Thanks to a recommendation by a reader, we decided to try out Castellano & Pizzo Italian Gourmet Foods on Henderson Blvd. in south Tampa this past weekend. Castellano & Pizzo is the most authentic Italian market and deli I've come across in Tampa. We stopped in for sandwiches, but also ended up checking out the wine, cheese, produce, meat and fresh prepared-food sections.
Traci decided on a classic chicken parmesan sandwich and, instead of ordering a traditional Italian sandwich or Cuban, I went with the "salmon delight" sandwich. This ended up being good decisions on both counts. My sandwich - a combination of smoked salmon with sliced tomatoes, delicious big slices of mozzarella, oil and lettuce - was very tasty. Traci liked her chicken parm. The sandwiches at Castellano & Pizzo are big and reasonable priced. Service was a little slow, but very friendly.
I couldn't help but order a small side of prosciutto salad (sort of an Italian meatlover's salad), while we waited for our sandwiches to be made. I also ordered a small side of stuffed green peppers after another customer gazed into the deli case and raved about them to us. I could have easily made a meal out of sampling the many freshly-prepared salads, olives, peppers, you name it in their case. The prosciutto salad and the stuffed peppers (filled with meat, cheese, etc.) were both excellent.
I still give the nod to Wright's Gourmet House for being my favorite sandwich shop in Tampa, partly because Wright's has a bigger selection of sandwiches and more salads to choose from. Plus, that's all they do. However, my experience with Castellano & Pizzo this past weekend was very positive. Anyone that has never stopped in before is missing out. We had fun just exploring the store. Tampa is fortunate to still have an independent Italian market of the quality of Castellano & Pizzo.
In doing a quick Google search on Castellano & Pizzo, I found they are offering a four-week class on Italian language, cuisine and culture. Includes dinner with each class. $205. For more information.
Bottom-line: Wright's remains my favorite sandwich joint in Tampa, but the deli at Castellano & Pizzo is a strong number two. This gourmet Italian market offers up tasty sandwiches and a wide selection of freshly-prepared Italian dishes to-go.