Ciccio’s California Cuisine/Water Unique Sushi

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of not only meeting up with friends for dinner (aka Megan from I Run For Wine), but experiencing a Tampa area restaurant I’d been wanting to try out for some time now!

Ciccio’s/Water in SoHo is one of the many restaurants in the Ciccio Restaurant Group found on Howard Avenue in South Tampa. they serve fresh California cuisine (salads, bowls, stir frys, etc.) as well as a unique selection of sushi. I’d heard great things about the dining experience at Ciccio’s/Water, and knew we were in for a treat as soon as we sat down.

We had to start off the night by trying out one of their signature drinks: Slamgrias! They are enormous fishbowl glasses filled with white or red sangria…as well as a miniature bottle of red wine, white wine, or champagne. We ended up sampling one of each between the four of us…you know…for scientific purposes…

All three varieties were fruity and tasty – they’re definitely a party in a glass, and the presentation is very fun! Definitely order one up if you’re dining at Ciccio’s/Water!

Meanwhile, a few appetizers were arriving at our table! We sampled the tuna bruschetta, which was not only beautiful in color, but delicious in taste! It contained pistachio crusted seared tuna on a crisp crostini with edamame hummus. If you know me, you know that I am VERY new to the idea of eating sushi/raw fish. I have to say: this appetizer was absolutely delicious!!!! The balance of flavors and textures worked wonderfully together in the perfect bite. Yum!

We followed that with a sampling of filet quesadillas, their Almost Gluten Free thin crust pizza (the crust is craker thin and crunchy – I was personally a fan), the chicken marsala pizza, and a big bowl of lobster baked macaroni and cheese with truffle oil. Now there’s a taste treat! Not only was the mac n cheese rich and creamy, but you could definitely taste the tangy kick of truffle oil in each and every bite. It’s definitely an indulgence…so I’m glad we were all sharing!

An enormous plate of sushi was also presented on our table, and I was SO excited to try everything! Yep – two experiences with raw fish in this meal…and I LIKED IT! Can someone pat me on the back?

On the top of the plate was the Diablo roll (which I am pretty sure was the favorite around the ENTIRE table); it contained Ahi tuna, tempura onions, and was topped with spicy tuna, beet tobbikko, daikon sprouts, sriracha aioli, and sesame seeds. To the left was the Sleepy Hallow: it contained spicy Ahi tuna, cucumber, mango, avocado, and was topped with zesty spicy aioli marinated Maine lobster meat, black sesame seeds, beet tobbiko and tempura spinach. Delish! Finally, the Chef’s special is pictured on the right. If you like sushi, the selection at Ciccio’s/Water is so unique! There were quite a few rolls on the menu that I would have also liked to try, but I guess there’s always next time…right?

We weren’t done yet, though! Megan and I decided to sample a few of the martinis on the menu. I ordered the Zen cosmopolitan (made with sake instead of vodka) and Megan opted for the cucumber martini (refreshing!).

Then, we soldiered on to taste two entrees: first was the Thai chicken bowl. This was my personal favorite dish of the evening, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I ordered it on a return trip. It contains chicken, napa cabbage, scallions, cilantro, carrots, mango, crispy wontons, and peanut aioli, with a scoop of sticky rice. It was crisp and fresh, and not at all heavy. I loved the balance!

We also tried the fish special, which happened to be tile fish on that day. The tile fish was served on top of a bed of spaghetti squash and broccolini, with a lemon almond sauce. Again, the flavors and ingredients were fresh and flavorful. And it featured spaghetti squash…one of my favorites!

We thought we were done at this point in the meal, but we were wrong! A bucket arrived at our table…with a huge sparkler spewing fire from it! It was a shot bucket…sent for special occasions. Talk about presentation!

And dessert was absolutely necessary, right? That evening, we could not resist a s’mores inspired option. Be still, my heart. I didn’t want to share…I wanted one of these bad boys all to myself. It featured a toasted marshmallow and chocolate bar with vanilla ice cream and caramel. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these ingredients, and I’m quite sure that the dessert was devoured by our table in about 10 seconds flat.

All in all, I could not have been happier with our experience at Ciccio’s/Water. If you’re in the South Tampa area, definitely make sure to head in and give them a try – they are open for weekday lunch, dinner every night, and feature a brunch on Saturdays – so many options!

What would YOU want to try off of the Ciccio’s/Water menu?

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  1. […] rest of the Ruffles and Truffles review can be found here… October 31, 2012 – 9:04 pm | By Ciccio Restaurant Group | Posted in Ciccio's […]

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