Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Big plates of food, early bird discount for cash at Giovanni's Restaurant

Filet of Sole alla Tagame at Giovanni's Restaurant in Elmwood Park is made with black olives, tomatoes, garlic, marsala wine and balsamic vinegar, and served with pasta or potatoes and vegetables, above.

Gamberi alla Scampi are large shrimp sauteed in a sherry garlic sauce over linguine or capellini.


New Jersey may have more Italian-American restaurants than any other kind, but that doesn't make it any easier to find a good one.

Our last favorite BYO for moderately priced salads, pasta and fish, Bocconi Restaurant in Hackensack, closed suddenly last October.

On Saturday, in our search for a replacement, we returned to Giovanni's Restaurant, a storefront in Elmwood Park, where we ate twice before many years ago.

I noticed the long, rectangular dining room had been renovated and, when we got the menu, a three-course early bird dinner special at a discounted cash price of $14.95 per person.

You have a choice of eight appetizers (plus a salad) and 23 entrees (with pasta or potato and vegetable), and you also get coffee or tea and dessert.

That sounds like a great deal for a lot of food, but we decided to order one of the moderately priced a la carte entrees, which come with a side salad (all but one under $20). 

Enough for 2

Filet of Sole is available francese or broiled, but I asked whether the kitchen could prepare the fillets alla Tagame, the style listed for broiled salmon ($19.50 each).

There was enough white, flaky fish for two in marsala wine and balsamic vinegar, plus potatoes and mixed vegetables -- a perfect one-dish meal.

My mother-in-law ordered the Filleto di Salmon alla Tagame, and my wife had Gamberi alla Scampi, large shrimp in a rich sherry garlic sauce over linguine ($18.50).

She couldn't finish the al dente pasta, which I sampled, but I'd like to see this dish made with less sauce.

I loved my food, and we plan to return to Giovanni's when we're in the mood for Italian again.

When you ask for anchovies with the Cesare Romana side salad, you actually get anchovies.

Sweet green pepper sections cooked in balsamic vinegar come with the warm, crusty bread.

The Early Dinner Menu is served from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The dining room at Giovanni's in Elmwood Park.


Giovanni's Restaurant, 430 Market St., in Marketplace of Elmwood Park, Elmwood Park; 201-791-3000. BYO, parking lot, closed Mondays.

Open from 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays to Fridays, and from 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations recommended for dinner. 

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