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Best Sarasota Pizza... Dometrio's, El Greco, Valentino's or...?

These three names have come up in recent posts as "Pizza that will blow you away!" One major compalint when I lived in the area 28 years ago was the lack of decent pizza. Certainly then, there were none that you would consider outstanding. What do current locals think? We're visiting for a week soon. Thanks!

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  1. Dometrio's on 41 South -- or -- El Greco.... Both very close and both excellent.
    I never heard of Valentino's.

    4 Replies
    1. re: irwin

      I've had pizza at the world famous Lombardi's in New York. Vanetinos is as good or better. They also have a fabulous menu of traditional Italian dishes, not Italian-American over-sauced dreck. Valentinos is at 4045 Clark in a little shopping strip just west of the railroad tracks. Best Italian in the area, IMHO as a chef.

      1. re: KiltedCook

        I'll have to check it out....
        Thank you

        1. re: thepizzacriticsrq

          Probably the best Pizza in Sarasota is:
          Il Panifico on Main St and also in Gulf Gate.....
          Really truly the best, great selection, fast service, eat-in or take-out, and they have been doing it for a very long time.....

          1. re: irwin

            Il Panificio both locations+1....+1....

            Il Panificio
            1703 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

      2. I just recently had a pie from Shaner's, on Clark somewhere between MacIntosh and Beneva (near the Harbor Freight store). Remarkable thin, crispy crust.

        1. Shaners is standard midwest thin crust, Demetrios and El Greco are both decent greasy, garlicky greek pies, but the best pizza in Sarasota is without a doubt Panificio on Main Street. Order by the slice -- the extra blast in the oven the slices get is the best way to eat the super-thin semolina crust.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bries

            I second that Panifico is definitely THE BEST......I live in south Sarasota so I often go to Pontillios on Superior in Gulf Gate....best in this area

          2. Having grown up on Pizza Hut pizza, I am not the best judge. However, my boyfriend who grew up in Hyannis, went to college in Boston and lived in NYC for several years has consistently complained about the lack of "decent" pizza in Sarasota. He agrees about Il Panificio on Main Street downtown, Definately the place to get a slice on the go. For more casual sit down fare, check out the individual pizzas at Caragiulos downtown on Palm Ave. Their crust is the perfect combo of crunchy and chewy. Great for two to share with a glass of wine or beer on the way to a movie. Out on Siesta Key, Siesta Smeag's has a really great reputation with the locals. Do yourself a favor though and stay far, far away from anything Solorazano Brothers. Even if they do make decent pizza, these guys are rude ugly people and have been known to verbally and at least once physically assault customers including spitting in someones face. Not nice people, and not worth spending your money on when there are so many other places to try.

            15 Replies
            1. re: ellimac13

              Wow!! How do they stay in business? I have never been there, and certainly have no intention of ever going, after your comment. He sounds like the owner of Zaks Steak house!! A very ugly man!!

              1. re: Mother of four

                Say, you seem to know about the restaurants in town. We live in Charleston, SC and are coming to Sarasota to visit my son. My husband used to work for the company that started Fred's on Osprey. It looks like Fred's closed and also that the one in Lakewood Ranch was bought by Tommy Klauber. Do you know if either of those restaurants are open again and if so what are the names? Do you know the phone numbers?

                1. re: goodwordtoday

                  Libby's opened in the old Freds. We went there a few weeks after it opened, and they had a few kinks to work out, but overall it was very good, and we will go back. The menu is nice, because you have many choices, both price wise and quantity size. Phone number is 941-487-7300 Polo (not exact name, maybe Polo Club) opened up in the one at Lakewood ranch, but I have not been there so can't tell you anything about it. I also really like Mattisons 41 which is a lot like Libby's, but a bit larger and they have nice music, a great bar, and the food is very much the same. I also like Deja Vu, which is in Gulf Gate. Very small and chef owned, with good food. Phone 941-926-2994.
                  I hope this helps, just let me know if you need anymore information!

