Yesterday was not only celebrated by love struck Valentine’s everywhere, but it also happened to be Ash Wednesday.
As my husband Jim and I are not only forty year hospitality veterans, but also devout Catholics we needed to factor in a couple of carefully considered pieces of criteria for our dining options.
One, we absolutely could not eat any meat whatsoever and Two, we did not want to be anywhere close to any restaurant at all past 5:00 when vast numbers of lovebirds would begin to line up two by two at the door.
Therefore, at 3:00 in the afternoon we decided to head towards downtown St. Pete to one of our favorite restaurants on Central Avenue.
Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana and Pastaria filled number one of our essential criteria as they serve one of the finest Margherita Pizza’a anywhere.
The Bavaro’s well written website shares some very intriguing history on the beginnings of pizza within sixteenth century Naples culture when it was served strictly as a street food.
The website goes on to say that it wasn’t until 1889 in honor of the Queen Consort of Italy Margherita Savoy that a Neopolitan Pizza maker named Raffaele Esposito created the “Pizza Margherita” by using red tomatoes, white mozzarella and green basil to represent the national colors of Italy as seen on the Italian flag.
Dan Bavaro and his wife Anna- Maria have gone to great lengths after leaving their New Jersey home and opening their first restaurant in March of 2009 in Tampa to provide the most authentic Napoletena wood fired pizza imaginable.
Their ovens are hand crafted in Napoli with materials such as Santa Maria bricks for durability and Italian Mosaic tiles for the perfect exterior aesthetic.
At a 900 degree oven temperature we were able to fill criteria number two by ordering, being served and completely devouring our crispy and perfectly executed pizza in one hours time.
We did allow ourselves a Moretti draft beer, but only one in observance of a day in which we believe a certain amount of fasting is appropriate.
Next time in we are less restricted by our religious convictions, we may want to indulge in the Tre-Carne Pizza with Soppresata, Proscuitto and Spicy Italian sausage.
I would also be very interested in the Penne ala Vodka with San Marsano Tomato, Pancetta and onions. I think that would go very nicely with the Mediterranean Salad of baby spinach, pine nuts, red onion, grape tomato and feta cheese with a fig Vinaigrette.
On Wednesday’s between 5-10 p.m. and Friday’s between 11-3 p.m. you can take advantage of 50% off Vino and Birre. I think a Sangiovese, Caldora or a Chianti, Casa di Monte would pair nicely with the items that I have mentioned above.
No matter the occasion you simply can’t go wrong by trying Bavaro’s freshly made dishes that include only the finest of ingredients and a whole lot of love.
Patti Abate and her husband are loving our opportunity to enjoy the fun restaurants and taverns of St. Pete, Tampa Bay and beyond. We have great chefs here and delicious foods,…and wines & craft beers. We can’t contain ourselves, but we are loving the fact that we can be so positive in sharing our food blog thoughts.
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And Thank you from Patti and Jim