Foods from Giovanni's

2015 Jan 11
Had a wonderful meal at Giovanni's last night, we had Calamari for a starter it was lightly battered and cooked to perfection and easily shared by two. We had the special of veal chops stuffed with provalone and panchetta with a side of spaghetti with veal bolognais, the veal was presented on a bed of spinach and had a lovely peppercorn sauce it was medium,juicy and tender, the spagetti and sauce were perfect. The service staff were extremely attentive, I have not had such service since The Palace Cafe in New Orleans, the servers were very obliging allowing customers to mix and match there entres and your water glass was never half empty. We pared our meal with a bottle of house red which was a very pleasant suprise and would please most palates For desert my husband had a Dolche cake infused with amaretto liquer,decadent and a generous portion. Music, candlelight, food and service second to none, this is the way fine dining is supposed to be,we had no reservations but I am thankful they fit us in and gave us a 3hr sitting.

2013 Mar 4
I attended a business lunch at Giovanniís last week. The place was recently renovated and is really beautiful with lots of natural light coming through the large windows. Food was really good and clearly made form fresh ingredient. I had a minestrone soup to start and I was surprised by the large amount of vegetable and beer it included. I had the tuna steak with a tomato/olive/caper sauce which was wonderful. The tuna wasnít overcooked and real tender. My co-workers all had pasta dish were they said were really good (the seafood pasta appears the best with loads of mussels and shrimps). The waiter was great and wasnít trying to get rid off us even though we stayed more then two hours. The prices are indeed higher then I would have expected. I will probably re-visit on the occasional basis.

2012 Oct 15
Wow! There hasn't been a review on OF for almost a year on Giovanni's, that really suprises me.

We went on Friday night with a group of about 12 people and really enjoyed our time. Other reviews mention the out-dated decor but since then it has recieved a serious face lift and the interior is absolutely gorgeous.

Food: Delicious. I had the fettucine fresce which I really enjoyed, a really light pasta if there is such a thing. And my date had a veal and shrimp dish which he said was delicious but could easily get at any other Italian restaurant in the city. Everyone at the table had something different, and overall there were no major complaints about anything.

Service: AMAZING! They are trained to perfection and everything was spot on. At one point, our server mistakenly served a glass of wine from our bottle to another guest at the table. We didn't make a big deal of it but to apoligize he brought us two glasses on the house to make up for it. We were in a hurry by the time dinner came to an end and he as well as another server took away our plates and dealt with closing the bills in record time.

Value: In our opinion, the pricing was a bit higher than a comparable restaurant in Ottawa. Pastas started at $22, entrees started at $30, rack of lamb was $44, a caprese salad was $18. I'd say almost every dish was about $6 more than I'd expect elsewhere. Wine was reasonably priced though.

Overall, it's a great restaurant but the price would keep me from going back multiple times as I'm not sure if the value is there.

2011 Nov 28
I see it's been a while since there has been a review on Giovanni's, and probably with good reason. We went with another couple this past Saturday and came away quite disappointed on several fronts. Basically this is a restaurant that has not kept up with the times, and is old-school Italian, a place my parents would refer to as a "fancy restaurant". Old stuffy decor aside, we had reservations and ended up in the main aisle, where my wife's chair was bumped or kicked by every other person passing through, including the wait staff. We shared an antipasto for two which was OK, but prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe is cliche. All four ended up ordering a veal dish, all of which were bland, too much flour that turned to a sticky paste and a nondescript, pasty sauce that had no hint of Cognac as it was supposed. Side veg was a cliche of asparagus, a slice of grilled zucchini, and one pathetic deep fried potato.

Service was poor, with the waiter reaching across our faces to serve and remove plates, and to serve pepper from the (you guessed it) large pepper grinder. Wine list was good, but expensive.

Overall, the bland, old school food and poor service did not justify the not inexpensive cost. This appears to be a restaurant that is living off a many years old reputation. There are many other Italian restaurant that are miles above.

2010 Sep 23
Giovanni's - yum!

My parents were visiting and since BF and I have relocated to Little Italy, they very much wanted to try out an Italian restaurant. Giovanni's did not disappoint.

The service is very warm and attentive, with frequent refills of wine and water, as mentioned below. BF and I would have loved to try a bottle of red wine from their extensive list but Mama and Papa are dedicated white wine drinkers so we tried their house white (very good) and a bottle of Italian white (soave? even better).

They bring warm rolls with butter but there is also olive oil and balsamic vinegar at every table in a very cool looking glass bottle with a glass grape bunch inside (the bottle holds the oil and the grape bunch holds the vinegar and there are two spouts).

I had their soup of the day to start - a clam chowder. It was not heavy at all but rather very fresh tasting and nicely seasoned. BF had the beef carpaccio which he enjoyed. It came with capers and fresh shards of parmesan and a little wedge of lemon.

