From the outside, Gianni's Ristorante Italiano doesn't look like much. On the inside, though, is a pleasantly dim and cozy restaurant. We settled into the comfortable booths and started perusing the menu.
After ordering a glass of wine apiece, we settle on the steamer clams ($10 for one person, $12 for two) as an appetizer.
While we waited for the clams, we nibbled on the bread and tapenade. The bread was delicious, dense and slightly chewy, and I had to force myself not to fill up on it before our food came. The tapenade was pleasantly tangy and went well with the bread and the chianti I ordered.
Our steamers arrived after a short wait. We had to ask the server for a bowl for the shells, which seemed like a rookie error in a nice restaurant.
The clams were served in a very simple broth that let the great clam flavor take center stage. They were cooked just right and quickly vanished between my husband and me. We sopped up the broth with some of the extra bread, which our server refilled quickly when asked.
For entrees, my husband ordered the Fettucine Verde ($15.95 or $11.95 ala carte). The spinach pasta was tossed with tomato sauce, bacon, garlic, onion, olives and red-hot pepper. It was rich and flavorful. My husband loved it, while I found the olive flavor a bit overwhelming. If you don't like olive, you won't like this dish. It was noticeably spicy, but well balanced by the other flavors.
The entree came with minestrone soup and a salad.
The menu says that salads are served in the traditional manner, at the end of the meal unless otherwise requested. We did not request otherwise, but our salad still showed up before our entree. Not that we minded.
We did have to ask for a replacement because it came with the wrong dressing. We had asked for the gorgonzola dressing, which Gianni's is proud enough of that they sell it to go. The first salad, with Italian dressing, was actually better. It was tangy without overpowering the salad. The gorogonzola was weakly flavored, although it was hard to give it a fair test because the lettuce in the second salad was slightly watery.
We also ordered a Quattro Stagione pizza ($14.50 for a 10-inch, $17.50 14-inch).
The pizza was the favorite of the evening. It came with four different sections: pesto, marina, marina and cheese, and onion. The crust was my favorite kind: substantial and slightly chewy. It was delicious. I'd certainly recommend it. My only complaint was the pesto, which was weak on the garlic.
We finished off our meal with cannolis ($6.25). These were just OK. Nothing wrong with them, but they didn't impress me, either. The crust was pleasantly crunchy, but nothing had a very strong flavor and I wouldn't order these again.
My husband, however, disagreed, and said he enjoyed them. He liked that the chocolate flavor wasn't overpowering.
Gianni's also offers a lunch menu, and it would be fun to try out their lunch offerings. I want to go back and give the simple spaghetti and meatballs a try, as well as the gnocchi.
Despite a few hiccups with the service, we enjoyed our meal. It was a comfortable place to linger over the food and sip a glass of wine.
Gianni's Ristorante Italiano
5030 Evergreen Way, Everett; 425-252-2435; www.giannisitaliano.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday
Alcohol: Beer and wine
Vegetarian: Many options
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