I don’t know what it is, but Gianni’s is a restaurant I tend to forget about, yet it really is one of the best that San Ramon has to offer.
One thing I really like about it is the fact that it is authentic. The owner, Gianni Bartoletti, is an Italian. And the dishes he offers are also Italian. So different from the pizza and past and other pseudo-Italian restaurants that are so prevalent.
The restaurant is much smaller than many in our area and it has quite an intimate ambiance. There is a small bar area as you enter that is adjacent to the back dining room where the walls are painted cream above dark wood paneling and there are numerous very nicely framed black and white photos of Italy on them. There is also a second area, quite conservatory-like, that runs along the front of the restaurant and this is where Sylvia and I were seated when we went there for an early dinner on a Wednesday evening in September.
This is a quiet time in most places, but already there were quite a few tables taken including a couple of largish parties.
We were taken to one of the best tables – a table by the window. Although to be honest, there are no bad tables here so far as I can see.
Neither of us wanted an appetizer, and Gianni’s provide some very flavorful crusty, artisan bread to nibble on while waiting for our entrees. Very tasty, just dipped in olive oil.
Sylvia had Gianni’s take on a very traditional Italian pasta dish – Pappardelle with a pork ragu. In Italy, the same dish is usually served with a wild boar ragu. The portion size was just about right and the flavors were quite intense. Very well cooked pork , just as it should be, in a red wine and rosemary sauce.
My choice was Maccheroni – a tube pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage, Peas, Roasted Bell Pepper and Tomato Cream sauce.
The sausage was sweet and very tasty and the sauce was creamy and delicious. This is a dish I would definitely order again.
For dessert we shared a Caramel Tortino – Moist Chocolate Cake filled with Creamy Salted Caramel. My expectations were lowered when it arrived as it looked very much like a fairly ordinary cupcake but on biting into it, the flavor of the caramel leaps into your mouth. Delicious!
Gianni was one of the two partners who founded Incontro Ristorante in San Ramon, then Incontro moved to Danville where it occupies an impressively remodeled home on Hartz Avenue. But in 2012, Gianni moved back to the old Incontro premises and established Gianni’s Italian Bistro.
I really don’t think you will find a better restaurant in San Ramon. Check them out on their website at giannissanramon.com.