Our Gourmet: Giorgio's puts its mark on Manchester

December 13. 2016 4:13PM

Giorgio's Ristorante & Bar
270 Granite St., Manchester; 232-3323; www.giorgios.com

Monday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. (Lunch served Monday-Saturday until 4 p.m.; dinner menu served all day.)

Cuisine: Greek, Italian

Pricing: Apps $6.50-$12.99; soups/salads $4.99-$19.99; pizza $6.99-$9.99 (half), $10.99-$17.99 (full); lunch $8.99-$18.99; dinner entrees $9.99-$34.99; kids' menu $7.99-$8.99 (includes dessert).

The scores for Giorgio's
Atmosphere: 18/20
Menu: 18/20
Food: 19/20
Service: 18/20
Value: 17/20
TOTAL: 90/100

Giorgio’s Ristorante & Bar — well known for its choice eateries in Milford and Merrimack — has brought a classy new restaurant to Granite Square and immediately distanced itself from all other dinner restaurants on the West Side of Manchester.

With nearly floor-to-ceiling windows and bold European art and glasswork spread throughout the restaurant, there are half a dozen types of comfortable dining spaces to choose from, front to back in this bright, airy, brand-new eatery, plus a large, separate cocktail lounge with tables and booths for couples and small groups.

The menu is as we remembered it from previous visits to both of its other New Hampshire locations — chock full of delicious-sounding and creative Greek, Italian and other European specialties. A snazzy lineup of appetizers and small plates and a large and balanced wine list gets diners started, and from there — from lamb and chicken to steak and homemade pasta — the sky’s the limit.

There is also a great lineup of pizzas, kids’ meals and lunch specials, and the dessert display area hits you when you first walk in, so indulgence is almost guaranteed.

We were just two people on an early Sunday evening, and it turned out to be a great time for us to dine. Giorgio’s was not crowded yet, and the late football game was still on the TV. The servers, however, had not quite ramped up, so we were momentarily caught between staff as we sat in a small booth in the cocktail area. Soon, however, we were slightly over-attended by an apologetic serving team led by Angela, who doubled as the bartender, and we enjoyed energetic, friendly, attentive service from everyone.

We started, of course, with a glass of wine — an Argentine Malbec and an Italian Pino Grigio ($8.50 each) — and enjoyed an appetizer order of Crispy Chicken Pops ($8.99). Served with a four-sectioned dish of sauces, these little deep-fried, two-bite chicken meatballs were indeed crispy — and hot and meaty inside. The dips were marinara with pesto, creamy Caesar, a buffalo sauce and a barbecue sauce, making for a great variety of tastes.

On to our entrees, which turned out to be some of the best we’ve had in a while.

Our Crab and Zucchini Crusted Haddock dinner ($23.99) was a baked seafood delight. A large haddock filet was coated in a snow crab and zucchini mixture, then baked and served in a buttery white-wine lemon sauce.

Served over a large helping of wild rice pilaf and sauteed vegetables including broccoli, peppers and sliced zucchini, this Greek-inspired dish was shared until it was entirely gone. The haddock was super moist and flavorful. We would definitely order this dinner again, or recommend it to anyone who loves seafood.

Giorgio’s Veal Picatta ($24.99), meanwhile, was not to be outdone by some sea creature. A tender collection of veal medallions was heaped with sliced artichoke hearts in a lemon-butter and capers sauce, accompanied by our choice of pasta (linguini), which was served simply with a bit of butter and olive oil. The sauce and the capers were the perfect complement to the veal and pasta, and there was very little of this dish to bring home.

Little details speak volumes about Giorgio’s, and to that end, we give you the anchovy. Anchovies — the white, pickled, fileted variety — are so much better than those brown oily, bony, salty imposters that they are worth trying all by themselves. Most restaurants not only don’t have them, but many of them have never heard of them. Even if a diner has never had the courage to let an anchovy pass his or her lips, these are guaranteed to make you think twice, and Giorgio’s has them ready: We highly recommend a simple Caesar salad (small, $5.99) with a $1.50 add-on serving of white anchovies.

For dessert we enjoyed half od one at the restaurant and a whole one at home. We had to try the Baklava Ice Cream, so we enjoyed a mini version ($3.50) at the table. This frozen version of authentic baklava rolled into Jake’s vanilla ice cream was absolutely to die for.

At home, we enjoyed a cup of tea with the lightest, most delicate tiramisu we’ve had. Maria’s Tiramisu for Two ($9) was a chocolate-cream-custard around ladyfingers-delight that is worth every penny and perhaps a letter home. There are many slightly different versions of this classic Italian dessert, and we’ll add Giorgio’s to the best-of list.

It was a most delicious meal, and we’d go back in an instant on anyone’s invitation. We have enjoyed more than one very fine meal at the company’s locations to the south, and we’re very happy that Manchester is now on the list of Giorgio’s locations.

Our GourmetManchester

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