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Ristorante Giangela

Has anyone been to this place http://www.ristorantegiangela.com in Crosswicks, NJ? I think it used to be the Upper Crust Pub and before that the Hilltop Tavern. I guess the previous owners sold the liquor license as it appears to be a BYOB. It looks a little expensive for the area. But then again, the only other restaurant nearby is the Chesterfield Inn and there’s an awful lot of new housing going up all around this area.

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  1. $24 for Chicken Saltimbocca!!! You can get that at just about any Italian restaurant for no more than $17! Their prices are very high for a place out in the sticks.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mschow

      Why can't we get something OTHER than Italian in this area???
      Could someone please show some imagination...we are starving for creative American cuisine, not the same tired plates...

      1. re: BeeZee

        Plumsted Grill RT 539.Used to be the Outpost,new owner is from Bills Old Time Tavern at 5 points in Mercerville.Good food.

      2. re: mschow

        Boy are you right. I compared their menu prices with Amici Milano one of the few good restaurants left in the Chambersburg section of Trenton http://www.amicimilano.com . Take veal parm, $17 at Amici’s, $24 at Giangela. I don’t think they’ll be open very long with those prices and no liquor license.

        1. re: TomDel

          I went to Villa Vittoria in Brick today for lunch. My mother had the Petto di Pollo Rollantini, which was 2 chicken breasts rolled and stuffed, and looked absolutely delicious. Large portion and the price was $17. And, this is a very nice restaurant, where you can be guaranteed a nice meal.
          But I do agree with BeeZee...there are waaaayyyy too many Italian restaurants out there. In my small town I think we have at least 7-8 Italian restaurants. Come on...how about putting a little thought into it? I love Italian food, but enough is enough. A little more variety would be good for everyone.

      3. Crosswicks is only 3 miles from Bordentown or 2.5 from Yardville. No way this restaurant can make it, no matter what the food tastes like. I often bicycle through Crosswicks. Getting there is no problem. Will I pay $12 for pasta with olive oil ($15 if I add tomatoes)? NO NO NO

        1 Reply
        1. re: carl555

          Or, you could try one of the Tilapia dishes. $25 for tilapia???? That piece of fish cost them no more than $2. I appreciate the fact that restaurants mark up food, but that is simply outragerous!

        2. I guess they fixed the problem. They took all the prices off of the website menu!

          1 Reply
          1. re: TomDel

            Tom, you missed something a few weeks ago. A poster came on here (Olimpia) when we discussed the pricing at the restaurant. This person responded to me that the price for lunch I mentioned at Villa Vittoria was also high for a chicken dish, and that $7 more for the chicken at Giangela was not much money. This, as the poster said he /she personally knew the chef and that he prepared everything fresh to order.
            I responded back to Olimpia with the comment that I noticed this was their first ever posting, and were they the owner of Giangela or the chef himself. I must have hit a nerve, because they removed their post an hour later!! Since they removed their post, I went and removed my post about them being the owner.
            At any rate, removing the pricing shows they do not stand behind their food. I would find it very unlikely that this is the freshest or best Italian in the area.
            There are numerous other solid Italian choices to choose from in NJ, so not for any of use to worry about!

          2. Has anybody tried this place yet. They’re running an ad in the Trentonian advertising valet parking on the weekend as if they’re parking lot is full and people are clamoring to get in. Since they’ve taken their prices off of their website, I imagine they might be getting one time customers trying it out, but being shocked when they see the prices on the menu, but being too embarrassed to get up and leave. This place presents a good argument for the European law that requires all restaurants to post their menus with prices in front of the restaurant near the front door.

            1 Reply
            1. re: TomDel

              That's a laugh. There are too many Italian choices in the area at far more reasonable prices and with more distinctive menus. I'm sure the valet enticement was put in the ad to give this place an air of more upscale dining. (upscale pricing is more like it)
              Not on my list of places I want to try.

            2. Well after reading some of these comments on Ristorante Giangela, we still decided to give it a try. It wasn't worth the gas to get there. The menu is very "plain jane" and the prices were ridiculous. I can get better food at Leonardo's for a 1/3 of the cost. Champagne prices for beer atmoshphere. I found the owner to be extremely rude and the staff inexperienced.

