The salad nicoise at Girardi’s Osteria in Edmonds is served with blackened ahi tuna. (Sharon Salyer / The Herald)

The salad nicoise at Girardi’s Osteria in Edmonds is served with blackened ahi tuna. (Sharon Salyer / The Herald)

Girardi’s Osteria serves up plenty of class for $10 or less

The Italian restaurant in Edmonds is known for offering a variety of dishes at reasonable prices.

It’s always fun to have a true neighborhood restaurant, one where you feel absolutely comfortable stopping by for just a quick snack or bringing along a group for a leisurely meal.

That’s the atmosphere Girardi’s Osteria hopes its customers continue to find at the Italian restaurant, which first opened in downtown Edmonds in 1999.

It wants to be known as a place that offers a variety of dishes at reasonable prices “to encourage people to get out and enjoy themselves regularly,” said Kris Anthony, general manager.

“It’s a nice place where everybody fits in — evening gowns and jeans,” she said. “I see a lot of the same faces with families, and then see them returning the next day with their friends for lunch.”

I recently stopped in with two family members for a Sunday brunch. Our lunch choices reflect the variety of food on the menu — a hummus appetizer and, for our main courses, ahi tuna salad nicoise, spaghetti chiaro and stuffed sole.

A note about the lunch menu. There are plenty of choices for around $10 or less.

Start with the appetizers. The vegan hummus ($4.95) made with tahini and chickpeas, served with olives and naan bread, was a generous enough portion for the three of us to all get samples.

The goat cheese bruschetta ($5.25) has basil pesto and tomatoes served with grilled garlic bread; polenta gorgonzola ($4.75) is fried polenta in a gorgonzola sauce and garnished with sliced almonds; and crab cakes are $7.95.

As for our main courses, there are many variations of salad nicoise, but this one is served with blackened ahi tuna for $10.95. It is noted on the menu that it is cooked rare — and they mean it. The salad includes hard boiled eggs and hearts of palm, corn, tomatoes, onions and pepperoncini pepper, served with a vinaigrette dressing.

It’s a menu favorite, especially by sushi lovers, Anthony said. Those who like their tuna cooked a little more thoroughly should discuss this with their server.

I ordered the spaghetti chiaro ($10.50), with a light tomato sauce and jumbo prawns.

As advertised, the sauce was light, a nice, not-too-heavy, just-right-sized pasta dish for lunch.

The stuffed sole, at $10.95, is another longtime customer favorite, Anthony said. The stuffing is made from shrimp, scallops and shellfish, topped with a light citrus cream sauce augmented with dill.

The menu changes seasonally, with recent summer menu additions.

A number of menu items can be modified for those who want gluten-free choices.

They include the polenta gorgonzola fried without being coated with flour ($8.25) and the salad that seems to define summer — caprese — with tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, pesto and a balsamic vinegar glaze for $10.25.

It’s a choice that pleases many beyond the gluten-free crowd.

We finished up the meal with lemon sorbetto ($4.95), which the three of us shared.

This is such a restaurant of long standing in Edmonds that you should be aware that it can be busy during its happy hours of 3 to 6 p.m. and resuming at 8 p.m. until closing. There are no reservations for happy hour, so it’s first come, first served.

A lot of people try to get in for happy hour, so customers often have to sign up for the wait list. Try to come by 5 p.m. for less chance of a wait, or at least a shorter one, Anthony advises.

If you plan to come for dinner, reservations are recommended because of the popularity of happy hour.

The restaurant seats about 100 people indoors and another 40 when customers choose the deck, which is kept open year-round. Even in the winter time, customers out walking their dog sometimes stop for a glass of wine on the deck. “I’ve had people out there in the snow,” Anthony said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

Girardi’s Osteria, 504 Fifth Ave. S in Edmonds, offers its “happy lunch” menu from 11:30 a.m. 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Its dinner menu is offered from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Call 425-673-5278 or go to www.girardis-osteria.com for more.

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