                  1. re: Mother of four

                    Mother of four---you are right on........
                    Libby's (formally Fred's) is very good, but need to work on a few kinks.
                    Have not been to Mattisons 41, but just love DejaVu, as well as:
                    Euphenia Haye for duck
                    Bijou for rack of lamb
                    Demetrio's for pizza
                    Beach Bistro -everything is excellent
                    Cafe E"urope for potato crusted Grouper and Dover Sole
                    Tommy Bahama's for Ribs
                    Hyde Park for a good steak
                    Flemings for a wonderful double Pork Chop
                    Simon's for lunch
                    El Greco for the best gyro and greek salad
                    Cork for a great Hamburger
                    Yoders for really great food like your grandmother's and the deserts are the best
                    Hickory Hollow for the pulled pork
                    Citrus for the lunch salads
                    Divino for the best italian in Sarasota
                    I could go on and on, but I listed the best Sarasota has to offer.

                    1. re: irwin

                      I keep forgetting about The Cork. We went there last year and had a wonderful meal. Just haven't been back. We went upstairs, but I guess the downstairs is a bit more casual! Although Sarasota is pretty casual everywhere! Maybe because it's a trip for us that we haven't been back, as, we are on the south side of Sarasota!

                      1. re: irwin

                        Best restaurant in Sarasota...Cafe Bijou...hands down. Their kitchen....in a class of it's own.

                        1. re: oldvines

                          Bijou Café has changed their executive chef. Whether or not anyone believes it WAS the best restaurant in Sarasota -- and I sure don't -- it's a new restaurant now.

                          1. re: Longboat

                            I sure agree with you concerning the Bijou Café. We have not been there since the changing of Chefs, but in my opinion they defiantly needed a change. The prices were high and the food very old, if you know what I mean. Nothing innovative about it. We also went there with six other people, I had told them that we had two birthdays when I made the reservation, but when they presented us with dessert menus I whispererd to the server that we had two birthdays. Her reply was "all they will do is put a candle on a dessert if you order one". It did not leave a very good impression on any of us! I don't think that any of us have been back since.

                            1. re: Mother of four

                              I haven’t been to the “new” Bijou Café yet, either. The chef is from Canvas Café and he’s considered to be innovative. When he took the job at Bijou, he announced that the cuisine would change to some extent while the “classics” would be kept on the menu. Previously, I got caught in the mystique of going to Bijou prior to the opera across the street. That said, a few months back I got tickets too late for a Bijou reservation and so booked instead at Selva Grill. When you think about it, Selva is much better and it’s only a 2 minute walk. Also, Bijou is jammed opera nights while Selva gets a later crowed and is fairly empty at 5:30 – 6:00 PM.

                              1. re: Longboat

                                Love the Selva Grill.. I remember when it was a little hole in the wall in a strip mall at Clark and Swift! Their food is wonderful! . Canvas Cafe had it's ups and downs. The first time we went we had a fantastic meal, could hardly wait to return. Unfortunately the return was no where near the first meal. Sort of lost interest after that.

                  2. re: Mother of four

                    Mother of four:
                    ate at Duvals Friday night. Ceci was out with a bad back. They now offer early birds from 4:30 to 6:00 so when we arrived at 7:30 the place started to empty out. When the early birds all left, only two tables were occupied including ours. Food was just OK.... Service was good, but the waitress talked way too much. They only had 3-varities of fish left, so that was very limited. I had the chicken and it was good. Wife had a fish that was tasteless, and so did the other couple. Calamari was excellent as well as the salads. Little surprised that on Friday evening 8pm -- it was empty.
                    (Owner) Wes said they need to do some advertising. I hope they can bring it back as I love the food, but the atmosphere in this new place is just OK..

                    1. re: irwin

                      Sorry to hear that. We had a very good experience and so did the friends we went with, who have returned at least two times. Maybe they should do away with the early birds!!
                      I feel this time of the year the restaurants are fairly empty due to holiday parties and such. They have done no advertising so I'm surprised that anyone is there.
                      Had a horrendous experience at Bijou Cafe Thur. night. They are definitly living on their reputation! Went with my golf group of eight woman. Their food was OK, mine was horrible, Veal Scallopini that was like shoe leather, but the worst was when the person that was clearing the table decided to throw the uneaten roll that was on a bread plate to the middle of the table to land in the bread basket, then the next throw was the container that held the butter! Totally unreal. From a restaurant that has entrees from $28 upward. Plus the only starch offered on any of the entrees was mashed potatoes... honestly that was it. My bill for horrible was $64! Never again.

