We tried to eat at Gio’s Chicken Amalfatino quite a while back for lunch one weekday. Brilliant plan – we even navigated the challenge of parking near Antico and walked up to the door. Then found that they weren’t open for lunch. [Homer Simpson voice ON] “Doh! [Homer Simpson voice OFF]. So one night, a few months later, I thought that I’d pick it up and take it home for dinner. Realizing that carry-out for a thirty-five plus minute drive home was not the ideal testing scenario, on this Saturday night, we met Grant and Marie for dinner.
Arriving around 6:30, I got the last parking place in the lot out back and we walked to the entry, where we found Marie standing by the door. In addition to the parking, one of the other challenges at Gia’s is the seating, much like at it’s sister restaurant, Antico Pizza Napoleatana. And speaking of Antico, if you haven’t heard Giovanni Di Palma’s (the man behind both restaurants) story, there’s a great article here, from last December’s Atlanta Magazine. Seating is at several communal tables, like the ones below in the back room and a few others, in front of the counter.
Silverware is in containers on the tables, along with rolls of brown paper towels like you’d find in only the finest roadside restrooms <g>. The menu is simple:six chicken dishes (a seventh when blood oranges are in season), which they serve in the size below for dining in, and a larger “famiglia” size for carry out; and a menu with four pasta standard pasta dishes and a few rotating specials. Each of the dinners is served with a house salad,which had great parmesan on top, which Jo followed with the sorrento lemon chicken (with garlic, wild oregano and olive oil.)
The chicken was quite lemony and the roasted potatoes were very good, but the surprising standout dish was the pasta. I ordered one of the specials, with a 3 day sauce and veal meatballs,
that was one of the best dishes of spaghetti that I’ve had “out” in years. Grant and Marie, lovingly (apparently) rotated between their pasta dish and their chicken dish. I was not quite so sharing. This pasta was very good and I gave up every bite begrudgingly. The fresh baked bread was delicious and when I dipped it in the spaghetti sauce, I thought I heard angels singing (I think that was just the kitchen staff singing along with an iPod). The last thing I expected when we went for chicken was how much I’d enjoy the spaghetti. I’d go back for it tomorrow.
Just as the stools in the restaurant were forcing us to consider leaving the table, we adjourned to Caffe Gio for gelato and more conversation. A pleasant night – all that was missing was a stroll by the canal on the walk home.
[…] Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano […]
Gio’s is simply a gem. We have had 8 out of 10 of our meals there be fantastic. The rigatoni in olive oil and basil is not to be missed. And his pizza place next door, well, we just never had better pizza in our lives —anywhere, even in Tuscany. It’s no exaggeration to say it’s mind blowing.