As much as I like to dine while traveling, one still has their favorites close to home. And if I’m going to have kind things to say about restaurants abroad, I would be remiss if I did not give similar accolades to those establishments I enjoy locally. Without a doubt for me and my girlfriend, that place is Giumarrello’s. Granted we may be a little biased as this was where our first date took place but I was already aware of how good Giumarrello’s was at that point. I can simply sum up why in four points, a fantastic cocktail list, an excellent menu, great atmosphere, a pleasant and attentive staff.
The restaurant has a low lit yet very warm atmosphere that, along with the staff, is very welcoming. There is a mix of seating with reserved tables, first come/first serve tables, and a large seated bar area. There is outdoor seating available and a selection of tables in both the reserved and first come/first serve areas are perfect for people watching, if that is something one enjoys.
One of the reasons my girlfriend and I quite enjoy this establishment is their cocktail menu. While they have an equally extensive wine and beer list, it is definitely the variety and quality of their cocktails that keep us coming back. Of the many you can pick from, two have become my regular go to cocktails. The first is the Vesper Martini (pictured left). If you have seen the Bond movie “Casino Royal” with Daniel Craig, then this may sound familiar to you. The martini uses both gin and vodka along with a little something extra to make this a very smooth Martini with just a little bite. They make if perfect every time. As good as that cocktail is, it has recently garnered some tough competition in the Dubliner (pictured right, nearly finished). This whiskey cocktail is very flavorful, balanced, and beyond smooth. There is definitely something for everyone on their cocktail list.
As good as the drinks are, the food is even better. The menu has an excellent mix of steaks, seafood, and Italian dishes along with interesting appetizers and decadent desserts. Both the oysters and the shrimp pancetta have been regular favorites of mine to start off with. On this recent visit, I opted for the wild mushroom bisque and I was not disappointed. For my main course, I got the bone in ribeye “Cowboy” steak medium. I don’t eat steak that much at home and actually don’t order it out much either. Every time I get steak here, it is cooked to perfection, and this was no exception. I can’t say I have one favorite dish from their main courses. I try to not order the same thing every time I’m there and they have all been outstanding.
As I mentioned before, the staff is impeccable. They are attentive and polite without being overbearing. The waitstaff has their timing in that regard down pat and the waitstaff and kitchen have their timing down to a science. Any mistakes are corrected or otherwise addressed. Honestly, I’ve only encountered one and even then it was brought to my attention by the waiter without me even noticing it first. One nice touch is that the manager is very present and aware. Each time we go, he has always stopped by the table to ask how our meal was. Always pleasant, he seems earnest to here what one has to say.
If I were to have any criticism of the restaurant, I would say the parking. The parking is a mix of self park and free valet, however there seems to very little self parking. On many nights only the valet seems available and as one who carries very little cash, I feel awkward not having anything to tip valet. Perhaps I bear some responsibility in that regard? While it would be nice to have more self parking spots, I’m not sure they have anywhere to put the additional spots.
Despite that one area of criticism, it does not impact my view of Giumarello’s at all. I feel this restaurant hits all the marks and if you live in the area of Haddon Township, NJ this restaurant should be on your list.