                      1. re: Mother of four

                        Mother of four:
                        Wow-poor help can ruin the experience. I thought Bijou got a new chef that I heard was great. My wife does not like that restaurant because it needs a rehab. I heard great remarks about a new italian restaurant on 41 south across Mattisons 41 called "Puccini"s.
                        Need to give it a try....
                        Stay in touch, Irwin

                        7275 S Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34231

                        1. re: irwin

                          I totally agree with your wife.
                          Went to Puccini's in May, before we went back north. It was OK, best part was you could bring your own wine and no corkage fees, haven't returned since we have been back. Must get back to Lans, as we had a wonderful meal there, also Derick's.
                          Really wishing for a good Chinese restaurant, but I guess that's not going to happen.
                          We really should meet! Carole

                          1. re: Mother of four

                            just heard about a chinese restaurant on Cortez down by Cody's. Will chek it out and report back to you. We also love Lans.

                2. Not a fan of Panificio....prefer a tastier/zestier sauce and find their's too bland. Fillipo's at University and Lockwood Ridge is good if you like a thinner crust. Honeycrust Pizza on 17th Street not bad if you like a very thick layer of cheese.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hibeta

                    My only experience with Panificio pizza on Main: burnt. I've been going to Napoli's in Siesta Key Village for almost twenty years. Demetrios is a good place too.

                  2. Mattison 41 on 41!! Wonderful! Sit at the bar, share a caesar salad, a glass of wine and Pizza!! Thin, crisp crust, wonderful!!! Plus, you get some good music too!!

                    1. The best pizza I've found in Sarasota is Honeycrust at the run down shopping center at the corner of 17th Street and Lockwood Ridge Road.

                      But this is a loaded, cheese-heavy pizza and does not fit some people's preference for a super crisp crust and lighter topping arrangement.

                      I agree with the posters above about Il Panificio on Main Street, and this pizza fits the requirements listed above, but the amount of toppings is so light that I sometimes think that I am just eating a flavored, crispy crust. Still, good pizza!

                      I also think well of the El Greco pizza on Main Street, which falls about halfway between Honeycrust and Il Panificio on the loading question.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: gfr1111

                        Someone posted on this thread in April of 2012 and I ran across it. It wanted to update this entry. Sadly, Honeycrust sold its store around 2009 and is no longer in business.

                      2. This is my first post. I had to comment when I read the previous posts. As a transplanted New Yorker I will tell you that before Valentinos opened - there was no good pizza in Sarasota. I see Rico's didn't make your list - a lot of people rave about their pizza. It's gross. Ditto for all the other places mentioned. Atmosphere at Demetrios's is cute - owners always bring us out extra stuff to "taste", but don't eat the pizza. Our friends in St. Pete come down once a month to eat at Valentino's - its really good. They make you wait for it though. And, the staff is a bit surly especially to people with kids. Try the calamari pizza, or the mexican pizza. They're all good though.

                        1. Truly great Pizza can be found at Pontillo's on Superior in the Gulf Gate area.
                          Thin crust,tasty toppings...delicious!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: easily amused

                            I agree with that Pontillios is great

                          2. Filippo's Pizzeria‎ -
                            6392 N Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL‎ - (941) 360-8065‎

                            This place is my favorite - LOVE the thin crust.

                            I haven't noticed if they offer a pan/thick crust. If not, I'm not sure where to go. Any suggestions for a good thick crust pie near the Lakewood Ranch area?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: dvoncannon

                              Am I the only one who loves Patellini's? I have eaten at their downtown Main Street location, but I LOVE their take-out from the little dive on Whitfield Ave. It's got the thin NY style crust, but gets a little sloppy with a lot of toppings. I love it that way, tho' - my favorite pizza I have ever eaten!

                              1. re: gypsyrose

                                This is always good for pizza. Has been for more years than I can count. Didn't know they had a second location. Will try it for sure. Don't like a sloppy pizza when everything slides off with the first bite....too much watery sauce and toppings.

                            2. Believe it or not, the best pizza in Sarasota is on St. Armands Circle! Stop it....I see you laughing, but it's true. There's a terrific new Italian joint called Venezia, with a wood burning pizza oven, home made pasta, and a couple of outdoor tables. Individual pizzas are very good (not Star Tavern good for the Jersey folks). Definitely worth a try in a fun location that is not normally known for its food.

                              1. I have eaten in virtually every restaurant in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The most accurate way to describe the pizza, deli, Chinese, French and Italian food available?
                                GARBAGE! Having previously lived in NYC/Las Vegas/LA/Boca Raton, the only local restaurant that might survive in more competitive locales is the Beach Bistro.

                                21 Replies
                                1. re: retiredmd

                                  sorry, but you are living in the dark ages....
                                  Sounds like you hate Florida !!

