What better way to get an honest and trustworthy review of an Italian then sending 2 Italian’s down to taste the best dishes?
I’m the first to admit that when it comes to anything Italian in this country, I become a little bit snobbish. Nothing can ever beat my nanna’s, my mum’s or even my cousins in Merangeli (a tiny village in the mountains near Naples). Sometimes I even pull a face if it’s Northern Italian because my mum is very much from the South (sorry, Sophia, who’s family are practically German they’re that far North in Italy).
Authentic is often used as an adjective before ‘Italian restaurant’ and I always question it. Don Giovanni, however, needs no questioning. When the staff are all from the region of Italy the restaurant boasts as its delicacy, you’re certainly in very good hands.
For starters, I opted for Melanzane Parmigiana (£7.45) (baked aubergine) a dish that you don’t see that regularly on Italian menus. It surpassed my expectations and was probably the cheesiest I’ve ever tried, which only makes it better for me.
It’s an oven baked dish made up from aubergine, scamorza, tomato, basil and the all important parmesan cheese – it’s very naughty and very very tasty.
My Northern Italian counterpart tried Gamberoni Grigliati (£9.95) for her starter and although I personally didn’t try it, she described it as one of the best starters she’d ever had, the bread particularly being perfect.
We also decided to share some Polpette (£8.95). For a dish of meatballs – it’s so simple that it’s really easy to get wrong (think of all the flavourless ones you’ve ever tried). The sauce was rich with just the right amount of basil that wasn’t overpowering, and the meat was actually tender. Bellissima.
For my main, I went for a steak. Yep, a steak. You’re probably thinking, “but you’re at an Italian restaurant, why on earth aren’t you eating pasta or pizza?” Well listen here, some of the best steaks I’ve ever had have either been made by an Italian or in Italy. Guess what, this one was brilliant.
I opted for the Bistecca di Manzo (or Sirloin) for £23.50 and although this thing doesn’t come cheap, it was well worth every penny. To accompany this very generous sized slab of meat, I had a simple salad and doused the lot in a beautifully creamy mushroom sauce and washed down with a gorgeous Neprica (£24.95 a bottle).
The fact that I also can’t eat much gluten (probably stemming from all the years of being force-fed pasta) and am on a carb-free diet, this steak was perfect.
Sophia thoroughly enjoyed her Pollo Tricolore (£15.95), which again had a rich and delicious vine cherry tomato sauce, topped with goats cheese. Is there anything Italians can’t do well?
Dessert was a simple vanilla ice cream, but everyone knows gelato is only ever done right if it’s served by an Italian, and this certainly didn’t disappoint. HOMEMADE Gelato.
Thank you for showing me that sometimes southern isn’t always the way to go, Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni, Peter House, 1-2 Oxford St, Manchester M1 5AN
0161 228 2482