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Feb 22, 2011 06:38 AM

Birmingham: GianMarco's

It has been too long since I've been to GianMarco's to dinner. But after our experience Friday night, I plan to return very soon to this Edgewood Italian restaurant.
It's a hard reservation to score, so plan ahead especially if you want an early seating. Even Tuesdays can be booked a week ahead for an early seating.
I started with the salumi,which I've been craving ever since they added it to the menu. I got generous portions of duck proscuito, boar sausage (cacciatorini) and porchetta (a fatty pork -- belly?) All were great and the wild boar sausage was unbelievably good. It was served with a reduced balsamic, which was good with the meat, but excellent with the grilled bread that accompanied it.
My wife, who is dieting, got the Cobb salad.
For an entree, I got the special of shrimp (head-on), calamari, clams, mussels, Italian sausage in a garlic-tomato spiked shellfish broth, served over linguine. It was generously portioned, very rich with flavor (as opposed to fat) and oh so tasty.
My wife got the penne all vodka, one of her favorites. It was so good, we took the leftover sauce home and served it with even more pasta.
Wines were reasonably priced, although we were steered to a more expensive wine by our waiter, whom we had trouble hearing in the loud dining room. It was so good (and the food so relatively reasonably priced), we ended up not minding the $60 per bottle sticker price (We were leaning more toward $30-$35 bottles).
A hint with the wine: they serve carafes that hold about 1.5 glasses each. Waiter said three add up to a bottle, plus a glass.
We did not have a dessert (we both were stuffed, with food to take home). Nor did we make a cheese plate out of the great assortment they offer (next time; and a different variety of salumi).
The prices: Only one antipasti was over $10 (for the salumi and cheese, it's 3 choices for $15). Pastas were in the mid- to upper-teens and entrees on the menu were all under $30.
Yet, I think the quality of the food and the overall atmosphere puts it in the same league as Bottega, at a lower price.

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  1. BD,

    Glad to hear that you had such a good experience. I live in Edgewood and am at GianMarco's once a week or so--regulars like me always sit at the bar so that we don't have to make a reservation. However, we also know that, depending on the crowd that evening, you may not find a seat if you are not there by @ 5:30.

    I have been eating there on avearge a couple of times a month since the restaurant opened 8 years ago and I have found the food and service to be consistently top-notch.

    1. Was there the other night as well. Enjoy going there a couple times a month.

      Shared a capreze salad w/ my girlfriend and she had the tuna special while I had the veal milano and then we shared a bread pudding. All was wonderful like always and once again, we sat at the bar.

      The people there are always friendly. Always a ton of specials so if you go there regularly there's always something new.

      As mentioned, the wine list has a lot of very interesting and good wines.