              4 Replies
              1. re: fourhands

                Ouch! My BIL has an expression he says after having a mediocre meal that is costly" "Well, at least it was expensive". Sounds like that is the case here.
                The fact that they removed the pricing from their menu after reading on chowhound that we found their menu rather expensive for what they offered tells you what kind of people run this place. I'm sorry you wasted your money, but you saved the rest of us from suffering through mediocre food and lackluster service. Thanks for that!

                1. re: fourhands

                  Sorry that you had a bad experience. Try Rosa’s near the Whitehorse circle http://www.RosasRistorante.com or the La Piazza in Allentown http://www.lapiazzaristorante.com or the new Tattoni’s on Route 33. I think you’ll find all three of them serve excellent Italian food at reasonable prices.

                  1. re: TomDel

                    Last night was a great night to try Ristorante Giangela as they were donating 10% of every check to the Anchor House Ride. That said, what better night to go give this place a try, and to support the Anchor House?

                    Upon arrival, the parking lot was full, but we did drive through and found parking on the side of the restaurant. Upon first entering the restaurant, you will notice the warm decor. Nice white pillars, and nice white trim on the ceiling. The walls are painted a nice cocao color, and the tables are nice and simple with a lite tan table cloth. Soft lighting makes this restaurant nice and romantic.

                    We were greeted and brought to a nice 2 top in the center of the restaurant. There were 7 other tables when we arrived, including a large 8 top, so it was good to see the place full of patrons. That had at least another 6 tables they could have sat, so they do have nice table space. The hostess then told us that they had bread in the oven, and it would be out shortly.

                    The bus boy came out a few minutes later and filled up our water glasses and took our wine to open for us. I have never understood why some restaurants will open the wine away from the table, but this is not the first time I have seen it. Tonight we popped a 2006 Stefania Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah, and it was marvelous as always. Fresh, hot bread came out shortly after, and Zelda filled up the plate of dry spices that was on the table with olive oil. The bread had a nice firm crust, and was very soft in the middle. Good stuff!

                    Looking around the restaurant, you could see some unhappy faces, but at this point, we were not quite sure why. About 10 minutes later, our waitress came over and asked us if we were ready to order. She never told us about the specials, and didn't ask if we had any questions, and we didn't, but it would have been a nice gesture.

                    Zelda opted for the Ravioli in saffron sauce, with a house salad, and I ordered the Chicken Parm with a caeser salad. In my opinion, I think that I can get a good feel for a restaurant based on their chicken parm....it's an italian staple.

                    Salads came out about 20 minutes later, and I was starting to see why people had the long faces in the restaurant. You could tell that the food was coming out of the kitchen slow, but the servers were also slow as well. On the 8 top, we both noticed how they brought out the entrees one at a time. With that said, it took almost 10 minutes for the 8 top to all receive their entrees. I know that if I were the first person to receive my food, I would have been a little upset having to wait for everyone to receive their food as mine cooled off. This seemed to be a trend with all the tables, and I found it rather interesting. Why not get a big tray and bring everyones entrees out at once? Or maybe the kitchen is small and they don't have room for all the platings in the window. I don't know.

                    So back to the salads, my caeser came out with the dressing drizzled on, topped with some cheese. Upon first taste, the dressing reminded me of Ken's, straight out of the bottle. I don't think that it was bad, but it definitely did not taste homemade. If you want to make a name for yourself, take the time and make a nice, homemade dressing. Zelda's salad was the house, and her dressing too tasted like something out of the bottle. She made a great point that it has been a while since we have had a salad that "wowed" us! There's nothing to making salads, and all you need is good, homemade dressing. Why can't restaurants get this right anymore?

                    So a good hour has passed now, and we see Chrissy, a friend of ours from town come in with a friend of hers. At this same time, our entrees come out, and like the other tables, they came out one at a time. Very odd! Zelda's ravioli looks great! Huge, what look like homemade ravioli in what looks like a rich butter sauce. I enjoyed this very much, and I could see ordering it. The only gripe that I had, which is a gripe that I have often with ravioli, was that the inside took too much water, making the cheese inside very mushy and watery. The sauce again was very rich, and it had a nice, pungent saffron taste to it. For those who are not big fans of saffron, I wouldn't recommend this dish. If you are however a saffron lover, then this is for you.

