Il Giorgione might be one of the best little gems in downtown Columbia. It opened just a couple of years ago on Devine Street by a husband and wife who really seem to know about authentic Italian food. In fact, they can often be seen near the hostess stand, or walking around the dining room, occasionally serving food, and always making sure everyone is having a good time and enjoying their dinner.
The ladies in my husband’s family have had a tradition for several years now of getting together once a month for drinks and dinner. They call it Girls’ Night Out (or GNO for short). In many families, people only get to see each other at major holidays, but these ladies make sure to get together much more frequently. It ends up being a lot of fun, and a great way to keep up with what is going on in everyone’s lives.
We typically try to visit different restaurants, taking turns among downtown Columbia, Lexington and Irmo, as we all live and work in different areas. Il Giorgione is a special favorite, though, because some of the ladies know the owners. They are always accommodating to us, even when we show up unannounced on the same night that Sir Paul McCartney is taking the stage nearby (hypothetically speaking, of course…)!
Not only are the staff super friendly, but the menu is also very authentic Italian. You won’t find piles of pasta and deep fried meat or poultry here. Instead, a pizza consists of a very thin crust, a scant amount of sauce and cheese, plus an assortment of fresh toppings, like pesto or arugula. I love the Pizza Margherita, which just has tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves on it. One of my husband’s favorites is the Quattro Stagioni (which literally means “four seasons” in Italian) – a popular item in Italy, but not much found on American pizza menus. It has four sections with one topping on each: artichoke hearts, olives, prosciutto, and mushrooms. And in the very center of the four “seasons” is a baked egg!
Bri and I had the Quattro Stagioni a few weeks back when we were looking for a low-key late dinner one evening. Even though it was nearly 9:00, we had arrived to find a packed out restaurant, and ended up sitting at the bar (in actuality, one of our favorite places to sit at most establishments) and chatting with Dave the bartender (who is AWESOME, by the way!!). We had such a great evening, and Dave really seems to love his job, which of course made our experience that much better. He recommended wines, discussed pizzas and gelato with us in detail, and even let Bri taste one of the digestifs before he made his final decision. So of course we stayed for dessert…
Stepping into Il Giorgione, you really feel like you’re visiting a quaint little cafe in Italy. Whether you’re in a group, like our GNO, or on a date, Il Giorgione is the perfect venue to have a great time.