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Restaurants & Bars 2

Gino's (Tampa)

andy huse | Oct 1, 200412:17 PM

I've been living in Tampa's Forest Hills area for well over a year now, and I must say I love the neighborhood. There's a deli/meat market down the road and a cracker bar, but my favorite destination is Gino's (10006 N. Armenia, just north of Linebaugh), a bar/grill with good draft beer (no liquor), great bar food, and some excellent Italian cuisine as well.

Someone recently praised Gino's in the Weekly Planet's Best of the Bay for the incredible bar food. Italian-style mussels, anyone? Calimari? The rich eggplant appetizer is a winner, too. The chicken/veal dishes ($12) are great: picata, parmesean, marsala, sorrentino, etc. The pastas are all quite good ($8). The hot sandwiches and burgers ($6 with fries or rings) are huge and some of the best in the area. Try the meatball. Their specials, which usually lean toward seafood dishes, are delights. The kitchen obviously takes pride in turning out quality food. Lunch menu is cheaper. All non-sandwich entrees come with soup (good tomato bisque) or salad (the Ceasar rocks) and a loaf of garlic bread. You WILL leave full.

There is never much parking. Everyone in the neighborhood crowds the place, but there's usually a seat to be found if not a parking space. Service is friendly but can be a bit slow at times. I prefer to eat in the bar section. The simplicity appeals to me.

There is no greater joy than getting off of work on a Friday, driving home, and then walking or riding my bike the 1.5 blocks to Gino's. With a newspaper, a tall cold Paulaner, and a plate of good food, I decompress and return home a sane and happy man.

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