The Piccolo Italian Market Deli might be one of those places you are
lucky enough to stumble upon – or not! So in case you don’t, let me be
the one to point you in its direction and give you a little review,
which I’m happy to do!
It was recommended to me by a friend as a meeting place for lunch on a rare, chilly, blustery January day in Sarasota.
When I was told it was an Italian deli my ears perked up since I like most things Italian, from people to heritage to food.
I am told it is an authentic New York style Italian Market and Deli. Having never been to New York, I’ll take the word of my friend.
Piccolo Italian Market Deli is tucked (or hidden!) away in a special little area of Sarasota commerce called Gulf Gate, a conglomeration of businesses including bars and clubs, diners and restaurants, clothes shops, specialty ethnic food shops and various and sundry other kinds of business. It’s usually a busy few square block area.
This Saturday afternoon was no different.
We met for lunch about 12:30 p.m. and there were only a couple of empty
tables. By the way, it’s not a place where the tables are on top of each other,
so you’re not sitting in the next person’s lap.
They have a menu full of some really tempting sounding Italian sandwiches which, if they are all like the one I had, they are "can’t-miss-delicious!"
The signature and classic sandwiches are all named after famous Italian celebrities including the "Frank Sinatra," which was not only recommended by my friend, but the description on the menu just sounded great: a chicken cutlet with Italian Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers on some nice fresh home brick oven baked Italian bread.
With a regular size "Frank Sinatra" sandwich for $7.25 or a large for $9.25, my friend told me to try the regular size because it will be more than enough.
This was a great recommendation by my friend and the best sandwich I had had in a long time. The combination of flavors from what were the main ingredients along with what I detected to be, perhaps, some olive oil, fresh garlic and maybe some balsamic vinegar mixed together, completed this sandwich feast perfectly. Not really tangy but nice and mild, very tasty and yummy!
What a treat!
And the regular size sandwich was more than filling. Boy was it delicious!
My luncheon friend that afternoon ordered Veal Parmesan. I was surprised because I didn’t see that offering on the menu boards hanging up on the wall behind the ordering counter.
Turns out, they made it especially for my friend! Sometimes it's just who you know!
Maybe if I become a good enough patron they'll one day make a special order for me, too!
So, for a couple of weeks after my initial visit I had been wanting to go back for an encore of the Frank Sinatra sandwich at Piccolo Italian Market Deli and the opportunity finally presented itself.
I, in turn, took another
friend along to introduce to my “find;’ an Italian friend, originally
from Long Island, New York. He would be the ultimate judge for a New
York style Italian deli’s offerings!
On my friend’s first visit I recommended the same sandwich to him which was recommended to me on my first visit. He totally loved it as much as I did, again.
In fact, he
liked it so much he didn’t want to finish it all right there. He wanted
to save it for later, so he had it wrapped up to go so he could take it
home and experience it again later in the day!
In addition to ordering the Frank Sinatra sandwich again I ordered a single slice of pizza ($2.50) which was brought to my table piping hot and delicious.
The pizza slice tasted like authentic, thin crust, Italian Pizza, just the way I like it.
I know that everyone has their own unique desire and taste for pizza, so I’ll just say, try it – you’ll like it!
Though they don’t have beer or wine they do have a refrigerated
case of various waters, soft drinks, teas and specialty Italian drinks
to enjoy with your meal.
While I only reviewed one sandwich and one pizza slice here I think you’ll get the idea that I’m trying to point out which is they have terrific fresh Italian food!
Other sandwiches on the menu include a Parma, which is Italian Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella & Fresh Basil; an Italian with Mortadella, Capicollo, Salami & Provolone, Lettuce & Tomato. There's the “Tony Soprano” with Italian Prosciutto, Hot Sopressata,Fresh Mozzarella, Lettuce ,Tomato & Hot Giadiniera.
There’s also the "St. Giacomino" which is Grilled
Chicken, Provolone, Imported Marinated Artichockes, Peppers & Onions
Toasted with a Garlic Spread for $8;
The “Gina Lollobrigida” is Boars Head Chicken Breast, Smoked mozzarella, Tomatoes & a beautiful Pesto spread for $7;
The "Godfather" is Italian Prosciutto, Hot Capicollo, Genoa Salami, Hot Sopressata, Fresh Mozzarella, Lettuce, Tomato, Oil & Vinegar and topped with Hot Giardiniera with the regular for $9.50.
They also have hot sandwiches from Italian Beef to Sausage Subs, Combo Subs, Sausage & Peppers and more. Plus there’s Panini!
All hot and cold sandwiches, and I suspect, pizza, may be ordered "to go."
They also have an Italian Market and deli case where you can pick up all that you need for the feast you want to cook; cheeses, pasta, olive oil, olives, homemade pasta salads, Italian Sausage, stuffed peppers and much more...you name it!
The only thing I would recommend adding to your lunch sandwich order is a side dish so that you could try one of their fresh Italian pasta or mozzarella salads from the deli cases.
It would be nice if they included a small cup or sampling of their fabulous looking salads along with the sandwich order, but they don't at this writing. Maybe in the future I'll mention it to them!
Introducing more of their lunch and early dinner patrons to their specialty salads might be a way to increase customers for those items!
All in all I think you’ll enjoy the experience and the food. If you have a taste for Italian, you GOTTA try this Gulf Gate restaurant - Piccolo Italian Market Deli!
I’m already plotting my next visit and whether or not I’ll stick with the Frank Sinatra sandwich or venture into something new!
Why not leave your impressions and review of what you enjoyed? Or of another of your favorite eateries?
Piccolo Italian Market Deli
Hours: Monday - Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Closed Sunday
Location: In the Gulf Gate area of Sarasota at 6518 Gateway Avenue. From Rt. 41 turn left on to Gulf Gate Drive, just south of Stickney Point Rd. Then turn left onto Gateway Avenue.