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Friday, November 9, 2012

Columbia Eats: Il Giorgionne Pizzeria and Wine Bar

"mmmmmmm!" exclaims Brittany Walter.
If there was one thing that Columbia always had, it was a wealth of Italian restaurants at every corner - Dianne's, Pasta Fresca, and Garibaldi's, Ristorante Divino, Delucca's, Moe's Grapevine, and Villa Tronco are just a few that come to mind (let's not even get started on those awful chains). In the last few years, however, a flood of newcomers has popped up all over Columbia, filling in those gaps and causing some buzz comparable to the food truck explosion. Rosso in particular made itself a fixture of not just Forest Acres, but in the community as a whole, supporting local events and making itself a staple of Soda City.

So here we stand, at yet another Italian addition to the capital city, Il Giorgionne. After all that, what exactly sets apart Columbia's newest Italian member from the rest?

Well, for starters, authenticity.

This is not an Italian-American joint. Though it's interiors are clean, sleek and contemporary American, the stuff that hits the table is what one might consider Italy to be. No caesar salad or garlic bread or fried calamari, but rather plates of imported cheese and cold cuts, a caprese of tomato and fresh mozzerella, cheese on pretty much everything in fact (a classic clear-cut path towards customer satisfaction if I do say so myself) line the appetizer menu. Paired with a large wine list, the restaurant lives up to its wine bar namesake fairly well.

The entree list at Il Giorgionne is lean and focused, packed with simple, classic Italian dishes including carbonara, spaghetti aglio olio e Rapini (garlic, good olive oil and broccoli rabe over pasta), pappardelle (egg pasta with bolognese meat sauce) and of course pizzas, including margherita and romana. I tried the carbonara and tortelloni alla Stefania on my visit. Carbonara, the classic pasta dish of pancetta, pecarino, pasta finished off with a creamy egg at the end is something that you have to really go to great lengths to mess up, and Il Giorgionne certainly does not here. The pasta was fresh, and the sauce was cheesy and yolky as it should be, just a really fine dish.

The star was the tortelloni though, stuffed with cheese and sitting on a rich, creamy tomato sauce that we were sopping up with any bread we could get our hands on well after the tortelloni were gone. The portions look deceptively small when they come to the table, but the richness of it all certainly makes up for the difference, leaving you feeling very fine by the end of the meal.

The prices, compared to its upscale neighbor Diannes and other Italian eateries are a touch lower, making for a good, local place to get some solid Italian food without breaking the bank. Life-changing it may not be, but Il Giorgionne is certainly satisfying in its own right, and a fine addition to the Columbia Italian scene for what they do.

il Giorgione Pizzeria & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


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