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About Pensare Italian Bistro
Pensare Italian Bistro makes its home in the charming downtown area of Dunedin. A cozy and somewhat upscale eatery, it offers an attractive and stylish dining space and a menu consisting of both traditional and contemporary Italian fare. Some dishes served at Pensare Italian Bistro include tortellini, chicken parmesan and ravioli stuffed with both ricotta and lobster.
Open during the dinner hour, Pensare Italian Bistro has a full-service bar with an extensive wine collection as well as beers, cocktails and other spirits. A wraparound patio further provides for outdoor seating which allows patrons to enjoy the warm Florida weather while eating.
Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
$31 to $50
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
We can arrange catering for special events, ranging from $20 - $40 per person...
Ample Free Parking next to restaurant
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Special Events & Promotions:
Wine pairings with dinner
Theme dinners (i.e. seafood, pasta night, risotto)
Very Nice Italian Cuisine
On Mainstreet in Dunedin we were very pleased with the quality pasta, veal and seafood Italian cuisine.
Appetizers were good sized and portions nice, also salad or soup included w entrée so plenty of food overall. Seemed pretty authentic and tasted great- will go back for sure- entrees around $20 were very reasonable! Exceelent bread and olive tapenade.
going down hill fast
very disappointing. we have dined here numerous times (30-40)with good results. we always make reservations , on the day after Valentines day we were escorted to a table in the bar , we refused , then how about outside ? we refused and requested the dining room , ( 12 diners seated there ) . our waiter was gruff, had only enough water for 1gl. never returned for the until we asked ,bread did not arrive at the table until after the salad . the pasta seafood dish had one unopened mussel , which should not have been plated. Didn't seem like they knew what they were doing nor did they care . this was our go to place for Italian food ,don't know what happened to them but we have to think twice before going again . TOO BAD.
Review For Pensare Italian Bistro
Our experience was not as pleasurable as hoped. Made a reservation over a week in advance and was seated outside (inside tables were available) without being asked if it was ok. We had to request inside seating.
Service was marginal. On one of our meals the sauce was burnt. The only option given by our waiter (who took his time asking us if everything was ok) was to have a new meal prepared, which was not acceptable, since the second person was already well into his meal. We thought that we would have at least been offered a free desert but, that never occurred. A credit for the bad meal would have been the correct thing to offer (the chef peaked around the corner a few times but, never came over to see us).
Service by our waiter was less than stellar. He was quick to try to sell us a $60.00 bottle of wine but, was slow in most other areas (especially regarding the bad meal).
Not planning a return.
Decent, if you want a break from of your favorites
Hostess was accommodating after we were late for our RSVP the night before Valentine's because the streets were blocked off by a festival. Service was above average, competent and professional waiter. Wine selection was good and prices were OK. Our bottle wasn't quite as good as recommended. My girlfriend got the snapper, which she was happy with and looked pretty good. My salmon asparagus was really average compared to what's out there. We would go back (and will). Probably won't order the salmon.
Seated as scheduled 6:30. Ordered wine and cocktails and an app. waitress then wanted our dinner order before we even settled in. Hardly any Bolegnese on my wife's dish, veal saltibocca was avg. Our friends picked up the tab and very unhappy. All four will not return.
To Pensare's credit , we arrived early , before they opened , and the let us have drinks at the bar , this was good ! I asked for a gl of Malbec and a Vodka n soda , bartender asked if I had a vodka preference and I Clearly stated no , the well is fine . Upon getting my check , however , she charged me $8.00 a piece for Absolut , clearly not what I ordered ! At the table , our server stated that he was the Manager , keys hanging out of his back pocket n dressed in jeans , everyone else was in black , not professional ! Then He dropped the food n came back just as we were finishing .... He then asked how everything was and I said " This isn't Potato Gnocchi " and he then said " That's what the package says " . It seemed to me that he was not happy about waiting on two women ... To my surprise , he took $5.00 off the check , 10 % . I do not think I will return , just didn't meet the standards that were in place the 1st few times I dined there ! Good Luck
My lady and I went to Pensare on 2/12/2016 for an early, romantic Valentine's Day event.
We got our requested table at 6:00PM and were most happy with that and our server was most pleasant.
A group of two ladies and a man came and sat at the table next to us and that was a disaster. They were too loud and amateurish for our taste. When I requested to be reseated at another table, since the place was only half filled at that time, I was only offered a table outside. I was told those tables were already reserved for other guests. When I questioned it those guests had specifically asked for those tables, I was not given a complete response.
We are local to the area and have been here many times. I surely felt they could have found a way to mange the concerns of a regular customer.
As a result of the hostess's inability to seat us elsewhere, we finished our appetizer and drink and left without even ordering the main course.
Customers in this business are hard to find and each time they come into your place should be treated very well so they come back. That certainly was not the case that evening.