                                  1. re: irwin

                                    Unfortunately, you are correct. With regard to the local "culinary arts", I am living in the "Dark Ages". I will repeat: The local fare is inconsistent garbage. And, please, Michelin Stars should not be mentioned in context with any local restaurant. I speak from experience having eaten in more than 30 Michelin 2 and 3 star restaurants in France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland during gastronomy tours.
                                    When you declared Divino's to be "the best Italian", I had to laugh. Clearly, you have never eaten REAL Italian food. Perhaps, you still believe Saddam held hidden WMDs?

                                    Divino Restaurant
                                    1766 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

                                    1. re: retiredmd

                                      dark ages...in the land of S L O W.....you are responding to a thread thats nearly 2 years old...wake up and smell the roses

                                      1. re: o.lynne

                                        Sometimes they just get reborn!! Nothing wrong with that.

                                      2. re: retiredmd

                                        retired, Sounds like you would be better served if you lived in Europe, vs. "Gastronomy tours" but, short of that , for the least expensive trip to Bologna you will ever take, try Bologna Cafe, S. Tamiami. Claudio & Barbara, recent transplants from Emilia Romagna, prepare and serve food and affetati that rivals A.F. Tamburini; all of Claudio's Salumi and Cheeses are direct imports from Italy, as he was in the Salumi/Formaggio distribution business in Italy.

                                        1. re: retiredmd

                                          We are definitely not anywhere near the Michelin range, and most of the restaurants here are very mediocre, but every once in a while a good one does pop up. Most of the small ones that used to be very good tried to get larger and that was the end of them. Have you tried Lans? It is quite decent.
                                          I do resent the prices these restaurants are charging for the very mediocre food they serve, but it's amazing what people will pay for and not complain.

                                          1. re: Mother of four

                                            I think pricing has to do, somewhat , in that the Sarasota area is a destination for vacationers

                                            1. re: ospreycove

                                              Maybe so, but spending anywhere from $80 to $100 a couple I do not appreciate food that is mediocre. If the tourists will stand for it they are really doing everyone a disservice. We seem to be going out for a good burger at Geckos, pizza at the bar area at Madison's or Sushi, more and more. Not happy with it, but that's the way it is. The sad part is restaurants that we used to enjoy we no longer go to.

                                              1. re: Mother of four

                                                mother, here is my short list of good food value places
                                                Pho Cali, Viet Pho, and other dishes
                                                Il Panificio, mentioned on this thread previously
                                                Jose's cuban, real homemade Cuban dishes, Cortez rd.
                                                Gold Dynasty, H.K. style Chinese N. Tamiami
                                                Southside Deli Hillview, Good breakfast and lunch
                                                Patrick's, Main St. hamburgers only!! Other dishes not great.
                                                Hickory Hollow, a bit of a drive, Ellenton, 301, but very good BBQ, etc.
                                                The Cafe atNew Pass Bait Shop, City Island, at bridge. unbeatable view, good b'fast sandwiches, burgers.
                                                Star Fish, now that the "Winter People" are leaving it is returning to controlled chaos! lol.. dinners, at sunset great, outside seating only, rain=closed

                                                Southside Deli
                                                1825 Hillview St, Sarasota, FL 34239

                                                Pho Cali
                                                1578 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

                                                Il Panificio
                                                1703 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                  Nancy's for BBQ just opened in the Burns Ct area. Haven't heard anything about it, but might be worth a try.
                                                  Went to Veg in Gulf gate after reading all the good reviews...the most tasteless bland food I have ever had.
                                                  Duvals, which we used to love, has really turned us off. They seem to be out of everything when we arrive a 7PM, their service is too good, meaning they need to give dinners space as they seem to be constantly on top of you, and the quality is not like it used to be.
                                                  Carrabba's Mussels are wonderful, just sit at one of the bar areas.
                                                  Did have a good meal at Libby's.
                                                  Spanish Point has new owners, so I heard, but it is a mob scene at the moment. Will try it when everyone leaves. Someone said it was the same owners of Casey Key Fish House, which I also like but not in season, but I don't know if that is true of not.
                                                  Patrick's will be closing soon. Supposed to reopen but who knows. Geckos has great burgers, not $5 but it beats going downtown.

