For a Florida restaurant, 25 years is more than a long time—it’s practically an eternity. Pazzo! Cucina Italiana has survived because of attention to detail, traditional yet innovative cuisine, fair prices and caring service. The restaurant is part of the Culinary Concepts Group, which also includes Yabba Island Grill, Chops City Grill in Naples and The Saloon Wood Fired Grill in Estero.
The new executive chef at Pazzo! is Abel Tirado, a dynamic 30-year-old with culinary school training and steak house roots. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Port Charlotte, Florida, Tirado has taken his childhood memories of comfort food in his mother’s kitchen and applied it to Pazzo! His menu is a roll call of classics such as Spaghetti alla Chitarra and butternut squash ravioli, but is also studded with new dishes such as his Wagyu Tagliata (sliced sirloin with charred peppers, radicchio and balsamic vinegar) and the Berkshire Pork Chop with crispy potatoes.
The wine list is heavy with bottles from California and Italy, and two dozen selections are available by the glass or quartino (a quarter-liter carafe). The extensive bar program includes craft cocktails, amaro, bellinis and sorbetinis (a Pazzo! creation—homemade sorbetto and gelato-inspired cocktails). Diners may also sample spirits in a flight of four one-ounce pours.
Above all, the atmosphere is fun, vibrant, and a bit Pazzo (crazy).
835 5th Ave. South; (239) 484-8494