Early Valentines Date
My wife and I were looking for a date night place in or around our new winter home in Dunedin. We had heard good things about Pensare and decided to give it a try. We will be back even though I did not really enjoy my entree, which was one of the evenings specials - a seafood Pappardelle with grouper, shrimp and scallops. For $35 I thought it should have had a bit more taste and more than a small piece of fish, two scallops and maybe three shrimp along with many small clams. It wasn't bad, mind you, I just expected more. My wife had the Pappardelle Bolognese and thoroughly enjoyed it. We really liked the crisp salads, fresh hot bread and olive oil tapenade. We will be coming back again for another date night.
An Italian gem in Dunedin
A very nice neighborhood Italian restaurant; however, think white tablecloth and varied Italian menu. Located at the end of the Main Street dining and entertainment district in Dunedin, there is ample parking in the public lot next door; and you can stroll Main Street before or after dinner. Pensare is small and seems to have a wide following so I recommend making a reservation to avoid waiting for a table. Tables are close together and it can be a little noisy when the dining room is full - my advice is to roll with it - if you want quiet and romantic, you should go somewhere else - if you are looking for a good time and good food (and a bargain to boot), then this is the place. There is outside dining available - we haven't dined outside but in nice weather it's probably a fun spot. The wine list is modest (and moderately priced) but you should be able to find something you like; we "discovered" a Vermentino that we now have on our "to buy" list. Service is friendly and competent. But the food is where Pensare shines - a wide range of creative choices - plus some basic pasta dishes if that's all you want - all are well-prepared and attractively-presented. Daily specials compete with the regular menu and make the selections that much more difficult - nice problem to have. Some day, we'll make it to the dessert menu.
This restaurant is well worth the price ($$$) the meal will be spoken of for years to come. We are making plan for our next visit to Tampa, this restaurant will defiantly be apart of the visit. 8 thumbs up, from start to finish an exceptional experience.
Always a treat
This was my third visit to Pensare and I will return. Purchased gift certificates on my last visit to encourage friends to go. Four nice selections for your salad, great bread, well prepared entrees for every taste, delicious cheesecake. Do not drink wine but my guest enjoyed the house merlot. I enjoy a glass of IPA and Pensare serves one I enjoy. Have dined with five friends, all who agree Pensare is worth a second, third, fourth...visit.
Pensare noise level is high so I make reservation early. Have not eaten outside but probably a good option if weather good and you dine later.
A Dunedin Gem
Pensare's is a very good and very reasonable Italian restaurant in the heart of Dunedin. We had avoided trying it for a while, but decided to give it a shot on a Monday night. Why Monday? Because that's typically a slow night and you can really see whether or not a restaurant is interested in its customer base, and what level of attention to detail they give to their food.
I'm happy to say Pensare's passed with flying colors.
Everything about the evening was solid, but that isn't to say there isn't room for improvement. The pasta and seafood dishes offer great value, and the only truly expensive things on the menu are the steaks. Our party of four had various pasta dishes and each was highly flavorful and fresh.
If I could offer one criticism as a customer with fine dining work experience, it would be that the menu depends too heavily on overwhelming the proteins with sauces, creams, and cheeses. A few options that focus more on fresh flavors would be a welcome addition.
One note: from the outside, the sign (with a logotype based on the Italian flag) suggests a mid-tier restaurant that does little more than red sauces with cheese. Pensare's is much more. Try their house ravioli, stuffed with lobster and other seafood, served with scallops and shrimp in a tomato cream sauce. The sauce was smooth, and the ravioli were perfectly done.
Good food, poor service
The food was pretty good! That is probably the only reason I might try this place again...
Our server was terrible! So unfriendly! He didn't explain the menu/specials and barely even spoke to us! When we did have a question it was like we ruined his day by asking. However I did notice the other servers at the tables around us were very helpful and friendly to their customers.
Back for Mo
Pensare is getting to be a frequent stop for my Wife and I. Luckily, we were able to get Mo as a server again, making our meal even more enjoyable. The service is outstanding. This trip, I had the Lobster Ravioli and my Wife had the Seafood Cannoli. We compared a few bites and both agreed that the Lobster Ravioli was just slightly better than the Cannoli - but both were fantastic. Can't wait to go back to test more items on the menu and hopefully we will end up at one of Mo's tables again! Happy New Year!
New Year's Eve dinner
We have dined here the last two years. This year, we ordered the Florida and explained to our waiter that my wife doesn't like calamari and asked if something could be substituted. Our waiter assured us that that was possible.
Our meals arrived in a timely fashion but as my wife began eating, she noticed some calamari and removed it from her bowl and began passing it to others at the table. She continued digging through her pasta and continued finding calamari. We suggested sending it back but she was concerned that by the time a replacement meal could be served most everyone would be finished with their meals. By the time she finished her meal, she had a considerable pile of calamari on the side of her dish.
