We’ve been trying as many local places as we can before we head to Europe for a while. Next up on our list was Taverna Costale in downtown St. Pete.
Taverna Costale was created by celebrity chef Fabio Viviani, who is not new to the Tampa Bay restaurant scene. Previously, he was the face and chef of the Nocturnal Hospitality Group’s Tampa restaurants, including one of my favorites, Osteria in downtown Tampa. One of the owners of Nocturnal Hospitality Group made some terrible comments in 2020 and Chef Viviani immediately left and the restaurants shut down. In 2022, Taverna Costale opened.
We managed to sneak in two visits. We stopped for a quick bite after the downtown Saturday market. I ordered an Aperol Spritz, which I basically haven’t sopped drinking since we decided to go to Italy. It was the perfect amount of bitter Aperol and Prosecco.
I had the Mediterranean salad. It was on butter lettuce and didn’t skimp on the olives or feta, and the dressing was light and flavorful. It’s one of the best salads I’ve had. The Husband and I also ordered the Margherita pizza to share. Their pizzas are Roman style: fluffy and so delicious.
We went back for dinner a week later with my dad and stepmom. We started with the meatballs and mussels. I’m weird about meat and they were too meaty for me. They weren’t the best meatballs but everyone liked them. The grilled bread and sauce was super tasty.
The mussels came in a broth similar to a lobster broth and it was so freaking good. So good that we ordered a plate of grilled bread just to dip in it. So good that we took the very small amount of leftover sauce with us. The mussels were also good. Nice and fresh and not rubbery or chewy at all.
My dad and I both ordered the grilled swordfish piccata. It came with fingerling potatoes and spinach. The potatoes were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They were extra good dipped in the mussel sauce. I subbed my spinach for the crispy Brussel sprouts and they were super tasty. The swordfish was cooked perfectly and the piccata sauce was delicious.
My stepmom ordered the pan seared salmon. It was cooked just right, not too dry and not mushy in the middle.
The Husband, of course, had pizza. He had the tutta carne pizza and said it was really good. The Roman style and size make it perfect for one person as their meal, or to share with other plates.
Everything was really good. I would seriously go back for just the mussels, so I could have that sauce. The ambiance is really nice, both casual and elevated. There is a large bar area that opens to the outside and it’s in the ground floor of a commercial high rise, making it feel very NY (which I love). Street parking was a bit of a pain, since they are doing massive construction on one side of the building. There is a garage a few blocks away.