Gianni’s Ristorante Aruba
Dining at Gianni’s one lazy afternoon literally brought me back to Italy in my mind. The food was impeccable, from the wine to the antipasto to the pasta. The food was very fresh, prepared well and perfectly and you can tell even the pasta was of very high quality. However, the service was very slow, even though there were more waiters working than occupied tables of patrons. I actually had to go hunting to find my waiter and flagged down other waiters to get the check. I was not in a hurry, however, after spending nearly 2 hours there, me and my girlfriend were missing out on beach time on our last full day in Aruba. To be fair, it was the day after Carnival and somehow it is considered a holiday on the island. Perhaps not an official one, but an unspoken one since nearly everyone is or should be hungover from the celebration. So, all things being equal, I will focus on the food and not the service.
After ordering the wine, we ordered the appetizers, better known as the antipasti. I wish I could remember the name of the wines, one was a Merlot from California and the other a Pinot Noir from Italy. The choice was good because I loved the pinot noir but my girlfriend loved the Merlot, so I did not have to share it or give up my glass for hers.
The cold antipasto, some very delicious cuts of prosciutto, sopressata, mortadella, marinated mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, sharp provolone, green and black olives. I don’t mind the one piece of mozzarella, we can slice that in half and share. However, when they only bring you one item for 2-3 to share, its just annoying. One green olive? One black olive? Why not raise the price .25cents so you can include 2 green olives and two black olives so both of us can enjoy a whole one? Its not like you can cut a pitted olive in half, so we each took a bite and shared in this case, but if she was not my girlfriend, we would not be sharing food we took a bite out of.
Along with the cold antipasto, I had to order a hot antipasto of fried calamari since my girlfriend (a Venezuelan) had never had it, plus, I love it, so I just had to have it. I am glad the served it with both marinara and lemon (I prefer lemon as it would be served in Italy, and 90% of the time I have to ask for fresh lemon after its been served). These were the largest rings of calamari I’ve ever seen or eaten and were very good. Not the biggest portion, but I understand all about food waste, cost margin and with the cold antipasto and a full plate of pasta coming, I can understand this. Most restaurants do not operate at a high profit or surplus. It takes years and great popularity before they start turning a handsome profit. So, I am forgiving of portion sizes, especially if its in a tourist area and they know most of the time it will not be taken home, but simply thrown out.
While I am tempted to order another appetizer like some fresh oysters, I know I will have trouble finishing the main pasta course. That, and the fact that any girlfriend I have ever had in recent years, never allow me to eat shellfish. If I am lucky, the allow me to eat shrimp, only because they love it too. Its not that I am allergic to shellfish, I am allergic to BAD shellfish, but at that point, its too late, and my face lights and up like a red thermometer and just as hot. So, as inciting as this is, to see fresh shellfish being properly maintained while waiting to be served, I have to pass it up.
So, on to the main course, which is pasta. My girlfriend orders the basic Quatro Fromaggio Rigatoni, your 4 Italian cheeses with light tomato and cream sauce. Its delicious, the perfect amounts of cheese, with fresh tomato and some cream, all delicate and perfectly cooked.
And of course mine was a tough decision, being Italian, I’ve had pasta nearly every possible way, and my favorites 9 out of 10 times is the way I make it. However, in this case, they are serving it with fresh truffles which I normally do not buy, cannot afford and/or do not have available to me where I live without a long drive or mail order. So, the fettuccine alfredo with truffles seems the way to go this afternoon. And, it was very delicious. All those black specs you see is not pepper but black truffle which add a very distinct taste to any food, especially pasta. This pasta looked and tasted like it was made from egg noodle, but still had a nice firm bite. In any case, the truffle and the cream still dominated and it was one of the best pasta dishes I had eaten out that I can recall.
There was plenty of it, and I did have a hard time finishing it with all the appetizers, but I was pleased with Gianni’s although I was not thrilled about their service, and even the fact that they wanted me to wait 30 minutes for a table the night before when they were only at half capacity. The bill came to around $120 with tip, not cheap for lunch or even dinner, but they offer no lunch menu, which means, you are paying the same price for items during lunch as you would for dinner. I can beat them up about service and prices more, but the bottom line is, this is an excellent restaurant with excellent food who really know what being Italian and serving Italian food is all about. And the bonus is they are playing real Italian music through the speakers, not instrumental, not 80s nonsense, not even Italian-American classics, but true Italian music. I hope to return here one day.
Gianni’s Ristorante Aruba
J.E. Irausquin Boulevard, Noord, Aruba
Phone: +297 586 7794 Web: giannisaruba.com
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