Massimo Patano was born in Bari, Italy, a port city of the Puglia region (south-eastern Italy, “the heel”), an area known for its unique style of Italian cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh local seafood, cheese (bur rata originated here), and fresh produce. Massimo began working in his family’s butcher shop at the age of 9. At age 14, while taking classes in architectural design, he fell in love with cooking and decided to pursue his passion.
Massimo Patano’s culinary pursuits have taken him to Rome, Florence, Chicago and California, where he was the personal chef of Sophia Loren. He is the winner of both the Battle of the Bay and People’s Choice Best Chef of Tampa Bay and has appeared in many publications and on local television.
In January, 2004 he opened his own restaurant, Massimo’s Eclectic Fine Dining, an expression of Massimo himself. The food is not just Italian — it is truly global, blending his native Italian with French, Mediterranean and Asian influences in a casually elegant atmosphere. Aside from excellent cuisine, Massimo is known as a wine connoisseur and boasts one of the most impressive lists in the Tampa Bay area, featuring many outstanding vintages from Italy, France, the United States, Australia, and elsewhere, with ratings–a wine lover’s delight! To simplify things, there is a decent selection by the glass available at an approachable price point with something to pair well with any dish. Massimo’s serves lunch Tuesday-Friday, and dinner Tuesday-Saturday, and hosts frequent fine wine dinners, a must for anyone who loves food and wine in the area. Having lived in the Tampa area for a number of years, Massimo’s was and remains a favorite, and I am proud to have awarded Chef Massimo the Golden Palate Certificate of Excellence™ recognizing quality, consistent cuisine and dedicated, hands-on ownership.
Lunch favorites include: Jumbo Lump Crab Ricotta Cake with fried artichokes in a lime-avocado-arugula salsa and Scotch Bonnet sun-dried tomato oil, Caprese Salad with tomato and fresh Mozzarella over a bed of mixed greens with black olives and grilled eggplant in a balsamic and parsley oil dressing, and Warm Spinach Duck Salad with fresh baby spinach with roasted duck, goat cheese, and pecans in a mango vinaigrette for starters. Top pasta selections include: Angel Hair Checca tossed with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and tomato sauce, served piping hot, Penne Vodka, tossed with roasted shallots in a vodka-tomato cream sauce, Lobster Ravioli (saffron ravioli filled with lobster, sautéed with leeks, garlic, and fresh herbs in a lobster broth). Entrees include: Chicken Breast Saltimbocca, topped with fresh sage and prosciutto in a butter-white wine sauce, Veal Scallopini, sautéed with asparagus, artichokes, pine nuts, diced tomatoes, and garlic in a white wine butter parsley sauce, Boneless Pork Chop Marsala with sautéed mushrooms in a Marsala wine sauce, Salmon Puttanesca in a spicy tomato-garlic-black olive-caper and anchovy sauce, and Ahi Tuna Loin, crusted with white and black sesame seeds in a wasabi-sour cream and balsamic reduction.
The dinner menu features even more selections. A few top choices include: Tuna Tiradito, fresh sushi grade tuna marinated with Stoli vodka and Florida citrus, stacked with cubes of fresh watermelon and cucumber, drizzled with chili aioli and topped with ginger candy Bruschetta, Black Truffle Liver Pâté with garlic toast points, wild berry jam, and white truffle oil, Massimo’s Charcuterie with imported Prosciutto di Parma, artisan Felino salami, wild boar sopressata, bresaola, Castelvetrano olives, Parmigiano Regginao, Brie and Boursin cheese complemented with crackers and mustard, Ceviche with shrimp, scallops and colossal crab meat marinated in lemon-lime Tequila and fresh herbs, served with yellow corn chips, as well as Foie Gras for starters. Pasta options include Puglian favorite Orecchiette (little ears) pasta with roasted garlic, white anchovies, extra-virgin olive oil, broccoli rabe and shrimp, sprinkled with crushed red pepper flakes, Lasagna Bolognese, as well as Risotto of the day. Additional entrees include Eggplant Parmigiana, Duck a l’Orange, steaks, a veal chop, Diver Scallops pan seared diver scallops with dollops of pistachio Greek yogurt, drizzled with a sherry infusion, served with Buffalo mozzarella ravioli and grilled asparagus, and Ahi Tuna Loin Mediterranean with fresh Mediterranean salsa, served with bok choy.
Below is a sample of a recent wine dinner at Massimo’s– be sure to inquire with the restaurant for upcoming events!
See you in Palm Harbor, and be sure to tell Massimo Fred Bollaci sent you, and buon’ appetite, cin-cin!
Massimo’s Eclectic Fine Dining
31876 US Highway 19 N.
Palm Harbor, FL 34684