Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizza is very popular in NYC and they’ve expanded all over the US. Our visit to Grimaldi’s Tampa in Westshore Plaza resulted in pizza bliss and appetizer/salad miss.
We’ve tried to get into Grimaldi’s Tampa on a few occasion and always seemed to arrive at the peak of dinner. If you get there at 6pm on a Friday, expect to find a line out the door. Today, we arrived a little earlier and got lucky and seated right away. The décor is very NYC with red and white checkered tablecloths and all kinds of cool pictures on the walls. The lighting fixtures made of re-purposed wine bottles – really cool. We also noticed that the dining room is not very large, so the outside patio is probably more for necessity than atmosphere.
We started with house glasses of wine ($4) which are brought out in small carafes. While the price seemed reasonable, the pour seemed to get lost in the oversized wine glass.
Grimaldi’s Tampa menu is all about the pizza here (as expected) with a calzone section. If you are expecting a variety of Italian appetizers, Grimaldi’s keeps it simple with only salads. Salads are served in ‘small’ and ‘large’ sizes and our server indicated they are larger than typical sized and intended to share. Ordering was smooth and our salad came out in maybe 15 minutes.
Antipasto small ($9) – Fresh Mozzarella, oven roasted sweet red peppers, Genoa Salami, olives and fresh baked bread. It seems that every Italian restaurant had its own version of the ‘Antipasto’. We have become accustomed to the ‘iceburg lettuce’ version with the addition of the meats and cheeses, making for quite the tasty salad.
When the Antipasto at Grimaldi’s Tampa came out, we were rather disappointed. While this version may be more ‘traditional’, it didn’t really feel like it was a good value. The fresh mozzarella was the star of the plate and very creamy and fresh. We also enjoyed the Genoa Salami, but felt the portion size was way too light for the price. The olives, while tasty, were also a bit light in number and the red peppers were a bit too watery. The bread was a bit dense and didn’t really have that ‘fresh baked’ taste, which really made this dish a miss for us. We did notice that the large version of a Caesar salad served to the table beside us looked amazing, so that’s on our wish list for a future visit.
Pepperoni and Fresh Garlic large pizza ($16, plus $2 each of our toppings). The pizza looked amazing and we couldn’t wait to take a bite. The crust was cooked perfectly and still crisp from the oven. I really like thin crust and found that this was the perfect version and Jeff was even a fan. The sauce had a nice balance of flavor and the extra garlic we picked was just the added kick we really liked. The pepperoni and cheese were high quality and worked very well together. We did a pretty good job polishing off most of this pizza and had a few pieces to take home.
When our server came back with our leftovers, we were a bit surprised to find the slices just wrapped in foil and stacked on top of each other. Since they were wrapped a bit warm, they stuck together and didn’t really hold up in the left-over test.
While the Antipasto salad was a bit of a miss for us, the pizza at Grimaldi’s Tampa Coal Brick-Oven Pizza was definitely at the top of our list. We’d definitely head back for the pizza. You might want to dine-in when you try it for the first time, as brick-oven pizza is really best right out of the oven. Also, at peak hours, the place is packed and can be a bit on the loud side.
Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizza is located at 253 Westshore Plaza B1B, Tampa, FL 33609