Giorgio’s Ristorante Italiano is nestled on the corner of Otley Road and Cottage Road in Headingley. This busy restaurant is owned by the same family who own the Olive Tree restaurants so I was expecting big things on arrival. This is the only Italian restaurant the family own, but the passion for using quality ingredients and attention to detail they are famous for in the Olive Tree restaurants is equally as evident here. Everything is made from scratch in Giorgio’s including the pizza dough, the bread and the deserts. The lamb is locally sourced in Ilkley, fresh fish from Whitby and their fruit and veg is supplied by an independent local farmer in Pudsey.

The restaurant also imports ingredients directly from Italy, from 15 flavours of gelato right down to the tomato puree and the rock salt on your dining table.

Giorgio’s ethos is very customer focused. They cater for large parties as well as small, and have a private hire room available which seats up to 25. This is a perfect venue for family celebrations- be it weddings, baptisms, birthdays or anything else you wish to celebrate. When hiring the room, Giorgio’s offer a bespoke menu with a tasting session available, as well as the option of a bespoke cocktail menu and drinks promotions.

When we arrived at the restaurant it was already bustling with many families taking advantage of the early bird menu that Giorgio’s offer. My party of three were greeted warmly, our coats taken and we were settled at our table with drinks delivered quickly. Unfortunately on this occasion I was driving and could not take advantage of the world wines menu that the restaurant boasts, but I will definitely sample a glass or two on my next visit as there is certainly a lot to choose from. We were shown the daily special menu as well as the a la carte menu and then left to peruse and make our choices.

Giorgio’s offer both hot and cold starters and pasta dishes can be ordered as a starter. My daughter opted for the Bruschetta, my husband ordered a starter portion of Spaghetti Bolognese and I chose the Garlic Pizza Bread with tomato to start. We were brought a basket of deliciously soft homemade olive bread to nibble while we waited for our starters to arrive which we enjoyed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The bread tasted lovely – extremely fresh and soft with pieces of olive running through. The starters arrived promptly in an array of colour and aroma. My daughter’s bruschetta was a tower of thick, perfectly toasted bread piled with fresh chunks of tomato, garlic and basil. She attacked the starter with vigour and thoroughly enjoyed the tang of the tomatoes with the crispness of the bread. My husband’s spaghetti bolognese was a generous portion of al dente spaghetti topped with the traditional bolognese sauce of mince, vegetables and tomatoes. He declared it was certainly the best bolognese he has ever eaten, so I think I may have to ask the restaurant for tips having cooked this dish at home for years! My garlic pizza bread was also a delight comprising of a thin, crisp pizza base topped with lashings of garlic and tomato sauce. The garlic bread would be the perfect starter to share around the table.

The waiting staff have a superb knowledge of the menu and suggested a couple of side dishes which would complement our orders of pizza and pasta. We had opted for the Ravioli Salmone, pizza Picante and pizza Rustica Meditereannea. On the advice of our waiter we also ordered a rocket and parmesan salad and the deep fried zucchini. The food arrived without too much delay and we were not disappointed. My ravioli comprised of large squares of homemade pasta filled with smoked salmon and ricotta. This was all smothered in a creamy tomato sauce. The tomato in the sauce combined with the smoky taste of the salmon in the pasta created a perfect balance and each mouthful was a delight. I can only describe the dish as ‘beautiful’. Both the pizzas were equally as tasty. The pizza Picante was an authentic piece of Italy with a thin, crisp base topped with pepperoni, red peppers, tomato, mozzarella and chilli. This pizza had just the right amount of heat from the pepperoni and chilli without being too spicy and again, the freshness of the ingredients made the dish the success that it was. My daughter’s pizza Rustica Meditereannea was a delicious combination of roasted vegetables and goat’s cheese topped with basil, pesto and rocket which she thoroughly enjoyed. The salad and zucchini were certainly a great addition to our meal. The salad was simply comprised of perfectly fresh rocket with shavings of parmesan and a drizzle of dressing. The simplicity of this dish enabled the flavours of the ingredients to sing. The deep fried zucchini were batons of courgette coated in a very light batter. They were delicious and my daughter polished them all off very quickly.

The desert menu has a wide choice of cakes, traditional Italian Gelato and liqueur coffees. After much debate I chose a ricotta and nutella cake which was on the specials menu, my husband chose a platter of seasonal fruits and my daughter struggled to pick just three scoops out of a choice of 15 different flavours of the gelato. She eventually decided upon strawberry, vanilla and hazelnut. The deserts were as beautifully presented as the other courses on arrival. The gelato was declared to be creamy and delicious and the real strawberry and hazelnut pieces in the gelato were particularly appreciated. The fruit platter had a wide variety of fresh fruit all sliced into delicate bite sized pieces and was very tasty. My nutella and ricotta cake definitely stole the show. A thin biscuit and nut base with a hint of nutella sat underneath a deep ricotta cream which was topped with a thin sliver of cake. This was served with slices of fresh strawberry and chocolate sauce and each mouthful was a little taste of heaven. My husband, having chosen the healthy option couldn’t resist and pinched half of it!

Feeling nothing but satisfied after our meal, we were brought a complimentary glass of limoncello for each adult to finish off our evening at Giorgio’s. It is the attention to detail like this that make Giorgio’s the fantastic restaurant it is. We can honestly say this is the best Italian restaurant we have ever eaten at and we are counting down to how soon we can return!

Garlic bread with tomato – £4.95
Spaghetti bolognese (starter portion) – £6.95
Bruschetta – £4.95
Ravioli Salmone – £11.50
Pizza Picante – £9.95
Pizza Rustica Meditereannea – £9.95
Deep fried Zucchini – £3.25
Rocket & Parmesan Salad – £3.95
Ricotta & Nutella cake – £5.25
Fruit Platter – £4.95
3 scoop Gelato – £4.95
Total without drinks for 3 people £70.60

*Early bird menu £15.95 for 3 courses
*Children’s menu £6.95 for 2 courses

Giorgio’s Ristorante
70-72 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds LS6 4BA
Tel: 0113 2782030
www.giorgiosrestaurant.co.uk

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