                    My chicken parm came out with a side of fettucini, and it looked great. A nice large piece of chicken pounded very thin, with a good crust, nice melted cheese, and the perfect amount of sauce on top. Upon cutting into it with my fork, there was a good crunch to the crust. The chicken however was a bit on the rubbery side, and had they gotten this right, it would have been better. The sauce on the other hand was ok, and it had a very sweet taste to it. I don't know if this was a good thing, or a bad thing. All in all, I thought the dish was just ok, and I wouldn't order it again if we went back.

                    After dinner, we opted to skip dessert, and we finished out bottle of wine as we chatted with Chrissy and her friend. As their dinner came and our wine ran out, it was time to go home.

                    In short, I think that this restaurant has a lot of potential. It's BYOB so that is a bonus, the decor is nice, although we would change the drapes, and the food and service need some work. I don't know if I would call it a "fine dining experience" as they claim, but I wouldn't be surprised if we head back sometime, but not in the immediate future. I was however glad to see that they were making the donation for the Anchor House Ride, and that was a good excuse for us to give the place a try. Cut and pasted from our blog at: http://jerseyfoodies.blogspot.com/200...

                    1. re: njfoodies

                      While looking for the menu to Giangela's, I came across these posts and since we had a reservation for dinner, I was a bit apprehensive. I sent these posts to the other diners who were joining us as a heads up but we decided we'd check it out for ourselves. Upon arrival, we waited several minutes before someone greeted us and there really was no place to stand, other than on top of someone else's table - in my organized mind, I was able to come up with an easy solution for them but that was none of my business. Anyway, we were told that a nice table for six was about to leave and that it would be a comfortable table for us, so we agreed to the short wait. We were seated promptly with an explanation that they wanted us to be comfortable and hoped we didn't mind them continuing to set the table around us - which was a lot better than standing in the middle of the restaurant. We were greated by a friendly waitress who promptly opened our wine, brought hot bread and told us of the specials for the evening. She even recited the prices on the specials which most restaurants do not do and that makes it uncomfortable to have to ask the price. Our soup and salad came out promptly - my husband was not real pleased with the pastafasoule (sp?) but salads were generous and there was more than just crisp lettuce in them. Dinner took a while to come out but as one of the writers in another post mentioned about the waitress bringing one dinner out at a time, that was not the case - other waite staff pitched in and we were all brought our dinners together - and they were hot. I ordered the grilled prok chop - a little dry but nice flavor - other meals were adequate - nothing breathtaking and not the best I've ever had for the price but it was enjoyable, although a bit noisy. I thought the atmosphere was cozy and our waitress was very pleasant. Would I go back? Not sure I'd be rushing back - I agree with the Amici lover - that is my most favorite restaurant - Jimmy is appreciative of his customers' business and shows it by how you are treated and the way he keeps his prices down. That would always be my first choice of restaurants. It's always nice to try new places and I hope they do make a go of it but it would be nice if they lowered the prices of their dinners. Happy New Year!!

                2. I'll start by saying that I live within 3 miles of this place but have absolutely no ties to owners or workers. The Upper Crust, mentioned in another post, has been gone a long long time and was about 400 yards up the street (btw, that location's been completely renovated and I'm told it's about to open as a private club that will allow outside guests.) Posters here seem to have an expectation that a BYOB will have lower prices. Without the $8 glass of mediocre house wine, they need to charge more to stay in business. I've been 4 times - about once every 3 months, last time 2 weeks ago. Valet parking is free, since so little is near it (but tip $5, have a heart.) The food is average, never bad, usually average, and sometimes very good.. The ambiance is pleasant. Service is attentive but relaxed (slow if you're in a rush - I'm not.) The people are as friendly as you want or don't want. I've seen nasty customers get what they gave and I've also seen the chef come out of the kitchen to relax with customers as well towards the end of the evening. I used to go to Amici's - a very nice place, but a bit too pretentious - almost pompous. I like Rosa's - good to go to with the kids. Chesterfield Inn, well, it was once my favorite and now that the original owners are back I hope it it returns to what it used be - but it's a long road since it went so far down hill. This place is nice for a calm, relaxing and unpretentious dinner with adults. I hope they stay just as they are. I will keep coming back if they do.