Ava in Hyde Park

The weather is always unpredictable in Florida.  It’s sunny one moment and raining the next.  Today was a raining day but I decided to get out of the house and enjoy lunch with my daughters.  I did as most people do and entered a search for restaurants near Hyde Park.  My quest led me to the restaurant Ava in the Hyde park area where there are several restaurant options to choose from.  After reading a fellow bloggers review of Eggs Benedict at Ava’s I thought I’d give it a try.  Silly me, forgetting brunch is served on the weekends only in most places.  Instead of leaving to return for brunch I figured why not try their lunch menu too. I was instantly intrigued by the wood burning stove and was hoping they had pizza on the menu – which they did.


The Appetizer – French Fries

The French fries were served with three dipping sauces: Ketchup, Garlic Aioli and Roumalade.

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I’m trying to expand the palette of my oldest daughter so that she will try more than just mac and cheese and hot dogs when we eat out. She looked at the menu and decided she wanted French fries as an appetizer.


Soup of the Day

I am a sucker for soup, especially on rainy days.  There is something about soups that just warms the soul.  Ava’s soup of the day was a tomato and eggplant soup with pine nuts and a Gorgonzola cheese topping. Typically, I hate blue cheese so I was skeptical of trying Gorgonzola cheese as it is closely related.  However, I must say that the Gorgonzola cheese paired perfectly with the tomato and eggplant soup. I have a new respect for gorgonzola cheese and I am willing try it on other dishes.

Eggplant and Tomato soup

Gorgonzola cheese is a type of blue cheese made from unskimmed milk.


Pizza

Our pizza choices were many but we chose the Salsiccia pizza which boasts fennel sausage, San Marzano tomatoes and ricotta cheese.  The crust is hand tossed and placed in the wood fire oven to bake. The fennel sausage is different than I imagined it would be, it is tender and my daughter loved it. In fact she enjoyed it so much she wanted to eat just the sausage.  This hand tossed, fire roasted pizza single handedly earned its way into the Top 5 pizza spots in Tampa Bay.  To see who else is on the list, click here.

Fire roasted pizza

Did you know that fennel is part of the carrot family?

Ava offers sandwiches, pizza and salads on their lunch menu but if you are feeling a little mettle perhaps you should try their octopus salad. My next visit I plan to try something new, adventurous…bold…moxie…mettle.

The only thing I truly found disappointing were the bathrooms. As the mother of an infant there were no changing tables. One bathroom had a small cabinet that I used as a makeshift changing table but that was it. I wouldn’t suggest a full renovation but something in at least one of the two women’s bathrooms would be nice.  This definitely cost FORK points.

Forks Up!

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What are your thoughts?