Little Italy's Family Restaurant and Catering is one of the coziest restaurants in Tampa. Located near the Tampa Premium Outlets, this family-owned Italian eatery is the perfect place to stop after a successful day of shopping. Little Italy was opened by a couple with the sweetest love story and you can see it written all over their restaurant. Wedding photos, quotes, and fairy lights surround you while you dine, allowing you to reminisce in their happiness.
Chefs and owners of Little Italy, Carl & Jessica Meyers, first moved to Tampa, they opened a food truck called Little Italy's meatballs. But soon after, their Italian family recipes became quick favorites until they opened their first brick-and-mortar restaurant. While for the past few months, they have been operating on a limited menu, they have officially released more menu items so now is your chance to head over if you have never tried Little Italy's Family Restaurant and Catering.
While we were dining in, there were tons of people who came in to pick up a to-go order so I know I will have to be back if there is ever a time I want some good Italian takeout which is hard to come by. They have tons of family deals if you are looking for something to pick up for the family on your way home from work or for weekend lunch. As it states in their name, they also cater parties and events which I think is the perfect idea because Italian Food is universally loved by people of all ages so you know all of your guests will be quite pleased.
No matter whether you choose to dine in, take home or cater, there is sure to be something on the menu for you.
To start, I highly recommend the Garlic Knots. These were some of the most unique knots I have ever had. Typically I feel like garlic knots are similar among all pizza restaurants, but these had a perfectly crispy outside and soft, chewy inside. What is their secret? They DEEP FRY the pizza dough to make the knots instead of baking them. Now that I have had deep-fried garlic knots, I don't know if I can ever go back. They were buttery heaven that melted in your mouth with every bite. They are served with their homemade marinara sauce as well, which I honestly could eat with a spoon because it was semi-sweet but was complemented with a beautiful tang.
If you would rather have your garlic bread baked instead of deep-fried, that of course is an option as well. Their baked garlic bread is topped with melted mozzarella cheese and their secret garlic butter. Or for another Italian classic, go for their bruschetta: lightly toasted garlic bread topped with celery, tomatoes, basil, and vinaigrette. You might just have to bring the whole family so you can order all of these appetizers.
When you pick up a menu, you will see that they specifically have this section labeled as Monster Calzones. Normally, I would just assume that they are calling their calzones "monsters" to promote ordering of one of their menu items. But do not be fooled. While we were looking over the menu, the table next to us had their calzone delivered, and I think I momentarily lost my breath. The Calzone is the size of a large pizza folded in half and stuffed to the brim with some incredible combinations including:
- LITTLE ITALY'S CALZONE
Pizza Dough Folded in half encasing Italian Sausage, Bell Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms, Pepperoni, and Mozzarella Cheese melted over our house-made sauce.
- CHICKEN PARMIGIANA CALZONE
Pizza dough folded in half encasing Chicken Parmigiana mozzarella melted over our house-made sauce.
- SPICY BUFFALO CHICKEN W/ RANCH DRESSING CALZONE
Pizza dough folded in half encasing Spicy Buffalo Chicken mozzarella melted over Little Italy’s Buffalo Sauce.
- TRADITIONAL CALZONE
Pizza Dough Folded in half encasing Ricotta Cheese and Mozzarella Cheese melted over our House-Made Sauce.
We ordered both the Little Italy's calzone and the Chicken Parmigiana Calzone. These two Calzones would easily be enough food for 4-5 people but only $31.00??? This is by far one of the most well-priced restaurants in the Lutz area. Both of the Calzones came out piping hot from the oven. The crust was incredible. It could definitely be eaten on its own without the fillings but these unique toppings made it all the better. I have never seen a chicken parmesan pizza or calzone before but it is a genius idea. It is all your favorite chicken parmesan flavors engulfed in a buttery garlic dough and baked. The amount of Italian Sausage that came in our Little Italy Calzone was also jaw-dropping. The sausage had a nice kick to it which went well with the sweeter dough and sauce. The veggies were slightly al dente which added a nice textural difference to the bite. I could not recommend enough that you come here to try their calzones.
Pastas, Raviolis and Lasagna
If you are in the mood for something a little different, there are plenty of other classic Italian dishes on the menu. When we went, they had just sold out of their lasagna which I have been told is like no other, so next time we head over to Little Italy, I will definitely be ordering a piece. If you are looking for a vegetarian option, they do offer Eggplant Parmigiana and Eggplant rollatini! Here are a few of their newly expanded menu items:
- ALFREDO: Made to order, silky & creamy Alfredo sauce over linguine pasta. (Add chicken, $3.00) | $16
- EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA & PASTA: Freshly breaded eggplant and mozzarella cheese placed above Grandma’s homemade tomato gravy (sauce) with pasta. | $16
- SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS OR SAUSAGE: Grandma’s homemade tomato gravy (sauce) over nested spaghetti topped with house-made meatballs or sausage. | $14
- LASAGNA: Layers of lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and homemade meat sauce, baked to perfection. | $16
- LOBSTA’ RAVIOLI: Sweet, tender chunks of whole Maine lobster meat are blended, wrapped in egg pasta with a choice of Pink Sauce or Roasted Garlic Butter Shallot Sauce. | $19
They also serve stuffed ravioli, including fillings such as lobster ravioli, mushrooms or keep it simple with cheese. Of course, the best part of any pasta dish is the homemade sauce so Little Italy has got you covered. You can buy a quart or a gallon of their housemade tomato sauce and fra Diavolo sauce as well as orders of their meatballs to go.
So if you are looking for the best Italian Food in Tampa, Little Italy would be on the top of my list!! They are simultaneously classy but affordable with one of the best Calzones I have had. Mom and Pop restaurants are my absolute favorite and this is one of the best. If you want to support more local Tampa Restaurants, please follow me and check out my other articles!!
With Love and Good Food,