Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Eve 2012: Girasole Ristorante Atlantic City

While 2011 introduced me to many delicious and unique bites, it ended rather perfectly and sweetly at Girasole Ristorante & Lounge in Atlantic City. Let me start off by saying it was not my first choice when looking for a special New Years Eve restaurant. I had my mind set on Cuba Libre, but they required credit card information upon reservation. To my understanding, they do this to prevent no shows, especially on a busy night like New Years Eve, but the bf did not feel comfortable with that policy. It was a week before NYE, so I frantically searched on OpenTable and Yelp for a special, classy restaurant that did not break the wallet. I was craving good Italian. Arturo had more reviews and they were consistently good on Yelp. I still hesitated because it was tucked away inside Bally's and I wanted to enjoy my dinner outside of the casinos. Luckily for me, there were no tables available before 8pm. I say luckily because Girasole was the only choice left and it was one of the best Italian rest. I've ever tried!

From the outside, you cannot see anything since they close the curtains on the tall windows and keeps the romantic, elegant dining area private. They do have tables outside as well and at night they had a nice fire going to keep you warm. The entrance includes a small bar with a whole wall of fine wine and a lounge with comfortable couches that gave me a mediterranean feeling. There were sunflower paintings and decor everywhere as Girasole is Italian for sunflower. For NYE, they had made it extra special with white balloons floating in the candlelit restaurant and strings of white lights neatly placed around. It was very romantic and classy, not overwhelming. As far as the service goes, Yelp reviewers warned me waiters would be slow and are not good hosts. It did take us a while to be seated, even though our reservation was at 5:45pm and we were on time, with barely anyone else in the restaurant. The host was seating a big party and told us to wait, but she seemed to have been distracted and forgot about us until I got her attention again. The service could have been better, but we did not mind because it was an early dinner, we were not starving, or in any rush to leave. Waiters were hustling and bustling to the quickest of their abilities because after we ordered, the restaurant quickly filled with 6pm guests. They were completely booked from 6-8pm that night, but it did not get loud or noisy.

Now to the heart of the evening. Girasole had a special NYE menu, but being a prepared foodie, I had already taken a long look at their regular menu online (click Dine). Their pastas are under $20 and the Farfelle al Salmon naturally sparked my interest. But since the bf was going all out with Filet Mignon ($36), I also wanted to indulge as well, so I ordered the Agnello: New Zealand Lamb ($36).

Before I could whip out the camera, DB already cut into the filet and was munching away, hence no picture.

It tasted as good as it looks. I wonder if the lamb really was from New Zealand...

Excellent, amazing, delicious! Need I say more? The lamb was so tender and there were many more bites to come after my first taste. This was not overpriced meat, it was $36 worth of delicious lamb! I was worried the portion would be small having experienced let downs of few pieces with only two bites of meat on each bone (you would think it was a lamb on a diet!). But there was plenty of meat to munch on, enough that I could give the bf a whole bone and not feel stingy about it. The filet was medium rare and melted in our mouths. It actually was a whole lot of cow, maybe an 8 or 10 oz? It didn't look like much, with truffles scattered on top and a thin aoli sauce surrounding it, but that's all that was needed. DB said it was so good, it made it to his top 3 best filets, after Wolfgang Puck and MGM's SeaBlue in Las Vegas. Normally, he does not wipe his plate clean (never finishing big burgers...) or even like mushrooms... but he ate all of it and would have licked his plate clean of the aoili if we were not in a classy restaurant. The portions were just right, leaving you happy and satisfied, with a bit of room for dessert.

One of the things that I was excited for after making a reservation for Girasole was their tiramisu! With no sweet tooth, I do not care for dessert and rarely order it. But the only one that makes me weak and I have cravings for is my beloved tiramisu. My love affair dates back to high school when I thought it was Japanese and saw a picture online with a caption "Tiramisu too!" I used to rave about Olive Garden's pre-made, frozen & thawed tiramisu, but I have grown and matured after tasting real authentic tiramisu a couple times in London, but this one was love at first sight.

Here it is, my one & only, in all its beautiful glory
::Credits to DB Photography::
(for this magnificent piece of art that has become my blogger, twitter, yelp icon)

The sight of it took my breath away. I could hardly contain my excitement and had to slap DB's spoon away so I did not miss a shot of this beauty, which he took. It was perfection. You can taste every layer, from the cocoa to the light, fluffy cream (not sure what kind of cheese they used), to the ladyfingers that were soft and moist (not soggy like some), and the dip of chocolate sauce on the plate. It was everything I wanted from a dessert. I enjoyed the bitterness of the espresso that was not overpowering, but lingered like 72% dark chocolate. The balance of bitterness and sweetness was about 60:40 with a hint of liquer, which I think is perfect. It was without a doubt the most perfect ending to a crazy year, bittersweetly.

A toast to 2012! I have a feeling it will be one to remember, filled with lots of joy and happiness with friends & family, eating better & healthier, and hopefully a better economy so those currently unemployed can start fresh with a new job!
Happy New Year everyone!


  1. i dont like tiramisu but that looks super good! is this girasole related in any way to the one in philly near sbraga?

    1. Sorry for the late reply, went to vegas for the long weekend. I did see on the website that there they have two locations, so yes! I should try the one in Philly and update this review or if you get to it first, please review it =D Thanks so much for stopping by. Be sure to come back for Ninja, Fogo de Chao, Lawry's Steakhouse, Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria, and Bellagio buffet reviews coming up!


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