A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to review Giorgio’s Italian restaurant on the corner of Cottage Road, Headingley. That night, I was blown away by the quality of the food and the excellent service, and vowed I would return for another delicious meal – and I did. So when I was recently invited to review the second Giorgio’s restaurant which opened a few months ago I jumped at the chance!The striking Victorian building on Rodley Lane was home to the renowned Olive Tree for many years, owned by George Psarias and his family. Giorgio’s restaurant in Headingley, opened by George’s son Solos is such a success that the decision was taken by the family to rebrand the Olive Tree at Rodley to become the second Giorgio’s, following the semi-retirement of George Psarias.
Upon arrival, you get a great first impression, as Giorgio’s certainly has great kerb appeal! The floodlit carpark looks onto a beautiful garden full of colourful flowers and twinkling fairy lights, with the majestic Victorian mansion inviting you inside. During the summer months, you will be able to enjoy the garden while you dine al fresco from the menu, or at one of the Italian BBQ’s they have planned!
We were warmly greeted inside by Solos and General Manager Leonardo who were both working front of house on the busy Wednesday evening that we attended. The three of us were shown to a table situated in one of the bay windows with a classical Italian sculpture standing nearby – I was immediately transported to the Mediterranean! We were made comfortable and handed a drinks menu. The new wine menu offers a great choice and represents fantastic value for money with high end quality wines at less than £20 a bottle! There is also a specials list of wines if you fancy something a little bit different. All the staff at Giorgio’s are knowledgeable about the wines they sell and able to advise one to suit your tastes. As well as the wines, there is also an authentic Italian list of liqueurs available including brandies, amaretto, and limoncello. Unfortunately, on this occasion I was driving so had to settle for a soft drink but I will make sure to sample what’s on offer next time I visit. Our drinks were delivered quickly along with a basket of freshly home-baked warm bread and butter to enjoy while we perused the menu.
The new spring/summer menu features food from different regions of Italy, with old favourites such as Spaghetti Bolognese from Bologna and around 10 brand new dishes for you to try. Giorgio’s pride themselves on sourcing fresh produce locally with their fruit and veg coming from Horsforth Farm, and the fish from a supplier in Harrogate. To ensure your meal is as authentic as possible, they also source produce directly from Italy including the olive oils, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, olives and the delicious san marzano tomatoes. For dessert, there are also 13 flavours of Gelato and Sorbet that have come straight from Italy too. After reading through all the different options available, we finally decided on our first two courses.
The 12yr old in our party opted for the Calamari Fritti to start, my partner went for the oven baked spare ribs with barbecue sauce and I chose the baked aubergine. The starters arrived at our table in an array of aroma and colour. The generous portion of calamari was served with a fresh salad and homemade tartare sauce. The squid was declared ‘delicious, it melts in your mouth’ and was fried in a light and crisp well-seasoned batter.
The tender ribs were a perfect ‘man-sized’ portion steaming and smothered in a tasty barbecue sauce. Our waiter considerately delivered these along with a bowl of warm lemon water and plenty of extra napkins that were much appreciated after the ribs had been devoured!
My aubergine dish was also very well received. It was incredibly tasty, with a rich tomato sauce and plenty of creamy mozzarella. The sauce was quickly mopped up with the remaining bread and butter!
Giorgio’s offer a good range of meat and fish dishes, but our main courses of choice were pasta and pizza. I opted for one of the brand new dishes the Ravioli Arragosta – lobster ravioli with prawns.
Our young person went for the Romana Pesto – chicken, garlic, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes with rigatoni pasta in a creamy sauce, and my partner chose another new dish – the pizza Diavola. The main dishes arrived beautifully presented. My ravioli was parcels of fresh handmade pasta with delicate lobster meat nestled within, which was perfectly complimented by the rich and creamy sauce and prawns. The Romano Pesto was a made in heaven combination of generous chunks of juicy chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes all tossed together with fresh pasta and a creamy pesto sauce.
The Pizza Diavola was a deliciously crisp, thin base topped with a spicy mix of pepperoni, jalapeno, peppers and onion. For all three of us, every mouthful was a joy and the fresh ingredients really shone through in each dish.
With barely room left for dessert, we were determined to sample what delights were on offer from the in-house pastry chef, and we were glad we did.
Every child loves an ice-cream, and the one at our table is no different! She went for a scoop each of coffee and summer fruit flavoured gelati and swiftly declared it to be the best ice-cream she had ever eaten, perfectly smooth and creamy.
I can second that opinion, as my dessert of choice, a Nutella and ricotta cake was served with hazelnut gelati. The cake itself was light, creamy and simply divine! Cheesecake was the other dessert ordered by our party and it was a velvety slice of heaven served with mixed berries and another scoop of the famous gelati – this time choc chip flavour. Our beautiful desserts rounded off the most delicious meal we have eaten in a long time.
We chose from the A la Carte menu but Giorgio’s also offer an early bird menu from 5.30-7pm, Sunday to Friday. The early bird menu now has even more choice than ever, and at only £12.95 for two courses, or £15.95 for three it offers incredible value for money. Having said this, the main menu is now also better value. They have not compromised on quality but have reduced the menu prices. This means that if you fancy sharing a pizza mid-week instead of cooking, Giorgio’s is a great option, as well as for those special occasions. If you prefer dining out for lunch rather than dinner, Giorgio’s is open for lunch from weds – sat with a lunch menu at £10.95 for two courses. Sunday, they are open all day serving their usual menus as well as a traditional Sunday lunch.
This fantastic restaurant is perfect for everyone. Giorgio’s at Rodley is a venue equally suited to intimate dinners for two as it is for family meals and even parties. Private parties can be booked with a capacity of up to 150 people, and with the large upstairs bar area it is ideal. The bar is a popular evening venue, particularly on a Friday when they run a 2-4-1 cocktails offer from 5.30 – 8pm. With four different prosecco cocktails included on the menu it is just what you need to celebrate the end of the working week!
It is clear at Giorgio’s through the atmosphere, service, food and attention to detail that this is a business run by the famous Psarias family! We thoroughly enjoyed our evening and have already booked a return visit.
The bill for three courses for three people plus drinks came to £81.30
Giorgio’s Ristorante Italiano
‘Oaklands’ 55 Rodley Lane, Rodley, Leeds LS13 1NG
Tel: 0113 2569283
Web: www.giorgiosrestaurant.co.uk

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