I had dinner at Ghibellina with my girlfriend Katie on 2-15-2017. The decor and lighting were really cool (that beautiful marble bar!) and the staff were super friendly. The food wasn’t as great as I’d expected but man was that dessert good.
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5
Food & Drink: 3 out of 5
First off, how did I not know what a scene this place is?! The bar was absolutely packed with people and I waited for Katie at one of the few remaining seats all the way at the end. They were playing house music, which wasn’t too loud and oddly seemed to fit. All of this wasn’t a drawback; it was just absolutely not what I expected.
Saggio bianco (sage gin, combier, lemon, egg white). Of course they had an egg white, coupe cocktail on the menu. You could definitely taste the combier and lemon, which made it sort of taste like a kamikaze. It was good but the sage garnish was a little overwhelming at times.
In other news, I think I finally figured out why I love egg white cocktails so much. Remember that childhood birthday party punch consisting of sherbet dropped in a vat of gingerale? That’s EXACTLY what the egg white froth reminds me of. Ah, memories.
Margherita di bufala (tomato sauce, basil, buffalo mozzarella). If 2Amys’ margherita was almost too authentic for its own good, this pizza was the exact opposite. It was fantastic but it tasted more like a slice from some random pizza parlour in NYC than a normal margherita pizza. I’m starting to feel a little like Goldie Locks with the wood-fired pizza. Also how fun are the pizza scissors, which tell you something about the consistency of the crust?
Tagliatelle al ragu (beef ragu, grana padano). The sauce was somewhat bland and the pasta was very al dente. It wasn’t bad–just a little boring.
Gnocchi al pomodora (tomato, herbs, smoked mozzarella). This was like a burst of flavor compared to the ragu. The tomato was bright, which contrasted nicely with the smoked mozzarella, but I didn’t love the overall combination. Also I’ll be honest, I hadn’t had gnocchi in 15 years due to a less than delicious meal in Florence. I’m glad I tried it again but I don’t think the texture is for me.
Panna cotta (‘trickling springs’ cream, vanilla, saba). So if the savory portions of the meal left something to be desired, the dessert more than made up for it. I’d never had saba and while by itself it was a little cloying, combined with the panna cotta it was great. And man oh man, that panna cotta! It was just so rich and delicious, I can literally still taste it.
Okay this is where it gets interesting. At the end of the meal our waitress brought over two glasses of champagne “from her.” Guys, I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but is this my first time being recognized?! Before going to dinner I tweeted at Ghibellina for menu recommendations and they replied. Then the reservation was also in my name so it would be very easy to put all that together. I mean, who knows, maybe it was just a nice server but don’t worry–my head was so big after this I could barely get it out the door.
Overall we had a very pleasant time. The decor really was cool, with lots of rustic wood and bare Edison bulbs–I mean look at that beautiful that wall behind us. And while I don’t know if I’d do a sit down dinner again, I’d definitely go for pizza and drinks with that happy hour crowd. Oh, and panna cotta, lots of panna cotta.