                                                  7620 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, FL 32940

                                                  Casey Key Fish House
                                                  801 Blackburn Point Rd, Osprey, FL 34229

                                                    1. re: irwin

                                                      On 41 right past Bay St. on the right. Calico Corners is on the corner and once you cross over where the light is it's right there.

                                                        1. re: Mother of four

                                                          The only thing that is going for it is it's on the water. I don't have a clue what it's like, but I wouldn't go for the food! We used to go after golf for lunch but it was certainly nothing to write home about, just nice to be on the water. Do let me know what you think if you do get there.

                                                        2. re: irwin

                                                          had lunch at Spanish Pointe today.....
                                                          Great atmosphere, food just OK, service was great, but I hated the bendable plastic silverware and cardboard serving dish...
                                                          Casey Key puts this joint to shame.... They are not the same owners.....

                                                          Pointe Cafe
                                                          5100 W Lemon St Ste 108, Tampa, FL 33609

                                                          1. re: irwin

                                                            Good to know. I heard from a friend last night, that the food was pretty bad. Too bad, as I guess you only go there for the view and maybe shrimp to peel!!
                                                            But you do remember when Casey Key did have the plastic silverware, and of course they still have plastic wine glasses and dishes!! But, the food is good!

                                                            1. re: Mother of four

                                                              I guess the plastic silverware was before my time, but they still have the plastic wine glasses and dishes, but as you say, the food, service, variety, and staff is great......

                                                            2. re: irwin

                                                              I took my DDIL to lunch there today. It was really horrible, only fried fish, nothing grilled. We waited forever for our food, plus had to sit there inhaling smoke as I guess it's OK to smoke there; smart thing would have been to have just gotten up and continued on to Fish House. Will defiantly not return, too bad as the setting is so nice. New owners name of Pasquale!
                                                              Plus, no shrimp to peel!!

                                                2. re: retiredmd

                                                  I don’t entirely disagree with you on much of what you say although the area is better than you give it credit. I lived and worked in Paris – didn’t need gastronomy tours to dine well – and my wife went to La Varenne (look it up if you need to) – so I think we are able to assess French cooking. You say: Michelin Stars should not be mentioned in context with any local restaurant. Au contraire! Maison Blanche was located in Paris, had a Michelin star and the family (including chef) moved here. Maison Blanche continues to be one star (Paris) quality.

                                                  Maison Blanche
                                                  2605 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228

                                              2. re: retiredmd

                                                That's odd, I have lived in all those places with the exception of Boca, and I would beg to differ. While we may not have the quantity of eateries you find in these cities, we have plenty that rate comparably, as well as a few gems that could easily prosper in those cities.

                                                1. re: retiredmd

                                                  I don't know about the pizza, deli or Chinese (rarely don't eat that stuff) but I have to agree on the Italian being pretty much garbage (with the exception of the Bologna Cafe). On the French: Maison Blanche is excellent, and the owners had a Michelin starred restaurant of the same name in Paris. Beach Bistro and Selva Grill would be very successful anywhere.

                                                  On Sarasota/Manatee restaurants in general: many are very good but lack the superficial glitz that you may see elsewhere (I've lived in NYC, SF and Paris), particularly the glitz of Boca, Vegas and LA where you've lived.

                                                2. A girl from Long Island recommended D'Americo's Pizza to me. It is located on Highway 64, which will take you into Bradenton, if you stay on it. The pizzeria is west of I-75 about a quarter mile on the south side of the road, It sharres a building with a Dunkin' Donnuts/Baskin Robbins combo and is easy to miss. This is outstanding pizza--very New York in its approach and very different from Honey Crust, which I recommended above.

                                                  1. For pizza we love Venezia, 15 South, (both on St. Armands) Panifico, (downtown & building a future location in Gulf Gate Village) and Valentino's on Clark Rd.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: alpha16

                                                      We enjoy Bellacino's (Honore and University Parkway) for pizza......fresh ingredients and the best italian sausage.....please note that the pizza is difficult to classify (it's not thin Chicago style, it's not New York - it's Bellacino's).

                                                      BTW - the grinders at Bellacino's are fabulous especially the Chicago Steak and Stromboli,

                                                      Did I mention that bottled beer is $1???? Try it......you'll like it. Ask for Joe.

