Il Panificio Gulf Gate, 6630 Gateway Ave., Sarasota, (941) 921-5570, panificiousa.com. An Italian deli and pizzeria as polished and authentic as the Vespa scooter that hangs high on the wall. The clean, airy warehouse-style setting at the corner of Gateway Avenue and Gulf Gate Drive centers on a sparkling row of deli cases featuring pizzas by the slice, artisan olives, sandwiches and more.
Retail workers, hair stylists, contractors and more from the eclectic Gulf Gate business district.
The efficient cafeteria style makes for an easy in-and-out, though there may be a line in busier months, especially as people use their lunch hour to stock up on homemade giardiniera (pickled vegetables) and sfogliatelle (ricotta-filled pastries).
Il Panificio Gulf Gate boasts the same famous pizza dough as its older sibling in downtown Sarasota. The crispy, flavorful crust—worth the trip on its own—is always treated delicately with sauce and a slew of available toppings (including pepperoni, kalamata olives, eggplant and even clams) and cheeses (fresh mozzarella, ricotta and goat cheese). Grab a couple slices (starting at $2.50) or a whole pie (starting at $14). Deli sandwiches, specialty subs, pressed focaccia and more round out the satisfying menu. (Save room for tiramisu.) Mangia!