Bascetti’s Italian Grille is a dining discovery in a small strip mall on busy State Road 580/Main Street in Dunedin. Somehow white tablecloth-fine dining and sports bar blend to make this cozy restaurant a favorite of locals and great find for newcomers.
Chef/owner Jimmy Stewart and his wife Jenny and son Preston with their friendly staff of eight operate like a family, which is where the tradition of excellent food began. “I would skip school to stay home and cook with my mother,” Chef Jimmy says. “I love food. My mother was Italian and I love Italian food because it has to be freshly prepared with minimal preparation time, but most of all it tastes so good.”
Chef’s choices for starters included bruschetta alla romano (above), artistically presented in a tomato, lightly fried, sweet calamari fritti, crispy artichokes with cherry pepper aioli, and jumbo meatballs in marinara with Parmesan. Salad with tender roasted beets, mixed greens, goat cheese and walnuts was dressed with a delicate orange vinaigrette.
My entrée was the delicious, bold signature dish, Eggplant Tower of Pisa (left), which consisted of hand cut fresh eggplant combined with a fresh marinara sauce topped with grated Parmesan cheese. My husband, Darrel, enjoyed the Canneloni Napoletana, which combined savory ground veal and pork with layered pasta, baked in a rich, cheesy cream sauce, topped with mozzarella.
But there was still more to discover at Bascetti’s Italian Grille. Remember the fresh steak and seafood that used to be available at Spoto’s Steakhouse just down the road in Dunedin? Who would expect that Bascetti’s would carry on this tradition with one of the best steak houses in Pinellas County. He continues to hand cut each fine piece USDA steak like filet mignon and the seafood is equally excellent!”
So not only can you find the best Italian food at Bascettti’s, you will also be in for a treat if you want a great steak or really fresh seafood. And, would you believe that Chef Jimmy has brought back the wild game in his culinary repertoire? The menu includes items like bison carpaccio, and even kangaroo. They recently offered camel tenderloins. He plans to change up his game dishes every month!
So if you’re in the mood for traditional Mama’s meatballs or fettucine alfredo, veal or chicken piccata, marsala or saltimbocca, or perhaps a perfectly char-grilled steak, or zuppa de mare, a feast from the sea, with shrimp, mussels, clams and calamari tossed in a spicy tomato broth, over linguine… whatever flavors you’re craving, you’re in the right place.
By now you might expect deliciousness, so do not miss dessert: the Italian lemon mascarpone crème cake was pure bliss. Once you discover Bascetti’s Italian Grille, its wide variety and outstanding quality will bring you back for more.
Located at 1568 Main Street in Dunedin, open 4-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 1-8 p.m. Thanksgiving and Christmas. Live jazz musician plays 7-10 pm Friday and Saturday.
Bascetti’s offers delivery (doordash.com and Uber Eats), catering services, and you can reserve the restaurant for private special occasions. Visit www.bascettisitaliangrille for more information or call 727.738.2808 for reservations.
Story and photos by By Pat Brooks
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