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Gratzzi Ristorante St. Petersburg FL

March 16, 2009

Gratzzi Ristorante offers excellent Southern Italian Cuisine

Gratzzi Ristorante offers excellent Southern Italian Cuisine

NOTE: This is our review of the old Gratzzi that closed.
Gratzzi Restaurant Review: Favorite Pasta Dishes
Gratzzi Restaurant Review: Veal Marsala, Italian Wedding Soup

Gratzzi is re-opening as Gratzzi Italian Grille in December 2010, at 211 2nd Street South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 (near the corner of 2nd Avenue South where Pacific Wave used to be.) The new restaurant will have the same owners and chef with a revised menu. We convinced Tony to keep the Sicilian Meatloaf which is reviewed below.

Watch their new website here: http://gratzzigrille.com

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Gratzi means “Thank you” in Italian, and I am quite thankful that I went to Gratzzi Ristorante at Baywalk in St. Petersburg. (They spell it with an extra “z”). The food, atmosphere and friendly, attentive staff made Gratzzi a superb experience.

I started my evening at the bar with a perfect Hendrick’s Martini. Hendrick’s is a fine, smooth gin made with cucumbers. Many establishments don’t have it, so I was pleased and impressed that Gratzzi’s did. I sipped my martini and chatted with the very personable and attentive bartender, Christina while I waited for Laura to finish shopping at White House Black Market downstairs.

Gratzzi is located in downtown St. Petersburg at Baywalk, which is an outdoor shopping, dining & entertainment complex anchored by a 20-screen Muvico Theatre. There’s an art gallery, woman’s and men’s fashions, and several restaurants to choose from.

Gratzzi’s decor is classy. The low lighting and low noise make it a romantic setting. This is a great place for a quiet romantic dinner. Even so, Laura and I opted to eat at the bar as we often do. Eating at the bar is a little more festive and social, and Laura is the consummate social butterfly / people person.

I started with a Caprese Salad of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzerella, Bermuda onions, arugula, roasted peppers, basil infused olive oil, and drizzled aged balsamic vinegar. Laura had the Gratzzi Salad (she always chooses great salads) that consisted of mixed greens with marinated tomatoes, kalamata olives, Bermuda onions, carrots, cucumbers and house vinaigrette.

For the main course, Laura chose Margherita Flatbread and I went with a more hearty selection of Sicilian Meatloaf.

Margherita Flatbread

Margherita Flatbread

Sicilian Meatloaf

Sicilian Meatloaf

The Margherita Flatbread was made of fresh mozzarella, marinated vine-ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil. It was delicious.

The Sicilian Meatloaf is an authentic recipe with boiled eggs, ham, provolone cheese, spinach, onions, roasted peppers, and mozzarella cheese. It is topped with marsala sauce and served with four-cheese mashed potatoes.

It was completely amazing! This is not your mother’s meatloaf. My mother is of Sicilian descent and she makes great meatloaf, but I have never had anything like this. It was very dense and as chewy as eating a piece of meat rather than ground meat. It was super delicious and a great new experience, nothing like any meatloaf I have ever had.

Although they offer a decent wine selection, Gratzzi’s also offers personal wine lockers for regulars. You can order your favorite wines and have them stored for your exclusive consumption right there on the premises. It should be noted that the restaurant is run by two Italian natives, Carmelo Mangiafico, Executive Chef and Dominic D’Angelo, Director. This is why the food is authentic, unique and delicious.

I highly recommend Gratzzi’s Ristorante. The prices are quite reasonable for such high quality food, unique recipe offerings with a warm relaxing atmosphere, topped off by a friendly attentive staff.

See the 16-Picture Gallery of Gratzzi’s Ristorante or view the Slide Show.

Gratzzi Italian Grille
211 2nd Street South
Saint Petersburg, FL 33701
727 623 9037 (Reservations)
http://gratzzigrille.com

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