When our waiter asked how everything was we pointed out the calamari. Our waiter offered my wife a free desert. While the dessert offer was nice, it did not take the place of a nice seafood meal that she had been looking forward to for weeks.
Perfect New Year's Eve
We frequent Pensare several times a year, and are always pleased with the food and the service. For New Year's Eve, it was decorated nicely, and the staff members were all festively dressed, but unlike some places, there was no up charge , you weren't rushed along, and tables were no crammed together. The service and the food were excellent as usual! One of our fav New Years!
You Must Eat Here
A romantic stroll beneath trees dripping Spanish moss sets the scene for the entrance to Pensare.This quaint Italian bistro is at the quiet end of Dunedin’s Main St.As you pass through the patio into the front doors, senses are awakened by fresh herbs, rich spices and roasting tomato.Friendly host staff greets you inside.The dining area is warmly lit with candles.Guests are conversing, laughing and canoodling in every corner.This setting is suitable for business or pleasure.Our latest visit was on NYE 7 PM.My 30 years of restaurant experience have made me wary of dining out on this holiday.This was our second NYE at Pensare.On this busy night, Pensare’s staff is calm & happy. No uniforms…festive classic black ensembles & genuine smiles. We were greeted by Elaine who provided excellent service.We brought a bottle for the occasion to pair with our food(20$crkg).Elaine offered a decanter with no hesitation.Features were highlighted with vivid detail.We chose Buffalo Mozzarella over Bresoala with arugula greens.Heavenly, soft rind of mozzarella bursting with creamy ricotta texture, umami of thin slice beef atop arugula.Salad course consisted of Caesar and house arugula.Fluffy fresh greens, lightly dressed layered with ribbons of buttery Parmesan cheese.Our two entrees, Saccottini Pensare(an existential dish)succulent fiocchetti bathed in light garlic sauce, savory Pancetta, mushrooms&laced with odiferous shaved truffle.Scallopina Contadina(upstyled classic) seared succulent veal, fresh eggplant,oozing mozzarella(no bread crumbs)layers of perfection mingling with fresh house sauce with al dente linguine(as a side,just ask).We completely enjoyed dessert two tiramisu(too good to share)espresso,cappuccino(great presentation)and Sambuca.I cannot stress enough that the food quality here is phenomenal.Meticulous use of fresh ingredients and sauces made daily.Such care in presentation it is as if your dish is the only one being made.We truly thank you for this food.To NYE 2016.
This is how we like to eat
We see them closed until 5pm while the other Dunedin eateries are filling up and worry a bit. Not too worry, folks find them readily. This is very nice food in a nice setting. When we want to eat Italian we will always return here first.
Perfect Christmas Eve
Our food, including a seafood special, was awesome! Our server, Mo, was spot on. We love this place, and are holding reservations for New Year's Eve. The only downside to our dinner was a party of 8 nearby with one loud and obnoxious member, which affected the ambiance for us. I recommend Pensare for groups of 6 or more, or larger groups at numerous small tables. At any rate, a wonderful dinner place.
Pleasantly surprised, not what we expected
Made reservation at the suggestion of our B&B hosts recommending this restaurant because we'd never been to Dunedin before. Our waiter was very personable and made our dining experience very pleasant. Couple minor dietary issues were no problem and he made sure to see them throughout the meal. Even brought us a little something for dessert because it was our 30th anniversary. Kept our waterglasses full, very good wine recommendations, did not rush us even though a busy night and we made sure to tip him accordingly more than we typically leave for just average service. Oh don't let me forget, the food was very good - we both got fish, I got lobster ravoli that both appeared & tasted home made not overly sauced (just right).
Dinner with a View
While my wife has been to Pensare a few times already, it was my first visit. Inside was packed with only a few open tables so we decided to sit outside. Perfect timing as we got to enjoy the golf cart Christmas parade! Shrimp and Scallop appetizer was tasty. Took a break after that with a salad, then the main course. I had the gnocchi's as they are a favorite and I make it a point of trying them at any restaurant brave enough to put them on the menu. Served with a meat ragu sauce, they were wonderful. My wife enjoyed her veal marsala as well. A number of other tempting dishes on the menu that we will have to return to try!
Food was excellent
I ordered the ravioli stuffed with Maine lobster, with shrimp, scallops and tomato cream sauce. It was the best meal I have ever had. I am about to call them to see if they can ship this menu item to me frozen, and all I will have to do is heat it up. Just delicious.
As we decided to eat on a Sunday evening, we thought it would be quiet inside, but there was a party going on, so we ate outside and we did enjoy that.
I was pleased with my meal but my husband was disappointed with his. As he had a meal with three various seafoods, there was not much in the way of seafood. Very skimpy. He said he would not go back and I guess we will not add Pensare to our favorite place to eat. The service was excellent although.
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