I have been an unsatisfied customer for
years, but bit my tongue until my experience there last night. The host of the restaurant, the chef's father, yelled at my mother who has been a consistent customer, along with my father, for 20 years.
I'll get back to last night, but first, I only find the food mediocre - it is hard to find a plate of pasta on the menu with any meat or protein - to me that is not a meal. I could make pasta just as good for $4 at home. Girasole just happens to be the only somewhat-fancy Italian restaurant in the trendy Shadyside area.
One might argue an overpriced meal is worth it for a nice restaurant - and it is a beautiful restaurant in the basement floor with stone walls, but they pack way too many table in a small space. Every customer is either cramped against a wall or bumped, prodded and stepped on by rushing waiters and customers pushing to a table. Completely ruins the mediocre meal and any ambience, not to mention I have seen the restaurant flood mid-meal during a moderate rain shower, so bring your boots and don't put your purse on the floor ladies.
They also have a reputation for not honoring reservations. This is what happened last night. When my mom made the reservation for three of us at 6:30, they said it might take an additional 15 minutes for a table to clear - no biggie, we are patient. I walked from my apartment and checked in at 6:30 as my parents parked their car. I told the host our last name and that we had a reservation for three of us at 6:30. He muttered something about reservations, wrote down my name and phone number and told me 30 minutes to an hour - that is excessive, but I said 'ok' and wandered around for 30 minutes before checking back in.
My dad was about 30 feet behind us when my mom and I checked back in, the host seated us, then began yelling at my mom; the entire party has to be there to be seated, why are you late for your 6:30 reservation, etc. We tried to explain my dad was walking down the steps to the restaurant as we spoke and would be there in less than a minute, and that I had checked in 30 minutes ago for the 6:30 reservation.
The host began yelling he would not serve us, turned to the waiters dispersed around the restaurant and yelled to each of them not to serve us. Not surprisingly the entire restaurant was starring and again, upset from their meal. I stood up and told the host we would not be eating there that night and I would not come back again. We walked out the front door and saw my dad standing there. The host tried to ignore my dad's familiar face, seemingly embarrassed by his outburst just seconds prior, then eventually offered us a table immediately and we told he we preferred eating elsewhere.
Girasole expected us to wait for mediocre, overpriced food in an overcrowded and uncomfortable restaurant for 30 minutes to an hour after the time of our reservation and for each one of us to push through the tables in the front of the restaurant in order to check back in at our reservation at the same time. The host would not wait 30 seconds for my dad after making us wait 30 minutes. He yelled in my and my mom's face and embarrassed by mom in doing so. This is a complete disrespect for customers; they expect you to wait patiently in line like cattle for an unspecified amount of time and to march like infantry promptly to your tiny, cramped table when you are so lucky they call your name. Bullshit. No self-respecting individual should put up with that.
No negatives for us. Our family isn't able to get together much now since we are all juggling jobs, living in other states and just normal time constraints. The youngest family member was graduating from Pitt, and we all made an effort to meet for dinner to celebrate. As things happen to everyone, the number of people on the reservation increased and a call to the restaurant assured us that it would be no problem, just be on time. You guessed it, four of our family members were late but we were seated, menus presented and drink orders taken prior to their arrival. As they came, the wait staff and owner greeted and seated; took their order and all proceeded very nicely. The day was beautiful, the restaurant was crowded, the wait staff was extremely efficient, the owner stopped and chatted and checked up on us numerous times and the food was delicious. All in all a very good day with many good memories. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Quirky, but delicious. This is one of our favorite regular spots. We do try to steer clear of the busiest times - Girasole's only has 42 tables, and is popular, so waits can be long on Fri or Sat night. And Mr. Girasole is quirky, but the food is consistently very good and worth being patient for a table. We love the salads, fritattas, escarole and beans, veal chop milanese - and any steak is usually terrific. Yummy! Great Italian wines, nice wait staff, terrific food.
Ignore the Bad Reviews- this place is great!!!.
After seeing some of these negative reviews, I had to write one of my own. I've eaten here numorous times and always had a wonderful experience. The food is amazing, the atmosphere fantastic and the waitstaff, attentive. It feels like you are eating dinner in a wine cellar-some nights they even have a musician walking around seranading every table.
To the negative reviewers: If you have a problem waiting then don't go to a tiny restaraunt on a Friday or Saturday night and expect to get seated immediately. Or have some patience.
My recommendation: call and make a reservation for a little earlier than you would prefer to eat. Go check in, the owner (a very charasmatic little italian Pittsburgher) will take your number and then go across the street to Alto and have a drink or two and relax. I highly recommend eating here- the specials are always great and the sunflower seed dressing is to die for.
Don't go to Girasole, worst owner in pittsburgh.
Like the others , we made reservations, but they don't care about reservations (they don't tell anythings about this).
