UPDATE: Giuseppe’s Restaurant awarded the 2015 Restaurant of the year
It has been some time since we formally reviewed Giuseppe’s yet we have visited the restaurant many times since the first review in 2011.
What has struck us in the intervening 12 months is how ‘solid’ a restaurant Giuseppe’s has become. Not only has the restaurant continued to improve its food offerings but it has expanded its repertoire to include some really classy italian offerings that truly put the restaurant ahead of the pack and a deserved winner of this year’s award. Our rants and rave article will go into more detail about the restaurant scene for 2013 and our award announcement will tell you more about why the judges chose Giuseppe’s, so let’s look at some of the stand out dishes the reviewers have sampled since the first review.
Lamb shanks: Perfectly cooked ‘fall off the bone’ tenderness a HUGE serving and definitely a go to dish if you have carnivore cravings.
Tagliolini Limone E Gamberi: Al dente pasta with succulent prawns in a wondrous velvety lemon sauce. Make sure you order some bread to mop up the juices!
Risotto Porcini: A classic dish that is not simple to get right but Giuseppe nails it every time. Creamy rice with just the right amount of bite!
Pizza: A real crowd pleaser and it is almost impossible not to see one or two tables groaning under the weight of several pizzas. The dough Giuseppe uses is light but crispy and the ingredients are all great quality and not too heavy handed in their application. With pizza ‘less is more’ (ingredients wise).
Giuseppe’s menu is as big as his servings so we can’t list all the dishes we have tried. Giuseppe also needs to be congratulated on his consistency. It is easy for a restaurant to ‘go off’ when the tourism season softens but we have never experienced anything but top notch service and quality every time we visited the restaurant.
I never thought I would start a restaurant review (in Bohol) raving about the front of house staff as we have come to accept the vagaries of customer service from restaurants and the broader business community here.
We were pleasantly surprised by our welcome at Giuseppe as we were seated at our table our waiter asked if we would like a pre dinner drink then he didn’t hover. The propensity for waiters and waitresses in the Philippines to ‘hover’ at the table is somewhat annoying. I don’t know about most patrons but we like to spend time with a menu and consider all the options. The over exuberance of wait staff can be intimidating but again it is more a reflection of lack of quality training or simply (in some cases) the over staffing of restaurants which is a reflection of cheap labour.
Anyway, back to the review. Giuseppe Pizzeria and Sicilian Roast (not sure exactly what the Sicilian Roast thing means) is located in what looks like an office building just on the outskirts of Alona heading back towards the city. We have driven past the building many times but nothing on the outside had enticed us in before and this visit was only after some rave reviews from our friends. What a pleasant surprise on entering the building to find a well proportioned restaurant with an open style kitchen sporting a massive wood fire oven and spotless work surfaces. The only thing that seemed out of place was a massive coke dispensing machine, quite an eyesore! We know nothing of the owner, but the layout and the well trained staff speaks to a seasoned professional with an eye for detail.
After we perused the menu we opted for a “Lorenzo’ Pizza and a salmon salad. After placing our order we took a stroll around the restaurant (actually making a bee line for the wine display) and noticed a large ‘black board specials menu’ over the opening to the kitchen. The fact that our waiter didn’t point out this menu (and one other small omission) were the only misssteps from an otherwise professional and faultless team.
Our order arrived quickly and beautifully presented with the pizza overflowing the wooden chopping board and the salad equally well presented. The accompanying wedges of complimentary baked pizza dough was somewhat of a mystery but could have been better prepared with some garlic or salt.
The pizza itself was well crafted with a freshly home made base and just the right amount of topping all perfectly cooked. Quality ingredients and the correct dough are the hallmarks of a great pizza and the forbearance of heaping piles of conflicting ingredients is also a mark of a real professional pizza ‘stylist’? Again our waitstaff surprised us with almost ‘psychic’ intuition and offered us some spicy sauce to go with the pizza. I had been just about to ask for it!
The salad, unfortunately, was insipid and tasteless and needed seasoning (we asked for salt several times but each time our waiter was distracted to other duties). Three quarters the way through our pizza we realised that we had received the wrong pizza noticing that there was no olives (we had ordered the Lorenzo but received the Gregorio). We put this down to a language barrier. Quite frankly we never listen when wait staff read back our order. Irrespective, the pizza was wonderful and accompanied by a few glasses of the house red we were more than satisfied.
As mentioned earlier we discovered the black board menu during our wanderings and asked several questions of the kitchen staff. My partner, a self confessed lamb addict asked about the lamb special to be told it was unavailable. Those readers who follow this review site will know of our ‘dumbfounded’ disbelief when it comes to restaurants proffering menu items that are unavailable. This is even sillier when you consider this offing was on a blackboard…..I thought blackboards were easy to change?
All in all our experience at Giuseppe Pizzeria and Sicilian Roast was great but the wait staff were the true heroes of the evening. Other restaurants and prospective wait staff could learn a lot from the team at Giuseppe’s.
Oh by the way, Giuseppe’s has a deli. We were intending to visit it and report accordingly but got waylaid by friends who were also dining that night and ended up trying to empty a grappa bottle! Salut!