Every time I go watch a movie at VOX Cinemas, I pass by GiGi. I always look at it and leave impressed by this Italian restaurant's colorful interior. This month alone, I have been to the cinema 6 times, but I don’t know why I never stopped to grab a bite there. Maybe because the fact is that Gigi is always empty and never understood why... In the mood for some Italian food, I thought it was about time to check out Gigi for myself…
Located within the cinema court is Gigi, an Italian restaurant. A large rectangular space, beautifully decorated with shades of blues and reds, is divided into distinct areas, the entrance and the upper space. It's a really nice space with blue, red and black covering the entrance space while wood parquet takes over the upper area. Under the high ceiling are lines of wooden tables with a set of mirrors on one side and a library on the other and a bar occupies the facing wall.
As you enter the restaurant an Italian oven welcomes you on the left side with cans and bottles of tomatoes covering the wall. Inside blue, red and beige decorate the space, offering a fresh Italian feel that's welcoming and inviting at the same time. Wooden chairs painted in red, other blue sofas and a series of high tables under a mirror decorated with hanging lights.
Gigi, the cafe, pizzeria and gelateria is an Italian restaurant, with a large choice of Italian propositions and pizzas to satisfy all cravings. I was living it… until…
Then came along ‘Superman’ aka ‘the waiter’ lashing out at me to stop taking photos of the menu and the place… He says that management has banned it - while the menu is clearly displayed outside. Do you have anything to hide, sir? Or maybe scared that someone will copy the decor? A move I'll describe as pathetic!
- Pasta and risotto with a gluten free section
- Pizza with seven different families to choose from
- Stuffed focaccia
- Main courses
- For your little ones
Lunch started with a basket of bread and Grissini toast served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil all of a good quality.
The food is good, reflecting a certain Italian know how:
- Yum! You can't but scream "wow" when you bite into those cheese bread quarters offered with the starters. Amazingly fresh and crispy focaccia bread topped with melting Parmesan cheese offering a strong and sour flavor inside a round loaf that's way too spongy and enjoyable to handle calmly. I loved this so much that I might be coming here just for them.
- Mozzarella di Buffala served on a round plate with thinly sliced tomatoes and basil leaves. Tender cheese, some olive oil and fresh vegetables - a tasty plate for a good start. Then I ate more cheese bread pieces. Yes, they are that good!
While waiting for the main dishes, you are tickled by the refreshing smells erupting from the hot furnace.
- Grilled calamari is served on a bed of lettuce with chips on the side. Well cooked and tender French fries, well seasoned with salt, alongside some grilled calamari rings offering an enjoyable grilled flavor. The lettuce underneath adds a lemony flavor and a crunch. A good plate.
- The pizzas are exquisite. Especially the Gigi with its melting mozzarella goat cheese and juicy tomatoes spread on fresh bresaola and rocket leaves on top. The dough is superb, thin and lightly crunchy with chewy borders surrounded by a crispy edge. The tomato sauce is unique, the cheese is excellent, and the overall taste is top notch! Federico Fellini is a pizza I recommend; the same excellent dough topped with artichoke quarters, spicy salami, tomato sauce, ham, fresh mushrooms and olives. That's the pizza of choice at City Centre Beirut.
- After having food that good, I couldn't skip dessert. Copa Bahamas was my choice, this cup of banana and chocolate ice cream with meringue and chocolate banana sauce. I wish I didn't order it; icy ice cream with crunchy watery bits which means that the ice cream melted and hardened several times in the fridge. It was left intact.
I'm still not sure why it’s always empty. You can enjoy some good and tasty Italian food presented beautifuly… in a nicely decorated restaurant where some soothing music plays in the background.
Despite the waiters’ unprofessional behavior towards clients, I'll come back here.
I would recommend you try this Italian spot in a mall.