For mains, Mama and Papa both has the veal (one with shrimp and mushrooms, the other with shrimp and spinach) and the restaurant obligingly substituted potatoes and veg for angel hair pasta with a light tomato sauce.

BF had the penne alla puttanesca and said it was very spicy and delicious. I had the trio of lasagne, cannelloni and veal - it was excellent. The veal parmigiana was great as was the canneloni, the lasagne was my least favorite as there was something strange about the seasoning that I could not quite put my finger on (although BF enjoyed it very much).

We shared a dessert of biagie alla ciccololata (sp?) or pastry shells filled with vanilla pastry cream and dipped in chocolate fondue/chocolate mousse. It was delicious!

My only nit pick (and this is a small one) is that I did not like their espresso, it has a slightly burnt flavour. But that is minor stuff on a big ship as papa says.

Our bill for 2 apps, 4 mains, a litre + a bottle of wine, a dessert and 2 coffees was $200 before tip (and minus $20 from the entertainment book coupon). They valet also very nicely hailed us a cab in the pouring rain after dinner.

I would absolutely go again - it was a real treat and makes for a lovely special occasion restaurant.

2010 Apr 8
We were here on Easter Monday for dinner. As previously mentioned, a Preston Street Landmark. Not much has changed in terms of decor or menu over the years. This was a last minute decision to go out for dinner (around 8pm) we were dressed very casually, however received the warmest welcoming. The service is extremely attentive, for some I can see this could be on the verge of obstructing (our water glasses were needlessly refilled too many times). However on this particular night, I welcomed the "pampering" after a long Easter weekend of cooking, the attention was nice.

We opted for a half litre of Chianti. It paired very well with our meal.

My spouse chose the trio; it consisted of lasagna, veal and cannelloni (sp?) It was excellent! I had my heart set on the stuffed gnocchi or the fettuccini Alfredo but they were out of those gnocchi. Our server suggested half a serving of regular gnocchi with basil tomato sauce, and half fettuccini. How nice of him. I am glad I got to try both; the gnocchi on their own were soft and light, perfect. However the tomato sauce was overly strong for such delicate pasta... The Alfredo was very good and buttery.

Now, here is a funny story and a lesson perhaps to young inexperienced wait staff. Note that this did not in anyway ruin our experience, we still loved our meal:

When our meals were served, a young server came over to offer the ridiculous pepper mill (that you know I love so much) argg. Anyway, I asked to have it grinded only on my fettuccini. The server then remarked: "oh, just like your dad". At first I was perplexed, I have never been here with my dad... Then it dawned on me! He meant my husband! I still laugh about it, there is a 10 yr difference btwn us and I do look young... But one should never assume the status of their customers... Embarrassing.

2009 Aug 26
Went out for dinner to Giovanni's with two of my friends and it was a wonderful experience.

We each ordered a glass of wine since none of us are big drinkers. They have quite an extensive wine list.

For appetizers we ordered the fried zucchini, which were probably the most flavourful zucchini sticks in all of Ottawa. We also ordered a dish that I forget the name of - cold eggplant with buffalo mozzarella and roasted red peppers (I think) rolled up in between. I did not enjoy this dish, but that is probably because I am not fond of cold eggplant. However, my friend who chose to order this dish loved it.

For my meal, I ordered the manicotti (stuffed with ricotta and spinach) and it was absolutely DELICIOUS! Still thinking about it. Definitely the most authentic and tastiest I have had so far in Ottawa. This is my dish of choice in Italian restaurants. If it is on the menu, I am most likely going to order it.

My friends ordered the gnocchi and the pasta primavera and they both thoroughly enjoyed their dish.

I have no complaints about this restaurant. The service is excellent and they really take care of their customers.

I would visit this restaurant more often, however it is a little pricey, but worth it for a good meal.

Great dinner experience.

2009 Jan 16
The atmosphere here is excellent.this is the place to go for atmosphere but the food is rather average. I had the old standby spaghetti with meatballs my first visit it was ok. My next visit I had a trio of lasagna canelloni and veal I thik it was not so memorable sinc I cannot remember what the trio really consisted of. If you want really exceptional Italian food try Leonardos possibly the best food in little Italy

2007 Sep 20
A Preston Street landmark. This restaurant must house one of the largest wine cellars in the city. Their wine list is impressive, especially if you have a few hundred (or few thousand!) you'd like to drop.

Nice free bruschetta amuse. I had stuffed veal with a side of gnocchi which was excellent, they offer a wide seafood selection here as well. They were very accommodating in that fact the chef didn't mind mixing and matching sides if you wanted to substitute another type of pasta as a side, or try two types. Service was very traditional and attentive (taking jackets as you enter, laying the napkins on your lap, and offering complimentary shots at the end of the meal). Price is steep but I found the outstanding service warranted it. I haven't been here in a few years but would definitely return...


2011 Nov 28
Veal dello Chef, was bland, pasty with too much flour and the Cognac sauce was pasty with no hint of Cognac whatsoever. Similar reviews were given for my wife's veal dish as well.