Girasole

This successful, people-pleasing Italian restaurant in Shadyside, friendly and flavorful, won't rest on its laurels (or sunflowers).



(page 2 of 2)

girasole salad

Burrata (fresh mozzarella filled with cream) with heirloom tomatoes.

Photo by Laura Petrilla

 

The primi are, for the most part, very tempting. The antipasto ($13.95) is a satisfying, albeit predictable, offering. It includes oven-roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, whole artichoke slices, tasty homemade bean spread, Greek olives, fontina and provolone cheeses. The bruschetta ($7.95) is simple, consisting of hearty (grilled) Italian bread that's spread with soft ricotta and topped with chopped, seasoned tomatoes.

A standout appetizer (available seasonally) is the burrata ($9.95), which stars fresh mozzarella cheese made with cream. The outside is firm, but the inside is creamy and almost liquid like a melted brie. A delicious assortment of baby heirloom tomatoes nicely tossed in simple olive-oil vinaigrette complements the burrata.

Each table is provided with a basket of good-quality Breadworks Italian bread, which is accompanied by butter packets and an olive-oil and balsamic-vinegar carafe.

One of Girasole's most popular dishes for lunch and dinner is the excellent house salad. It's built on a heap of mixed greens, which are topped with cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, shaved red onions, Kalamata olives, garbanzo beans, gorgonzola and, of course, sunflower seeds. All ingredients are tossed in the right amount of tangy homemade vinaigrette. Add grilled chicken or sautéd shrimp for a complete, healthful meal.

The pasta dishes, which come in large portions, are flavorful and sometimes very rich. The decadent spinach and ricotta ravioli ($15.95) features large, thick-skinned ravioli filled with ricotta and a minimal hint of spinach; it's topped with a very rich cream sauce punctuated by chunks of tomato.

A disappointing dish is the torcia, a torch-shaped pasta in a white-wine sauce with rapini, fennel, white beans and miniature meatballs ($17.95). The ingredients are promising, but the dish is more pasta than toppings, and the torcia are soggy from the broth.

The potato gnocchi ($14.95) in marinara sauce is respectable. Both the gnocchi and marinara sauce are a bit run-of-the-mill, but the dish is enhanced by small pieces of fresh mozzarella. The parmesan grated on top by servers at the table adds a nice touch.

In the fall menu, the most popular pasta is the pumpkin ravioli ($17.95) in sage-cream sauce; customers start calling in August in anticipation of its arrival. This dish was not on the menu when I dined, but it's definitely something to try.

For non-pasta dishes, choose among the daily chicken, seafood or meat specials. Girasole has a flair with chicken, frequently offering specials ($20 range) that consist of a sautéd chicken breast combined with any number of Mediterranean ingredients such as pasta, feta or greens.

Daily seafood offerings tend to veer away from traditional Italian fare but often with success. One sea-scallop special ($23.95) features six large, perfectly cooked sautéd scallops on a bed of broccoli, pine nuts and red peppers—a light and colorful dish with a nice contrast of flavors and textures. Unfortunately, I was unable to catch chef Corimski's popular signature meat special, osso bucco served alongside traditional risotto with saffron and basil-lemon gremolata—available the last weekend of every month.

Several people inside and outside of the restaurant staff make the homemade desserts. The Italian rum cake is the best dessert that I sampled; although, it does not in any way resemble a traditional Italian rum cake (a layer cake soaked with rum). It's a piece of buttery bundt cake with caramelized-nut topping sitting on a pool of a little too-thick crème anglaise.

Similarly good is the coconut cake, consisting of a large piece of white cake filled with coconut pastry crème and crowned with whipped topping and coconut. The tiramisù is the weakest dessert I tried—it was soaking wet. It's just as well: You may already be too full for dessert.

What's next for Girasole? The family plans to capitalize on the food's popularity by offering catering services; they've already started catering weddings and other events-miraculously doing so out of the existing tiny restaurant kitchen. The Gerasoles intend to add a catering kitchen at a separate location to pursue this new line of business.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

The builder of two stadiums, a billion-dollar football business, NFL labor harmony and racial sensitivity, and bridges between constituencies –– he was an everywhere man whose soft, steady hand was felt everywhere.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

Pittsburgh ties with one other city for having the worst drivers in the nation.
HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

The pilot episode of “Steel City Rehab” follows a Pittsburgh couple as they flip a home in the city’s East End.
‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

Grenier on playing the dream role of Willy Loman, coming to Pittsburgh and performing at the renowned Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Enjoy a Cocktail to Help Preserve Pittsburgh's Historic Murals

Enjoy a Cocktail to Help Preserve Pittsburgh's Historic Murals

The nearly 80-year-old murals by Maxo Vanka show an immigrant's’ perspective on important issues.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

The builder of two stadiums, a billion-dollar football business, NFL labor harmony and racial sensitivity, and bridges between constituencies –– he was an everywhere man whose soft, steady hand was felt everywhere.
Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

With a little work, the Strip District restaurant could become a Pittsburgh classic.
Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive ailment to treat and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Pittsburgh has become a battleground in the fight against the devastating illness, thanks to the decade-long quest of two Pittsburgh researchers whose work is on track to change the face of medicine and affect millions worldwide.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

Pittsburgh ties with one other city for having the worst drivers in the nation.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Brandon Blumenfeld introduces an American gastropub menu at the Troy Hill bar.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Five Essential May Events

Five Essential May Events

Comics (the kind on paper), comics (the kind with microphones), cats and more upcoming delights.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

If Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers is still available, the Pittsburgh Steelers would be wise to make him their first-round pick in the NFL draft.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

The Pittsburgh premiere of offbeat cartoon "My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea" is the local film event of the week.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

You’ll definitely want the story behind these stunning wedding flowers.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Hosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners, the free event, which includes the local daffodil society’s annual show, features exclusive and hard-to-find flowers, shrubs, fruit and vegetable plants and other garden accessories from a variety of vendors.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

Considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Alex Rodriguez also is one of the league's more controversial stars.

Comments