Italian Intimacy on Copeland Street
An Italian restaurant can take on a wide variety of identities: it can be relaxing and comforting, wild and zesty, or maybe a refined and modern elegance. Any way you experience it, the food of an Italian restaurant should nevertheless be relatively consistent, with strong flavors and a slew of comforting favorites, from pastas and pizzas to roasted meats and vegetables. In the case of this review, the atmosphere took on a cozy, quaint feel, which definitely matched the surrounding neighborhood of Shadyside’s Walnut Street. The food matched too, and with a few exceptions was quite spectacular. So without further ado, here is Girasole with Lilly Mansmann and Marialice Skabardonis.
The initial atmosphere was a lot more hectic than I initially expected when looking from the outside. As you enter the space, your close proximity to other diners and the compact space creates a lot of noise and makes it difficult to have a good conversation with your guests. Once the lunch crowd cleared out, the atmosphere became much more enjoyable. The brushed copper tables and sunflower décor created a modern Italian look that’s warm and lively, even beneath the relatively dark lighting.
The service was a bit off. I believe our server was new, but she did her job. The service was only a tad slow and a bit impersonal.
Before I get to the main meal…IF YOU CLAIM TO BE A NICE RESTAURANT, DO NOT USE STORE BOUGHT BREAD AND BUTTER! This is one of my biggest pet peeves: if a restaurant is even going to serve bread and butter, it should be made in-house like everything else. When we were served a store-bought loaf and pre-packaged butter, needless to say I was a little disappointed.
However, most everything else was exceptional. The spinach and ricotta ravioli was flavorful and paired well with my house wine. I also sampled the potato gnocchi and was impressed with the light and airy nature of the mozzarella.
My portion of ravioli was somewhat small, so for the price I’m not sure the value was there.
I think in many ways this is a very good Italian restaurant, and I would be interested to see how dinner at Girosole would play out. Lunch was pretty good, although in some ways things could have gone better.
My favorite part was the location and delicious food! It’s my favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh! The server wasn’t the best. She definitely gave us leftover bread and was slow. It was the middle of the afternoon and not very busy. I think she must have been new. Overall, it’s a nice place! I would go with a family, on a date, or for a celebration. It’s also usually super crowded so it’s best to go in the afternoon for a late lunch during the week.
As for my meal, I had gnocchi with cream sauce. There was mozzarella cheese in it that was melty and delicious. It also came with a salad that was fresh and tasty.
Lilly is a recent graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She plans on going on short trips and working on a farm this summer. She will then begin searching for a job in the fall. She loves to spend as much time outside as possible. She loves flowers, seeing new places, and knitting.
Girasole (sunflower in Italian), blends the old and the new, with an “innovative menu, chic patrons and upbeat atmosphere.” To look at the menu and some wonderful photos (including the owner, who is featured above this post too) check out the website: http://www.733copeland.com/index.php