One of my favorite spots for date night in International Plaza is Brio Tuscan Grille. I can’t get enough of their elevated Italian dishes and light touch romantic ambience. Ben and I actually visited Brio for the first time in the summer. When they invited us back out this fall to try some of their new menu items, we happily accepted. The dishes promised Mediterranean inspired themes drawn from their executive chef’s recent travels to southern Italy.
- Brio is an absolute must for date night in Tampa, Florida
- Their executive chef recently travelled to Southern Italy and added new Mediterranean inspired flavored dishes to their menu
- The star of the dinner show for me was the Limoncello Glazed Grilled Salmon
Keep Up at Brio Tuscan Grille by ordering:
- Strawberry Basil Limonata
- Capri Sunset Mule
- Amalfi Limone Gin & Tonic
- Mediterranean Olives
- Zucchini Fritti
- Handmade Meatballs
- Limoncello Glazed Grilled Salmon
- Stuffed Chicken Parmigiana
- Espresso Martini Affogato
Last time we visited Brio we sat in a booth near the bar. This worked well, but this go around we decided to switch things up and give their patio a try. It was prime for people watching since we had a clear view of Bay Street, the main pathway at International Plaza. Bay Street walkers also had a clear view of us toting two cameras, photoshoot setups, and me telling Ben to “take one more set”. Kind of makes you wonder who was really watching who the whole time.
Date night kicked off with a round of drinks: the Strawberry Basil Limonata for me, and a Capri Sunset Mule for Ben. As we sipped and chit chatted, our appetizers found their way to the table. If you’ll remember from our first hosted visit to Brio, they preselected the items to serve us. This time was no different and this gal had no complaints. Upon first bites of the handmade meatballs and crispy zucchini fritti, I knew immediately that we were once again in good hands. I couldn’t get enough of the sauce that came with the zucchini frites. It gave such a nice and creamy freshness to those fried veggie crisps.
Pacing myself with food at Brio never works. I kept stealing bites of the handmade meatballs while reminding myself that the entrees were still to come. Earlier that day I had spotted one of Brio’s new entree additions on their Instagram feed: the limoncello glazed grilled salmon. I was secretly hoping we’d have a chance to try it. As I saw that exact fish out of water make its way to our table, my eyes lit up. Along with it? Brio’s stuffed chicken parmigiana.
Salmon is truly one of my favorite seafood options to enjoy. I love it by itself, on salads, and in sushi. This limoncello salmon dish reigned supreme at Brio because it was equal parts zesty, fresh, and vibrant.
Brio’s stuffed chicken parmigiana was indulgent and the restaurant puts a nice play on this Italian classic by putting the blend of cheeses inside the chicken rather than served on top. Ben happily claimed that dish as his own while I intermittently stole bites of the pasta verde (zucchini noodles and spaghetti tossed with olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes) that came served along with it.
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat anymore, Brio’s Bistecca made its way to our table. The 12oz ribeye was beautifully intimidating and I took thoughtfully small bites before finding myself completely full. Though the Bistecca might not be a dish that I would order on my own (I rarely order steak out), it would be suitable for anyone looking to get their meaty fix. Ben boxed it up and took it home with us for lunch the next day.
Our date night was brought to a close with an incredible Affogato. Brio actually drowns the vanilla gelato in an espresso martini and it is NEXT LEVEL. In my humble opinion: affogatos should always be served this way.
Once again Brio proved that it’s a force to be reckoned with when it comes to date night choices in Tampa. Ben and I left full and delighted that we had the chance to try Brio’s newly added menu items. A taste of southern Italy is being served up in Tampa’s very own International Plaza at Brio and you owe it to your tastebuds to give it a try.
Thank you so much to Brio for hosting us for a date night! As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.