I stopped in at Bernini alone tonight while my friend attended a concert at The Ritz just down and across t the street. I, was feeling a desire for some Italian food and saw that Bernini on Seventh had almost a full restaurant on a Tuesday night. That, for me, was a good sign. I grabbed a table for one and ordered a glass of chianit to get started. I, a hopeless history buff, instantly loved the room The old 1800s Bank of Ybor City Building, not overdone and snooty, but dark and cavernous, haunted with quiet reminicences of days gone by with what appeared to be origonal lighting fixtures (?) suited my mood for something something authentic and distinctly local. The menu was appealing, not particularly overly priced and offering a variety of typically Italian choices...creative salads and appetizers, wood fired pizzas, classical appetizers..so far, so good. I asked the server about the poached pear salad with arugala and goat cheese. "Are the pears poached here?" He was honest and said that he would ask the chef. When He returned and informed me that the chef was poaching pears at that very moment, my mind was made up. I had the salad and a wild mushroom pizza. Both were EXACTLY what I expected...delicious. They understated and overdelivered. BINGO! My advise: if you are looking for a good, casual dining experience in a restaurant with authentically local ambiance where the folks seem to really care about what they are serving...give this place a try. The service was polite and professional...not overly familiar and pushy. I dined alone in a full restaurant and was treated as if I were hosting a party of twenty...another good sign. Bernini, you have a guest for life! Thank you!
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