Girasole In Shadyside Is What All Italian Kitchens Should Be

The first time I ever experienced Girasole was the night before my graduation in 2017. It was a weirdly cold April night, and I remember the wine cellar-like restaurant space of Girasole brought comfort, delicious food, many laughs accessorized by glasses of wine, and a candle-lit ambiance.

Being back in the fall of 2018 was not too different of a vibe. Being bestowed the honor of sitting at Pie’s table by the window, aka one of the owners, I knew it was going to be an enticing experience. Pie and Patti are nothing short of amazing people; their passion for everything Italian rings loudly from the art on the walls to their accommodating and warm personas. I was considering asking Patti to come and sit for a drink or two… literally no lie.

The truly great thing about their menu is that it’s never the same. In my opinion, that’s how all restaurants should be; never serving the same exact dishes year round. Girasole listens to their extremely dedicated and loyal customer base and equip their menu with nothing but the freshest options. If you are looking for the perfect appetizer, definitely go with the escarole and beans and 1000% add sausage. You can actually thank me later for that tip.

For fall, they’ve introduced a pumpkin ravioli in a sage sauce, which is one of the most popular dishes for the season. Honestly people literally count down for fall just for this dish. They also include a seasonal risotto and a hearty Mezza Rigatoni with a meat sauce that I kind of wanted to bathe in. I also tried the Linguini Rustica, which was a simple but impactful bowl filled to the gills with clams, spinach, garlic, and oil. If you love a simple and light fish-filled pasta dish, this is it. Or, do what I did and find someone to split pasta dishes with so you get the best of both worlds.

Also, there’s no way you’re escaping without dessert. Patti makes homemade pizzelles that are amongst the best I have ever had (don’t tell my grandma please and thank you) and the chocolate mousse cake seriously impressed me. I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate mousse cakes in my lifetime, trust me, but this one was dense, moist, and impacted a ton of flavor in all of the best ways.

I’m often asked what are some of the best places in Pittsburgh to take a visiting friend, your parents, or even for a date. Quite honestly, Girasole is the answer to all of the above. I will always appreciate a restaurant that doesn’t rush you out the door, allows you time between courses, and comes over to chat and genuinely cares about the meal you’re having. To avoid sounding cliche (aka here we go) Girasole makes you feel like you’re home. Being almost six hours away from my mom’s kitchen doesn’t seem as far when I’m in the company of Patti, Pie, and their attentive and educated staff. Also, ask for Pie’s favorite glass of wine for your meal, you won’t regret it.

Have you been here before? Let me know your thoughts at