For everyone who hasn’t yet tried Frammi American Grille & Italian Food, located on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. just north of I-75 in New Tampa, I only have one question — Why not???
For those who loved the burgers at the old Oakley’s Grille, which Luca and his wife Erika took over nearly four years ago, Frammi does still serve those award-winning burgers, crispy fries and other American favorites, but Luca and Erika have brought, as he says, “the genuine cuisine that you find in the homes of Italians, in the everyday kitchens of Sunday family lunches.”
Luca, who is from southern Italy, and Erika, who is from the north of the boot-shaped country, have each contributed their favorite recipes of their respective regions to Frammi, which was changed from Oakley’s during the pandemic — and folks from New Tampa and beyond have been rightfully thrilled with the results.
“We import many ingredients in our dishes from Italia to maintain authenticity,” Luca says, “and all Italian and American dishes are prepared from scratch, so please realize that cooking fresh food from scratch takes time.”
And, speaking of fresh, Luca adds, “We apologize if we don’t always have your favorite dishes, but we don’t freeze anything and our quantities are limited.”
So, What’s New?
Luca has definitely committed to expanding both the Italian and American sides of his two-sided menu. Our favorite new American dish is the fried chicken sandwich, which is a full breast filet, lightly battered and flash-fried to golden crisp on the outside, but still incredibly juicy on the inside. When you add in those perfect fries (which are included), you really can’t go wrong.
But, as much as we love Frammi’s American food (the chicken fajitas, which really are more like fajita meat soft tacos, are pretty great, too), it’s the always-amazing Italian fare that keeps bringing us back. And, Luca says the Italian menu items are definitely from both the north and south of his native country.
My favorite from Luca’s southern region is probably still the linguine alle vongole (with clams, diced tomatoes, parsley, extra virgin olive oil, red hot crushed peppers, white wine and garlic) and Jannah’s favorite is the parmigiana di melanzana (eggplant parm), but the new, lightly spicy pasta Amatriciana (rigatoni with fresh tomato sauce, pancetta, diced tomatoes, pecorino Romano cheese, red hot peppers and parsley) is an amazing addition.
Our favorite dish from Erika’s northern region is the ragu di salsiccia (penne with Italian sausage ragu (onions, celery, carrots, tomato sauce, Italian sausage and red wine), although the Black Angus beef ragu also is outstanding, and the lasagna (made with bechamel sauce, instead of ricotta) is both authentic and a best-seller.
And, although they aren’t new to the menu, on our most recent visit we also loved two of the other pasta entrées we hadn’t tried before — the fettuccine carbonara (with crisp pancetta, parmesan and pecorino Romano cheeses, eggs and black pepper) and the fusilli alla pesto (made with basil and pine nut-rich pesto sauce imported from Genova). All of Frammi’s pasta dishes are served al denté (firm) without having to ask for them that way and are so authentic, they’ll have you singing “O Sole Mio” in no time.
One of the other dishes from the Italian side of the menu that we tried recently but hadn’t gotten to sample before is the vegetable soup (with carrots, onion, celery, potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese and rosemary), which Luca says is like real Italian minestrone, but not like the red broth-based minestrone you may have had at other places.
We also enjoy the bruschetta (diced tomatoes, garlic and extra virgin olive oil on crisp Italian ciabatta bread) and the meatball sandwich, which are Luca’s famous authentic fried Black Angus meatballs topped with mozzarella cheese, but with a side of tomato sauce for dipping, instead of served on the sandwich itself. The mixed Italian salad is a huge portion of romaine and iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, carrots, hard-boiled eggs and fresh imported mozzarella cheese served with Italian dressing. The hot pressed Cuban, spicy Italian and mufaletta sandwiches proudly include Boar’s Head meats, and include a free soda if you order one of them on Saturday.
Other daily specials are served Tuesday-Saturday — Burger Tuesday, Chicken Wednesday (both specials include a free soda), Philly Thursday (get $1 off the ribeye or chicken cheesesteak and fries) and Healthy Friday (all salads are $1.50 off).
And, while we rarely leave room for dessert, the tiramisu and Nutella crepes are great options and Frammi also offers beer, wine and soft drinks.
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