On Saturday, a few Tampa area food bloggers got together to begin an epic Tampa brunch adventure. Over the course of the next few months, we will be touring Tampa area restaurants that feature a brunch menu to sample their offerings.
Stop number one was Ciccio’s South Tampa. I have to say: they started our tour off with a bang: this was quite an incredible brunch if I do say so myself! I’m still thinking about the amazing dishes today.
Let’s get started and talk about drinks. Ciccio’s offers impressively monstrous fishbowl sized drinks, and they quickly filled our table. The group started with a huge Bloody Mary, garnished with a strip of bacon. We were told that their Bloody Mary mix is created fresh in-house, and my dining mates really enjoyed their beverages (I did not partake in the Bloody Mary drinking, so I’ll leave judgment to my buddies) and if you’re going for wow factor – the presentation really was impressive.
More up my alley were the Maxmosas and Slamgrias. Fun names, eh? And like the Bloody Mary presentation, your eyes begin to pop out of your head as the enormous chalice of booze is placed in front of you. Finishing one of them by yourself is somewhat of a feat. Anyway, a Maxmosa is basically a mimosa on steroids: fresh squeezed orange juice on ice in a huge fishbowl, with a small champagne bottle propped up inside. The Slamgrias are offered in three flavors: from the white sangria…
Or my personal favorite: the champagne sangria. The fresh fruit floating in the drink is also a pretty garnish. If you’re thirsty, these fishbowl drinks are definitely for you…or you could always split one between yourself and your significant other!
Are you ready for an insane amount of food? The five of us were somehow able to take down each of these dishes (gladly!), and I have to say that I was really impressed by what Ciccio’s puts out for brunch fare. There are a lot of options to choose from, and I really appreciate the fact that they offer healthy alternatives. As someone who likes to be conscious of what I eat, I truly get excited when I see options that are fully tasty but aren’t just the “healthy option that they have to put on the menu,” if you will. You can tell they’ve really thought about it. For example: the Tuscan Bowl.
It featured scrambled eggs blended with ricotta cheese, fresh basil, and sliced tomatoes. You have the option of using egg whites if desired, and then have the choice of serving the bowl on a bed of home fries, farro, or fresh spinach. On Saturday, ours was on top of home fries, and it was deeeeelish! Honestly: this was my favorite dish of the brunch: the flavors really popped, and the different textures between the eggs, ricotta, and tomatoes were really lovely and fresh. When I return to Ciccio’s for another brunch, this is most likely what I will order, without a doubt.
Another bowl we sampled was the California Dreaming bowl. It contained scrambled eggs, organic spinach, tomatoes, and sliced avocado. This bowl was served on a bed of farro. The California Dreaming bowl was definitely fresh and light, and I really enjoyed the texture of farro (I’d never tasted it before, but I would definitely have it again).
The third bowl we sampled was the Turkey Club bowl. Now, this is one for the meat lovers out there! It contained scrambled eggs, roasted house made turkey, sausage, and avocado. Ours came with home fries on the bottom, which seemed like a good pairing (meat and potatoes just go together, am I right?).
Moving on: how about a wrap? The Big Chorizo Egg Wrap was served in a flour or whole wheat tortilla and was stuffed with eggs, chorizo, avocado, and jack cheese. I really like how Ciccio’s grilled the wrap to a crispy texture on the outside: the crunch was a nice addition to contrast the softer insides. This wrap seemed to be a favorite of my dining mates, but since I’m not a huge meat lover it wasn’t at the top of my list. Isn’t that lovely though? There clearly are options to make everyone happy on this menu!
Another favorite option of mine from the brunch was the “Lanza” burrito. It was packed with flavor and filled with 3 scrambled eggs, bacon, black beans, cheddar and jack cheese, and then topped with avocado salsa. Again, the burrito was grilled to crunchy perfection on the outside. I loved the combination of ingredients in the burrito as well. Yum!
And can I just gush about the home fries Ciccio’s makes? I honestly could just eat a plate of those with some ketchup. The seasoning is so flavorful and the potatoes are sliced to a perfect thickness.
If you are in the mood for a sandwich at brunch, Ciccio’s has an absolutely amazing option. The Natural Chicken & Egg Sandwich Club was a perfect combination of breakfast and lunch items, and I would definitely be tempted to order this dish on a return visit. It contained grilled chicken breast, a fried egg, avocado, bacon, and a garlic aioli on golden brown sourdough bread. Oh boy. So yummy, and a great combination of flavor and texture. Just make sure you’re prepared to get your hands a little messy with this one! Totally worth it though.
Brunch had to include pancakes too, right? Ciccio’s takes their own spin on the classic dish by adding oatmeal. You can order the regular Oatmeal Pancakes if you’re a pancake purist…
Or you can go big with the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Strawberry pancakes. Whoa. The raw oatmeal in the batter added such a great texture to the fluffy pancakes: I really enjoyed the difference it made!
These pancakes are ridiculous, in a good way. The added dollop of whipped cream on the side was a perfect compliment to the chocolate and strawberries.
Well, are you insanely hungry yet? I have to say: I was thoroughly impressed with the brunch menu at Ciccio‘s, and I know that it may be hard to top on many levels. Ciccio‘s offers something for everyone on their menu, so if you’re looking for a Tampa brunch location, definitely check it out!
My dining buddies for this brunch included Megan from I Run For Wine, Leslie from Dash of Les, Rachel from Runner’s Tales, and Tracy from My Other City By the Bay. Make sure you check out their posts from the brunch to get their take as well!