Giovanni Di Palma’s plan of creating a “Little Italy” is coming together with his new restaurant, Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano. Mr. Di Palma opened Gio’s back in November after his burgeoning success with Antico Pizza. Although the menus are different, Gio’s vibrant, authentic atmosphere is comparable to Antico’s. Like Antico, hungry customers place their order at the front counter. However, Gio’s lacks the same excitement. Most of the dishes on the menu involve chicken and usually are paired with pasta or other authentic Italian foods. The portions at Gio’s are very large, so you better be hungry when you arrive.
When you first walk into Gio’s, you are welcomed by Italian music and a not-so-friendly staff. They did not appear very happy for customers to be there and they all looked very somber. The menu is on a big board in bold letters, and is very easy to navigate. The food and drink will roughly cost $17 per person, which is not a bad price considering the portion size. The only problem is that drinks, including water, cost money for refills, which can get expensive if you are thirsty.
After placing your order, you have the option of sitting at a high top or regular table. Each table already has silverware and rolls of napkins on it. You won’t have to wait long to eat, because shortly after sitting down, a delicious loaf of bread covered in cheese and an Italian salad is served to you. The salad contains an assortment of lettuce and spinach, with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. This is served with a vinaigrette which has the perfect amount of flavor.
My family members and I ordered an assortment of main dishes. I tried the Al Forno, which is a lasagna-like dish containing meat and cheese. It is topped with Parmesan cheese and a marinara sauce. I would give this dish a 6.5/10. Second, I tried the Sorrento Lemon. This is a chicken dish topped with freshly cut lemons and served with potatoes in an olive oil broth. I thought this dish was OK, but it lacked flavor (6.5/10). I also tried the Napoletana, which is a rigatoni pasta that’s mixed with Italian sausage, spinach, and broccolini and covered with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I thought the dish contained a lot of great flavor, and the add-ins to the pasta were delicious. However, some of the pasta seemed slightly overcooked (8/10). The last dish I tried was the Arancia Di Capri. This was my favorite dish out of the four. It was a chicken dish with sliced oranges on top, served with potatoes in garlic, olive oil and rosemary broth. Compared to the Sorrento Lemon, the Arancia was extremely flavorful and very well cooked (8.5/10).
After you have enjoyed your dinner, you should make your way over to Caffé GIO, the gelateria and pasticceria owned by Mr. Di Palma next door. It serves authentic Italian gelato which is imported from Naples, Italy every month. They have a variety of flavors to choose from. I tried three flavors: Strachiatella, a vanilla flavored gelato with chocolate chips mixed in; Cioccolato Menthe, a mint flavored gelato with chocolate chips; and Cioccolato, a plain chocolate. Although the gelato was tasty, it also was very pricey; for three people it cost $16! Also, even at that high price, you couldn’t try a taste of any of the flavors before you ordered. Overall, I would give my experience at Gio’s a 7/10.