Italian Sandwich (Tampa)
Some kind of food nostalgia has overcome me because I have had four Italian sandwiches in the last week. My quest for the best continues but here are the four that I have had recently (in order of merit):
1. Plateroti's Italian Gourmet- 1621 Gulf to Bay, Clearwater
This place is not actually a sandwich shop but the owner was nice enough to make me one anyway. All in all, it was a very good sandwich. The meat/cheese/lettuce/vinaigrette ratio was excellent. I could easily make this my go to Italian sandwich. The owner said that his cousin also has a sandwich shop in Clearwater called Pronto Italian Deli (1443 S. Belcher Rd). Anyone tried it?
2. Castellano and Pizzo- 4200 S. Henderson, Tampa
This was also a very good sandwich. My main complaint is that the sandwich was a bit on the dry side but that could be easily remedied by asking for extra vinaigrette.
3. Mazzaro's- 2909 22nd Avenue N, St. Petersburg
Mazzaro's was a surprisingly distant third place for me. Something turns me off about how they construct the sandwich. All of the ingredients get rolled together. I feel like I am eating a wrap, a word that I don't like to use let alone have to eat the real thing. I love Mazzaro's but their Italian sandwich doesn't really move me. It's too bad because it is always a pleasure to go there and its very convenient for the beaches I normally hit.
4. Vincenzo's Panini- 2454 N. McMullen Booth Rd. #205, Clearwater
A web search turned up Vincenzo's (http://www.vpanini.com/home). Unfortunately, the menu is more enticing than the food. The sandwich was fine and I am certain that I would eat there if I lived in that neighborhood but it wasn't the kind of thing that will get me to drive across town (or two).
I am confident that one of you knows where to find an Italian sandwich in its platonic form. If the sandwich were going to mirror the one that I yearn for it would have genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, prosciutto, and provolone. Anyone seen anything like this around that they would recommend?
Pronto Italian Deli
1443 S Belcher Rd, Clearwater, FL 33764
Now Cass, you need to do a better job of stating your title for the thread. I read your title and thought it was going to be over in Tampa. But when I read your post, three of the four places are in Pinellas County.
I know, you meant to Tampa Bay. Yes? LOL
Plateroti's is an excellent place. Been going there for years. Nice owners too.
John, you are totally correct. I am still in the habit of using Tampa to designate the region from when the board included all of Florida. Maybe I will try something like (TB/CLW/StP) next time. The truth is that even that is too restrictive as I would be delighted to drive further for an excellent Italian sandwich. So what about Porto's? Have you been there? Is it worth checking out. Bill, I sympathize with you. That's happened to me before as well with Chowhound. I thought I was being censored but I think it was just a tech error. I look forward to hearing what you have to say about this when you get the nerve to fool with it again.
I had a Muffulatto sandwich at Mazarro's last week and you could not ask for a better Italian cold cuts sandwich. Especially here in Florida.
Yes, they did fold the ingredients , a la a wrap, but 10 seconds with a knife fixed that.
BTW ,where can you get a REAL Italian hot beef sandwich in the Tampa area?
Managed a detour to Pronto's on my way out to Tarpon Springs yesterday. I liked the sandwich but that was principally because it had a lot of vinegar and giardiniera (if you go, definitely get the spicy Italian). The meat and cheese were nothing special. I am still searching for a great Italian. If anyone has suggestions, let me know.