Cristino’s has Florida locations in Clearwater and Tampa, and I ate at their restaurant in the Ybor City District of Tampa. It featured nice indoor and outdoor dining areas as well as a menu with much more than just coal oven pizza, such as appetizers, salads, pasta, paninis, fish, and gelato. I began my meal with their Mozzarella In Carozza appetizer, which were basically giant fried mozzarella sticks. The breading of the Mozzarella In Carozza is soft and airy, which almost made it taste like elephant ears stuffed with cheese, minus the cinnamon.
Cristino’s offers several different 12 and 16-inch pizzas, and I ordered their Margherita DeLusso consisting of tomato sauce, homemade mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil and oregano. The crust on my Margherita DeLusso was done just as I like it; only very slightly blackened and still soft. The sauce was also excellent, and it paired nicely with the slices of tomato. You could tell the cheese was the good sliced mozzarella as opposed to shredded, and it was very flavorful. Lastly, even the taste of the basil stood out, and it was very noticeably missing on bites without it.
While I was unable to try to pizzeria right next door, Bernini’s, I still highly recommend Cristino’s without being able to compare the two. Ybor City seemed to be a very bar-heavy area of Tampa, but Cristino’s offers a nice relaxing dining environment while also having a small selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.
What I Ate: Margherita DeLusso
Cristino’s Coal Oven Pizza Restaurant
1701 E 8th. Avenue
Tampa, FL 33605