Giovanni’s Ristorante – Explore the tastes of Northern Italy
Address: 127 11th St. in the historic Soda Creek Building
Hours: 5:30 p.m. to close daily. Reservations encouraged.
For those seeking a distinctive Northern Italian dish, a premier wine selection and an intimate setting, Giovanni’s Ristorante is the perfect choice.
Steamboat Springs has plenty of options for traditional Italian dishes such as lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs. Giovanni’s is not among them.
“We’ve created unique entrees to put our signature on,” said Dave Sypert, who owns Giovanni’s with his wife, Jennifer.
Giovanni’s does offer a variety of pasta entrees, including Fettuccini Carbonara, hand-rolled Cannelloni and Cannestrelli, but it is the restaurant’s hand-cut steaks, chops and jet-fresh seafood that distinguish it from the competition. Sypert said the top comment he gets from customers is “that’s the best steak I’ve ever had.”
They also love the 14-ounce veal chop, which is cooked to order and served with a lingonberry demi-glace, and the Scampi Palermo, large prawns stuffed with herb-garlic cheese and Fontina cheese, wrapped in Prosciutto ham and baked with Pinot Grigio and a hint of garlic. They are the kinds of meals that keep Steamboat Springs visitors coming back to the warm and inviting restaurant in the historic Soda Creek Building on 11th Street.
Once you experience the restaurant, you will want to come back. Giovanni’s frequently receives reservations months in advance from regular Steamboat vacationers who always make time for dinner at the restaurant during their visits.
Sypert said, “Giovanni’s key to success is attention to detail.” It is evident this is a philosophy that permeates the restaurant.
Giovanni’s is one of only five Steamboat Springs restaurants to earn a 2005 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, and it is the only one to be recognized for its selection of Italian wines. Wine Spectator reviews wine lists from thousands of restaurants every year and selects the best for its awards program.
The restaurant has a deep selection of wines from Tuscany and the northern regions of Italy. It is the Super Tuscans – Ornellaia, Tignanello, Sassicaia and Solaia, for example – that set Giovanni’s wine list apart. There simply isn’t anything comparable in Steamboat.
The restaurant accommodates 80 people, but Giovanni’s won’t do more than two seatings per table per night. The focus is on the quality of the customers’ experience, not the quantity of customers.
“We want people to enjoy their meal and wine,” Sypert said. “We don’t want our guests to feel like they’re being rushed out the door so that we can get another party in.”
Giovanni’s features two rooms, a main dining area and a lounge area. The main dining area is warm and appealing with white tablecloths, candles and artwork featuring scenes of Italy. The original red brick wall of the Soda Creek Building is exposed at the rear of the room. It is believed that Carl Howelsen, the legendary skier for whom Howelsen Hill is named, did the masonry work on the building.
The lounge area has a sophisticated feel with warm red walls, blown-glass light fixtures and espresso-colored leather booths. It’s an area where patrons can enjoy a full meal or come for wine and cocktails.
Giovanni’s has a children’s menu and families are welcome; however, the restaurant is best suited for adults seeking a unique Italian experience.
“For us, the restaurant is about romance and intimacy,” Sypert said. “Our restaurant is really geared toward couples or friends seeking an intimate dinner together, people who truly appreciate wine and great food.”
Though it is one of the city’s most elegant places to have dinner, Giovanni’s prices are very competitive with other fine-dining establishments. All entrees include a house salad and range in price from $15 to $30. Reservations are encouraged at the restaurant, which opens at 5:30 p.m. nightly.
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