Classic Italian food, in an intimate setting. This is what I experienced at GianMarco’s, when I had two special friends visit Birmingham. They wanted to try a local Italian restaurant, not a chain restaurant, and this was one of the first places that I thought of.
GianMarco’s is located in the neighborhood of Edgewood (near Homewood).
The interior almost reminds me of a “classic mob scene” in New York, specifically the movie “The Godfather”. However, a more modernized version. It’s a white table-cloth restaurant, but yet the atmosphere is casual. The expansive bar is in the small half of the restaurant, and the dining room is in the large half. All of the seats, in the dining room, allow patrons to view the cooks preparing meals in the kitchen.
I was the first person to arrive at our dinner, at GianMarco’s. The host took me to our table, which was in the middle of the restaurant; allowing me to see everyone and everything. Not long after I sat down, our waiter came over and placed a black cloth napkin in my lap, and asked me what I wanted to drink. Despite being at a fine Italian restaurant, I wanted an alcoholic beverage other than wine, something classy & unique, but I didn’t see anything on the menu. So the waiter had the bartender make me a special drink called a “Washington Apple”.
It reminded me of a “Sour Apple Martini” except it was red in color, and had more of a fruity/apple taste. I really enjoyed it, and the waiter made me feel extra special; this definitely gave him some points in my book.
Eventually my friends, from Auburn & Huntsville, arrived. The waiter placed the black cloth napkins in their laps as well, and took their drink orders. When he came back with the drinks, he brought a basket of freshly made warm Italian Bread, a vase of olive oil, and a bowl of salt.
We put a little olive oil on a plate, and sprinkled salt & pepper in the olive oil. This became the dip for our Italian Bread. We enjoyed dipping our fresh bread in this mixture.
Next the waiter took our antipasti (appetizer) and entree orders.
For an antipasti, we ordered the Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Parmesan, basil and crostini.
The dip was served warm, and the crostini (bread chips) were crunchy & salty. I enjoyed the subtle garlic taste of the dip, and I’m glad that it wasn’t filled with too many artichokes; I’m not a big fan of them.
After catching up with each others lives, it was time for our entrees to come out. My friend Katherine, ordered the “RIGATONI AI QUATTRO FORMAGGI asiago, fontina, gorgonzola and mozzarella; simmered in cream with prosciutto and fresh sage .”
She said this dish, itself, was worth the drive to Birmingham. I was so pleased to hear that excellent complement.
Her mom had the “LINGUINE CLAM SAUCE littleneck clams steamed in garlic, evo, white wine and Red chili flake finished with parsley and basil .”
She really enjoyed this dish. Furthermore, she said that his was some of the best Italian food that she has ever eaten.
I kept it simple and ordered the “FETTUCCINE ALFREDO with Shrimp”. I wasn’t in the mood for anything too complicated.
This entree was so delicious, the Alfredo sauce was extremely creamy, the noodles seemed to almost be homemade because of their tender/yet soft texture. And even though there weren’t too many shrimp in this particular dish, they were large enough to make up for the lack of; these shrimp were freshly caught from the Gulf of Mexico. I’m also pleased to say that this whole dish was seasoned to perfection, allowing me to enjoy every minute of it. Even though this was a trite dish, it definitely didn’t have a trite taste. For a special touch, I had the waiter add some fresh Parmesan cheese on top.
Since we were all satisfied with our entrees, we wanted to get dessert but we were each too full to order one per self. So we shared the “APPLE CROSTATA WITH CINNAMON GELATO AND CARMEL.”
It was “bellisimo” at its finest! This was a perfect twist to the standard apple pie with vanilla ice cream. The dessert was served warm with cinnamon gelato on the top and caramel drizzled all over. I must admit that it was really sweet, but we enjoyed every bite.
GianMarco’s was the perfect destination for my out-of-town guests; they enjoyed the ambiance, the impeccable customer service, and the succulent food. I would say that the price point is moderate to expensive, however, what we had was well worth every penny. And if you plan on visiting, please make reservations ahead of time.