Date Night - Week 8: Cafe Georgio
Fine art and inventive cuisine make Cafe Georgio a must-visit.
Stepping into Café Georgio, a converted house on tiny Donati Road, you’re not sure whether you’re entering a restaurant or an art gallery, but the food and décor are both inventive and full of flavor.
Jeremy and I were seated in one of the two downstairs dining rooms – farthest from the entryway, bar, and kitchen, where a handful of tables are tucked in beside a fireplace and a collection of artwork by the owner, Grace Hopwood. There’s an upstairs dining room as well, also uniquely decorated with artwork for sale.
Our reservations were for 6:30, and when we arrived, we were the only two in the dining room. By the end of the evening – a Monday night – both downstairs dining rooms were near full, and the recommendation to make a reservation became clear.
We were hungry and started off with one of the “famous flatbreads” – we went with the Traditional, with sliced tomatoes, olive oil, and four cheeses ($9) but were intrigued by some of the other options: roasted duck with wasabi, soy, and ginger sauces, grilled chicken with fresh basil, feta, and garlic, and grilled portabella with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella. You can also create your own from a list of ingredients including hot sausage, scallops, grilled veggies, and a variety of cheeses. he crust was crispy and the cheeses plentiful, and the one flatbread was the perfect size, if not a bit more that we could handle for a starter.
Jeremy was pleased by the dressing and fresh anchovies on his Caesar salad ($5). My “Killer Tomato Salad” ($8) with tomatoes, ugli beans, onion, celery and peppers (topped with capers and feta) was unique and flavorful, and the secret balsamic vinaigrette dressing delicious.
Café Georgio offers a number of pasta options including bacon-wrapped-shrimp over angel hair ($22), a spicy Szechuan linguini with chicken and veggies sautéed n a spicy sauce ($18), and the LA Pasta with either chicken ($16) shrimp and scallops ($25) or filet ($18) with linguini, blackened sweet peppers, onions, and clams.
I chose the Pesto Pesto Pasta ($18) with olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, pignoli nuts, portabella mushrooms, spinach, feta, roasted reds, pecorino Romano cheese and imported trenne pasta. Unfortunately, at this point, I was stuffed full of flatbread and killer tomatoes, and most of my pasta ventured home in a doggy bag (this is starting to become a theme). The dish is especially filling between the pasta and cheeses, and a comforting combination of textures and flavors.
Jeremy’s Jack Daniel filet came with homemade BBQ sauce and Vidalia onion rings ($28). He loved the homemade sauce and the quality and preparation of his filet – cooked medium, as requested. The addition of the onion rings was interesting, he thought, but was surprised when there were only two. The breading, though, was crispy and seasoned well, and the onions sweet and tender – he would have eaten more! The dish came with a side of veggie risotto in a cream sauce with peppers and squash, and was delightful.
Amazingly, when our lovely waitress came around with the dessert tray (at our request) I managed to make room for the Almond Joy, a light, coconut and cream filled pie with graham cracker crust, ordering it without remembering that Jeremy hates coconut – sorry, honey. (More for me!)
Stuffed, we dragged ourselves up the stairs to check out the artwork in the dining room. Photos, mostly floral, border the staircase, taken by Grace’s talented daughter, Hilary. More artwork adorned the upstairs walls, and the nooks of the house’s top floor would make this room an intimate gathering spot for private parties of twenty or thirty.
There’s a kid’s menu as well, and Grace’s daughter, now in her twenties, swears the macaroni and cheese is the best dish on the entire Café Georgio menu!
Café Georgio caters as well, and Grace offers private showings and commissions of her artwork.
If you’re looking for an intimate atmosphere, creative dishes, and some artwork to spark conversation, Café Georgio is worth a visit.