I love Italy and have travelled there many times. One of my fondest memories is sitting outdoors at a tiny restaurant situated at the edge of Lake Garda. The sun had set and my surroundings were lit only by candlelight, strings of tiny twinkling light bulbs and the stars above.
So when I walked through the gates into Gianni’s to be met with a cute, authentic restaurant draped in fairy lights, I felt like I was back in Italy.
My boyfriend and I were greeted by smiling faces from staff. They were all very attentive and chatty.
Inside the family-run restaurant, the decor is chic and modern, with romantic, lower lighting and passionate red walls. Yet more fairy lights hang at the window giving it a cosy, intimate feel.
For starters I ordered the garlic mushrooms tossed in garlic olive oil and wine, with focaccia bread.
The flavours were great but I thought it was a tad on the pricy side at £5.99. In hindsight I wish I had gone for the option of a creamy Gorgonzola sauce which I think would have added a bit more to the dish.
My boyfriend picked from the specials – fresh buffalo mozzarella wrapped in parma ham. He said he expected more from the mozzarella and thought there was a small portion of parma ham for a £7.99 dish.
The starters, however, were only part of the dining experience.
I’m travelling to Rome this summer and I had made the rather unrealistic vow of not eating a single pizza until I landed on Italian soil. This of course went straight out the window as soon as I walked into Gianni’s.
I savoured every bite of my pizza topped with bacon, peppers and pepperoni. The serving was huge but didn’t slip on quality.
The base was a thin, authentic and the crust had a scrumptious crunch. Ample toppings were placed with care on top of the exquisite mix of tomato and mozzarella.
My partner went for the Rustica pizza. The crispy thin base was covered with creamy, tangy goats cheese and topped with piles of mushrooms and spinach for a flavoursome main.
On their website, Gianni’s say: “We can’t take you to Italy but we hope to bring Italy to you.” Following these pizzas I couldn’t agree with them more.
Despite enjoying every mouthful, I hit just over the half way point and didn’t think I could manage another bite.
Our waitress happily boxed it up for me and I can vouch for the fact the pizza tasted just as good for breakfast the following day.
Despite asking the staff to box up my pizza I still had a hankering for dessert.
We both indulged in the season specials, for me the homemade sticky pavlova with banana and toffee.
The pavlova was both crisp and crunchy and creamy and soft, like marshmallow, and the toppings of toffee sauce and banana worked beautifully. It’s not a dish I’d normally go for but I’m so glad I did.
My partner went for the homemade vanilla panna cotta with fresh berries and strawberry ice cream. Strawberry ice cream is one of his favourite desserts and he said it was one of the best he’d ever had.
Gianni’s is a cosy family-run restaurant, with delicious food, bubbly and helpful staff. A real Italian gem in the seaside town.