On the same rainy Saturday in Clearwater, Florida, eating became more important than usual to spare ourselves the boredom. My friend looked up this French Bistro, Salt N Pepper, and thought we could just show up and be seated for an early dinner. For two women from NYC, we thought little of the local demand. We were left out in the rain and got diverted to the next best thing down the street – Cristinos Coal Oven Pizza on South Fort Harrison Ave.
Cirstinos was busy. The parking lot was packed and people were standing outside waiting to get in. Luckily, they had a table for us quickly. If you think of a slightly larger pizza joint in an upscale town in Westchester, you will have Cristinos. The place was buzzing with customers, the ovens were hot, and the decor was outdated. A mom and pop shop for sure. But obviously, it is also a local favorite observed by how packed the dinning room was.
Garlic Shrimp: Fresh shrimp sautéed in a white wine garlic sauce.
Margherita with Prosciutto – Tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, oregano.
Quattro Formaggi with Sausage Tomato sauce, mozzarella, goat cheese, ricotta, gorgonzola, basil and oregano. Bad combo. Ricotta was a very bad addition as one of the cheeses. Trader Joe’s frozen Quattro Formaggi is better.
The toughest decision for me was to decide whether I should have the sausage or pepperoni with the four cheese pie. If I were to get a regular pizza from a pizzeria, Cristinos would have been acceptable. But as a restaurant, this is way below par when compared to Fortina’s in Armonk. It was certainly a let down from the French Bistro food to pizzeria pizza. I was just happy that we were fed and sheltered from the rain. Pretty low standards.
Here is to a sunny Sunday! Buon appetito!
This experience took place at
Cristinos Coal Oven Pizza
1101 S Ft Harrison Ave,
Clearwater, FL 33756