                                                      1. re: stefania

                                                        I vote for only the two !!!
                                                        Demetrio's on 41 South...............
                                                        El Greco on Main St....................
                                                        These guys been at it for a very long time. Its working, its paying, and its good!
                                                        The others are all trying to achieve, but have not made it....... Irwin

                                                        El Greco Cafe
                                                        1592 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

                                                        1. re: irwin

                                                          Have you tried the pizza at Mattison 41? If you like it thin and crisp plus a bit different the Bianca is wonderful. We go there on Sundays, before 7PM, sit at the high tops at the bar order a small pizza share a Caesar salad and have a nice 1/2 price glass of wine or two. Plus we get to listen to a guy play the piano! What more can you ask for!!

                                                          7275 S Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34231

                                                          1. re: Mother of four

                                                            Sounds great..
                                                            Will give it a try....

                                                      2. Pizza at the bar at Epicure on Main when Beppe is cooking. He is from Naples, and his pizza does honor to the Neapolitan tradition. That or Panificio are the two that I like.


                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: SaltyRaisins

                                                          The new Il Panificio in gulfgate is just as good as their Main Street loc, but the ambiance is waaaay better. It is a true pizzeria with plenty of tables and pasta, sandwiches and their 20" pizzas, also still available by the slice. Espresso bar beer and wine.
                                                          To see the new place click on link below.

                                                          Main Street Bar
                                                          335 E Main St, Bartow, FL 33830

                                                          Il Panificio
                                                          1703 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

                                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                                            I love Panificio. The owner is an "off-the-boat" Italian man who lived in NJ for years before moving down here. I adore their sausage and pepperoni slices.

                                                            I also like Soprano's on SR 70 in between I-75 and Lakewood Ranch Blvd. The pies are better than the individual slices, but the garlic knots are to die for. They melt in your mouth, and you don't even need the marinara if you don't want it.

                                                            1703 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

                                                        2. Riccos in Gulfgate has very good thin crust pizza. The tomato sauce has a little kick to it which is very tasty. This pizza gets my vote.

                                                          1. My favorite pizza is in Bradenton. Michelangelo's at LWR Blvd and SR 70 is great, probably my favorite. Verona's at SR 70 and 33 St E is a very close second. They serve different style pies, so really they are both my favorites, depending on what kind of mood I'm in. Michelangelo's has very thin crust. Verona's is a more substantial pizza. They both know how to throw a pie and use great cheese. Verona's meatball is to die!

                                                            1. We had a very good pizza the other night at Panificio - Gulf Gate. Chewy, thin crust with good sauce and cheese.

                                                              1703 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

                                                              1. Hi CapeCodGuy,
                                                                I just joined this site and I am looking forward to really enjoying it, and benefitting from it.
                                                                Ironically, I live in Sarasota and lived in Chatham for four years and wish I still lived in Chatham.
                                                                The food is so much better on the Cape and all of you are making me so wanting to be back there right now as I have fond memories of most of these restaurants you are naming. I hope to get up there this summer.

                                                                1. Il Panifico in Gulf Gate? Worst experience at a restaurant EVER. Traci - the owner or owners wife is absolutely the rudest person I have ever met. I ordered 3 slices of pizza to go, an Italian sub and a slice of Napoleon... They let my pizza slices sit on the counter for 5 min after leaving the oven. The entire time Traci was on the phone talking over the slices and putting her hair over them while I waited at the register watching in disbelief. Then a worker took a Napoleon from the display and shoved it into a paper bag - not a pastry box. The bag was almost ready to break because it was so wet from the pastry. When I told Traci if I could get it in a box and that I did not want the pizza after seeing it sit out (I did not mention anything about her talking over it to not embarrass her) that had been sitting out and she flew into an absolute RAGE and said it was a mistake and "don't you make mistakes!?!". I told her I couldn't believe she was yelling and treating me like this when they are the ones that made the mistakes. She said she didn't care and I didn't like it "tough". I paid for the sub, Napoleon (now placed in the proper container) and drinks and told her that she lost a very good customer tonight. Then while I walked out she started clapping and singing and taunting me with around 10 customers in the restaurant. I never experienced anything like that in my life. Can you imagine, if they openly treat customers like this (now I know I am not the only one from the reviews) how careful do you think they treat the food they serve you? No way will I ever go back there. I am writing this review in the hopes that it save someone else from experiencing what I went through tonight, I wouldn't want anyone to go through something like that. I tried contacting the sister restaurant downtown and that is when I realized she was the owner and that my complaints were going to be useless. I have never taken the time to write a review before, this experience moved me so much I just had to say something. I will never forget this terrible experience.

