Written by RJ Trede
The first thing you undoubtedly will notice upon entering Giacomo`s TI (Giacomo`s taste of Italy– a recent name change fromLe Gourmet Pizzeria & Pasta) will be the bright sincere smiles of the co-owners Li Yuanyuan(Annie) and Italian cooking school trained Xin Hongjun(James). Clearly they both have passion and love for their work. Annie, who doubles as host and business partner, is eager to share the story of James’ transition from “boyhood foodie” to his years in Italy mastering his craft, to co-ownership of their own restaurant in Xi’an. In buildingGiacomo`s TI, they serve “only the highest quality food, made with the best of ingredients.” Her own passion is equally as evident.
The modern restaurant is bright and sunny during the day and warmly inviting at night. Because of its decidedly un-touristy location next to Jiaotong University, just south of Xing Qing Park, access is very easy (no fighting the throngs of tourists as in other Xi’an areas). With top-notch dining, reasonable prices, and easy access, what’s not to like?
Locatedat No.159 South Xingqing Road (Lu) on the 3rd floor of the VanguardGrocery storeimmediately south of the Citadines Hotel, access is a breeze. (See Xianease centerfold map, just in from the right edge, at the page fold.) Take the entry-way elevator to the third floor.Giacomo`s TIwill be immediately on your left as you exit the lift.
Make no mistake. This is real Italian food! My personal favorite is their “Lasagnette” (lasagna), available in both beef and veggie varieties (45 RMB). A variety of authentic spaghetti, penne, and risotto dishes are well worth the 28-38 RMB prices.
The carnivorous among you will be elated with the cuts of pure Australian beefGiacomo`s TIoffers. Grilled sirloin, tenderloin, t-Bone and short-rib are among the choices.
All salads, from their Caesar(28 RMB)to Summer Radish(22 RMB)to Seasonal Vegetable(18 RMB),are large and fresh. Meals in themselves, they include a slice of authentic Italian bread cooked daily in-house. I order the veggie salad at almost every visit and have noticed it is never exactly the same twice. That is a good thing, as only the most fresh of available ingredients are used on any given day.
Desert lovers are not forgotten either. My sweet-tooth friends rave about the walnut tart, baked cheese cake,apple pie (all at 28 RMB) and the Fruit Sunday(18 RMB).
Their alcoholic drink menu isn’t large but does include cocktails as well as imported beers such as Guinness Stout, Heineken, Corona, and (shudder) Budweiser.
So what could be better than all of this? How about some killer weekly specials? Tuesday is “50% off pizza day” (all day/evening). Wednesday is “Buy one – Get one free” day on all menu items (not drinks, of course). Friday is “22% off Steak” day. (Given their steaks are imported from Australia, they can be a little pricy, making this is a pretty good deal.)
If your appetite can’t support a 2-for-1 Wednesday deal, no problemo! Giacomo`s TIwill give you a coupon (valid any day of the week for two weeks), allowing you to get those second items “for free” upon your return. My veggie salad averages out to just 9 RMB per visit! Where are you going to beat that deal?
3rd floor of Vanguard at No.159 South of XingqingRd, Beilin District
( 碑林区兴庆南路159号华润万家三楼 )
029-8933 6745 10:00am-9:30pm
Friendly service, easy-access location, authentic Italian food, reasonable prices
10:00 am-9:30pm hours might be a little early for some late-night diners