicken Makhani," prepared between "medium" and "hot" . The chicken was tender and perfectly seasoned. (It looked like it had been cooked in a Tandoori [clay oven] which is the way this dish should be prepared.) The salad was beautifully fresh, but the dressing was bland. Accompanying saffron rice was most tasty, and I enjoyed my meal enormously. My wife and I will return to IHC with great anticipation.
Italian Grill, Sarasota
Food was the way we like Italian. FRESH! Very convenient and price is right. My husband I both had the Pasta & Fagioli at $3.95 for a bowl it was the best I've tasted in a long time. Facoccia bread served with a balsamic dipping sauce. Wonderful! The salads were fresh and the house dressing was superb! My husband had the Ziti and Broccoli at ll.95 and was very good with fresh garlic and broccoli very crisp. Big portion. I had the Malanzane Rolatini (Sliced eggplant stuffed with ricotta, tomato suace & mozzaarella with a side of spaghetti. Wonderful! Again large portion. We both took half home We did not have wine, but the coffee was very good. Too much noise from families with kids. Pizzas looked wonderful coming out of their ovens. We will try them next time. $40 with the tip was very reasonable for what we had. We will definitely go back.
Well prepared. quality food. Lamb chops ($28) are outstanding - 6 of them; nice and garlicky with mashed potatoes and a side of crispy fresh vegetables. The lobster thermidor was good but a bit pricey ($28 but only 1/2 a lobster). Many other items on the menu are under $20. The chef cooked at the Commander's Palace back in the 80's, I believe. Meal price stated is without any discount. Use the IDC card; dine once at Jonathan's and you've paid for the card. Every time after that is a bonus.
Everything ws superior! My roast duck was crisp, moist and not fatty, with an excellent pepper sauce. The vegies were tender - not overdone. My husband's seafood pasta was excellent - included a lobster claw, clams, scallops, shrimp, grouper, etc. with an incredible sauce. Service was great, the restrooms clean. There were no children there, but the food was not kid-type. The food was pricy but not out of line for the quality. It helped having just received the latest restaurant cards from IDC. The total shown was without the discount. I'll go back often!
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