After he was more than rude with us, yelling....
PLEASE DON'T GIVE 1 $ to this JERK.
Are you KIDDING ME? Run away, run quickly.
This place is a farse.
-They say they take reservations, they do not-or they don't honor them which is the same thing. The owner is a class A jerk. There is no rhyme or reason to how he seats anyone.He is flush with patrons because of his 'reservation' scheme which keeps people waiting. We were not the only people that left there that night.
This goof accepted our reservations for 8 o'clock for my wife and 2 kids. We were abruptly directed across the street to have a drink and wait- fine with us! The sandwich place had a variety of beers and didn't mind us bringing in a hot chocolate from Star Bucks for the kids while we waited. This was at 7:45pm. Wife went to check again at 8:30 and he accepted another party that was crammed at the front door that had arrived after us. He said they're busy and could seat us in a few. SHe went back at about 9pm and he yelled at her saying that she was out of luck. She reported back to me that she and others were walking out and how she was treated. I wanted to see this guys reaction to me,vs my wife. He was rude but less aggressive. I told him that he should not address any woman in that manner. He looked away from me. Not even man enough to apologize or classy enough to avoid addressing anyone this way.
There are so many great places in Pittsburgh with fantastic Pittsburgh hospitality from owners and operators. This IS NOT one of them and this guy is a disgrace. The restaurant is tiny and cramped. He over books so it looks like its busy and he is simply a rude old man who apparently likes this type of "power" if you will. There is no way that the rave reviews are real.
We went to cafe Sam. Food was great, service was even better.
We won't go back. We made reservations , arrived on time, and then were told we had to wait 45 minutes indicating they wouldn't honor the reservation they had accepted (two weeks earlier). Apparently they do not take reservations, but do not tell you on the phone and then expect you to wait. We should have been told when we had called that seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis and we would have been fine with that. Instead we were rudely told by the owner that we had to wait and that "we couldn't stand here (in the restaurant entrance)and to go upstairs (outside) or go have drink down the street". We did just that and ate elsewhere. A friendly greeting and a polite apology that they had miscommunicated their reservation policy may have convinced us it was worth waiting, but we were so put off by the rudeness and obvious disregard for the patrons that we decided we didn't need to take our business there.
Not Welcoming at ALL.
I have been to Girasole twice and have only eaten there once - the reason is as follows:
The first time my husband and I went to Girasole was right after we moved to Pittsburgh. I had read reviews that said it got crowded and loud but I didn't really care. We arrived, were seated right away, and enjoyed our meal (albeit a pretty plain Italian one - nothing to write home about), outside on their patio.
Because we enjoyed our first visit, we decided to go again in the middle of the winter. We knew that we'd be sitting inside, and were excited to try it out. It was a TUESDAY night, so we figured it couldn't be too crowded. We were wrong. We are patient people, though, so didn't mind waiting. We walked in the front door and were NEVER GREETED. We stood at the front door for 5 minutes when a waitress finally came over to ring something out at the cash register (which was 5 inches to our right), and never even looked at us. I wrote this off as her being really busy. This happened 4 more times. By then I was annoyed. No one working there even came up to us to say hello. Not even a, "sorry, I"ll be with you in a moment." No "welcome to Girasole." NOTHING. I saw the owner in the back and he made eye contact with us so I figured he'd be over right away. WRONG. We stood there for 15-20 minutes before we walked out without ever having been acknowledged!! I was completely outraged that we were never even greeted. I don't mind waiting for a table, I just like to feel welcome when I walk into a restaurant. I would not have minded waiting 20 minutes if when we walked into the restaurant someone had approached us to say hello. Perhaps I am used to the small-town suburban manners where I come from????
I would say don't waste your time at Girasole. There are many other restaurants in Shadyside where you will feel welcome and will get MUCH better service. (Heck, you'll even get a "hello")
HORRIBLE!. I have spoke with quite a few people, INCLUDING MYSELF,who have told me that they called to make reservations, were told they had the reservation and then showed up and told they NEVER had a reservation. Not only that but the owner is EXTREMELY rude and yells and tells you to go next door to "have a drink" if you want to wait for a table. Well...I had out of town guests so I told him I would wait (even though we went to Pizzuti's down the street) and he NEVER CALLED! he said it would be about 30-45 min and never even called to tell us our table was ready! can you imagine if we waited?? I was telling a coworker and she freaked out bc the same thing happened to her. The owner pretends to give you a reservation...then when you show up he says you never had one and makes you wait so it looks like the restaurant is busy. DO NOT GO HERE!
I love this place!.
Girasole is a cozy little restaurant in Shadyside, that I love! I LOVE the setting. It's in the lower level, across from Starbucks.
The salad you get with your dinner is amazing. I love the escarole and beans too.
Girasole is a family run business, which I love. It can get really crowded after 6 pm on weekends, and in the summertime.
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