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Sunnydown

                                                                    Wow, this is a tough act to follow. I enjoyed Il Panifico on Main St. last month enough to chirp about it now. I'm a spoiled pizza brat from New Haven. Il Panifico was good, and I didn't have any drama.

                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                      The Main Street location has great pizza by the slice.. I only had a bad experience with the Gulf Gate location. Whenever my family and myself go out to eat, I can handle slow wait times, food cold, etc., but seriously - she applauded me out the door singing insults. I did not know she was the owner's wife until I contacted Main Street to talk with the owner about his employee's behavior. Even the person on the phone (Main Street location) told me she is always like that and explained she can act like that because she is the owner's wife. It's a shame, because we love good pizza and good Italian food. I only continued to purchase the Napoleon, sub and drink for my daughter - or I would have put everything back. I have lived here since '96 - I've had bad food and bad service at some places I frequent, and still will give the server a gratuity - etc. We love Sarasota and the different variety of restaurants. But never will I go back there.

                                                                      1. re: Sunnydown

                                                                        sorry to hear of your experience but do not give up the ship...
                                                                        Travel to Main St location and you will find the same good quality but much better trained help.....

                                                                        1. re: irwin

                                                                          I am always on the look out for a delicious slice of pizza! Thank you, Irwin. :)

                                                                          1. re: Sunnydown

                                                                            Sunny- I know the feeling and I will not patronize the gulf gate location.

                                                                            By the way I went to my old favorite pizza joint in Sarasota Filippo's not too long ago. I was disappointed. Their crisp crust was now soggy and their slightly sweet sauce wasn't the same. Probably won't return there. Very disappointed.

                                                                            I must say Michaelangelo's on state road 70 has produced some pretty good consistent pizza for quite some time.

                                                                            1. re: lovespinach

                                                                              Thank you for letting me now about Michelangelo's. I will absolutely try it. I just want good consistent pizza!

                                                                              Have you every tried Red Elephant Pizza and Grill on University Parkway? Curious to know what their pizza is like...

                                                                              Thanks again for your help!

                                                                              1. re: Sunnydown

                                                                                For a couple of bucks more; sit at the bar at Mediterreneo,(Main St.and rt. 301, Sarasota) and get a true Wood Oven Pizza, made by a Pizzaiola, who is proud of his craft, probably one of the best pizzas around. they have an individual pizza that is more than enough for two along with a nice cold Birra Moretti. No slices though........

                                                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                  Now that sounds delicious! I will try it (with a Birra Moretti). :)

                                                                  2. Wow, I am surprised no one has mentioned the one TRUE pizza place..Goodfellows on Clark.
                                                                    They. make authentic southern Italian pizza in a wood burning oven with true Italian, quality ingredients. Crispy, thin crust-reminds me of Rome pizza in every way.

                                                                    And, they serve "housemade" wine that's just like Papa makes in Naples.. and make your own salad dressing using an assortment of aged Balsamic and infused olive oils. The Best in SRQ

                                                                    1. I've just had the best crispy thin crust pizza that I've had in about 10 years at Shaner's downtown. God, it was awesome. My wife is not all that fond of thin crust pizza but she was fighting me for the last piece. If you prefer thin crust pizza, run, don't walk to Shaner's. BTW, I think the Clark location has closed.

                                                                      1. That's terrible you were treated that way, Sunnydown. I wouldn't set foot in the place again if that happened to me. If you want a good sub go across the street to Piccolo.

                                                                        Still looking for the perfect pizza place in SRQ. Will try Goodfella's and Valentino's when we go back after the holidays, have heard good things about them. Was going to try il Panificio but not now.

                                                                        1. Il Panificio still tops the list for Best Pizza in Sarasota for us.
                                                                          We have been there twice in the past week... Main St and Gulf Gate.
                                                                          Both Locations served our order in a professional, courteous manner.. Their Thin crust Pizza can't be beat.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: easily amused

                                                                            Agree - and I like the by-the-slice feature that offers nice varieties of fresh pies, hottened up when you order them. Usually 2 slices is plenty.

                                                                          2. All I can say is DON'T go to Goodfellows. They had lots of great reccomendations on Yelp,etc.,but it was the worst pizza I have ever had. Thin crust was thin,but with nothing on it. Honestly I never found the cheese nor the sundried tomatoes,and there were just flakes of artichokes. Just horrible,and the homemade wine was unbelievable bad. We all left hungrey. The wait staff was great,but.......!