Our party of four had tickets for an evening Tampa Bay Rays baseball game. We decided to dine early and selected Gratzzi Italian Grille which is located a scant 1 ½ miles from the stadium... which proved to be a really great decision. The regular dinner menu looks really tempting, but we discovered that seven days a week, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, Gratzzi also offers a $14 Early Dinner menu.
All four of us habitually quickly scan and then decide to ignore Early Dinner (a.k.a. Early Bird) menus... because those menus often present limited choices, small portions and quality not reflective of the full dining menu. Quite the contrary at Gratzzi. The Early Dinner had ten really tempting entrees, with a wide range of choices; and all Early Dinners include ciabatta bread, a choice of house salad or “pasta e fagioli soup”, and chef's dessert. And by the way, happy hour $3 house wine, $3 beer and $3 well drinks. One of us also ordered a single appetizer from the regular menu... calamari steak agricolo which includes dry figs, cherry peppers, garlic, balsamic and honey. Creative and a great success. We also decided to forego the happy hour bargains and shared a bottle of wine chosen from the regular menu wine list.
The ciabatta bread was placed on the table as soon as we sat down... a sizable fresh, tasty loaf accompanied by olive oil and a side dish of herbs... and also a side dish of butter. None of us chose the soup so cannot describe. But the Gratzzi house salad was sizable and a creative combination of greens, onion, chick peas, et al. ; a small work of art. Our four entree choices included steak in a marsala wine sauce, baked stuffed shrimp, an indescribably buttery, tasty penne pasta dish, and mahi mahi with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, scallions, cashews and lemon. All four dishes were large portions, all excellently prepared and a delight to the eye. Our chef's dessert was a cannoli. (Earlier early diners were served crème brule, but the kitchen had run out by the time we were ready for dessert.)
Last but not least, service was friendly and attentive throughout. We will definitely return to explore the regular dinner menu when we are next in St Pete.
One small note... just checked the web site.... the posted menus are not quite current. E.g., the Early Dinner menu does not include a couple of the entrees that we enjoyed; and as stated above, the current Early Dinner price is $14, not $13. But those observations are mere nits. We highly recommend Gratzzi Italian Grille.
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