17320 E. 17th Street
Tustin, CA 98272
Zito’s Bar & Grill is located in a stand alone building in Enderle Center, the same parking lot as Zov’s Bistro and El Torito in Tustin. For many years the building housed my beloved Hof’s Hut. After Hof’s Hut closed it became a new restaurant. I think it was called Fire Dancer Grill or something. It didn’t last long. It then closed and reopened as Zito’s Bar & Grill. Zito’s apparently started as a pizza joint and now has four pizza locations. Zito’s Bar & Grill is a full service casual dining restaurant.
I recently visited Zito’s for dinner with a party of four. We arrived around 5:45 on a Thursday evening and there was barely anyone there. Zito’s offers live music on Thursday and Fridays. The music is out on the patio however, and we were in the dining room. Therefore we didn’t hear any of the music.
We were seated in a booth that felt cramped to me. The table and the benches were unmovable and I felt like I was sitting way too close to the table. A larger person would not have fit into this booth. I also felt like I didn’t have much elbow room. While we were looking over the menu, we were brought a basket of warm, freshly baked bread. They also brought us a small dish with balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs on it. The bread was soft and delicious.
I was having a little bit of a difficult time finding something to order. Everything on the menu sounded ok, but there was just nothing that was exciting me. One thing that I thought was odd was that they had a “Burgers” section on their menu. The only two choices though were sliders ($10.00) or a turkey burger ($10.00). You couldn’t even get just a plain cheeseburger. The menu said that the sliders came with American cheese. I asked the waitress if they could be made with cheddar instead. She looked at me and said “uhhh….we have American…”
After looking over the menu over and over again, I think I started to annoy my dining companions. I finally decided to get the Rotelle dinner special ($16.99). The rotelle was described as pasta hand rolled with ham, mozzarella, paremesan, béchamel and marinara sauce. The dinner special came with your choice of soup or salad. None of the other meals came with soup or salad. Their soup of the day was corn chowder so I decided to go for the soup.
I didn’t have to wait very long before my soup arrived. I received a much larger portion than I expected. It was almost enough for a meal. Unfortunately the soup was served to me lukewarm. Other than that it was ok, but not spectacular. It was creamy and corny and soupy. It did taste like it was freshly made though. I added a lot of black pepper to make it taste better.
Our dinners arrived shortly thereafter. My rotelle basically looked like two giant hockey pucks, covered in cheese and smothered in about a gallon of pink sauce. I took a bite and hoped for the best. I didn’t like it. It was fairly bland. It just tasted like bland pasta sheets with a generic watery tomato sauce. I tried to add a lot of parmesan cheese to make it taste better. It didn’t work.
J was having a hard time eating her coconut shrimp ($16.00). She said that it was so hard that the shards of coconut were cutting up the inside of her mouth. She was trying to cut it up into bite size pieces, but she was having a hard time. She said that even the veggies were hard. She kept eating bread because it was soft and she said her mouth needed some relief.
R seemed to be having as much trouble eating his food as J. He ordered a small 10" pizza with pepperoni and cilantro on it ($12.00). Even though the pizza had sufficiently cooled off, every time he tried to pick up a slice, all the cheese and toppings slid right off. He said that they put way too much tomato sauce on the pizza. He said that the flavor of the pizza was ok though.
V didn’t really like her food either. She ordered Tomato, Basil Angel Hair ($11.00). She said that it was really bland. She kept adding salt and parmesan cheese to try and make it taste better. She finally gave up. She said she’d try to salvage it by taking it home and doctoring it up.
Overall, the food wasn’t inedible, but I don’t think I would visit Zito’s again. There are much better places to eat for much more reasonable prices.