Giorgio’s Gets Happy

Giorgio’s is one of those restaurants most everyone I know has eaten at, but they can’t quite remember when. Here’s an incentive to get reacquainted with this venerable Pearl District mainstay–for the first time ever since its opening in 2000, Giorgio’s has instituted a daily happy hour.

giorgiosbanqWe stopped in early Tuesday evening and had our pick of seats in the pretty little bar, which was recently remodeled in honor of Giorgio’s 10th Anniversary. Also new is the fishbowl-esque “chef’s window” just inside the front door, through which you can observe Executive Chef Peter Schuh and crew in action.

The bar is such a comfortable space– with a long row of high-backed banquettes facing a small, orderly bar where Giorgio himself sat on a stool most of the time we were there, doing restaurant paperwork–you feel as though you want to hunker down with a bottle of wine and a cutie and talk the night away. We weren’t here for that sort of nonsense though, we were here to test out a new happy hour, which is serious business.

We were immediately informed of a few substitutions on the happy hour menu, changes made in response to newly arrived and seasonal ingredients, we were told. I wish they’d just been listed on a freshly-printed menu for that evening. But the menus are trapped inside thick bulky plastic sleeves, which imparts an outdated and tacky chain restaurant feel to an otherwise compelling read. They deserve to be liberated–and updated. IMG_1033

The menu was diverse, with lighter items for people like Mette, who had a soup date later with her husband and did not want to eat very much; a $19 pasta, salad and wine combo for people  like me, who had a dinner date later but figured why not have a pre-dinner dinner; and people like Shellie, who sat somewhere comfortably in between and simply wanted a glass of wine and something tasty and filling to go with it.

A few of the happy hour highlights were a salad of  mixed greens dressed to the nines in a perfectly balanced sherry vinaigrette and dotted with creamy dollops of goat cheese ($5), tiny crispy-tender ringlets of calamari in a drizzle of Meyer lemon sauce ($9), a lovely salmon tartare with artfully arranged slivers of French radish, roasted beets, and fragrant droplets of basil oil that brought thoughts of summer to an otherwise frigid evening ($8), and a generous bowl of penne-like garganelli pasta in a light tomato sauce, with hearty chunks of Italian sausage and a Parmesan crown ($11).

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A glass of the house red (a Sangiovese) or white wine (a Pinot Grigio) was $6, the cocktail of the day was $7, and for $19, you could assemble an early bird special of sorts–your choice of pasta and salad, along with a glass of wine.

To see Giorgio’s entire happy hour menu, click HERE. To visit with your cutie, or just a few of your favorite happy hour hounds, stop in Tuesday through Saturday from 5-6:30pm.

1131 Northwest Hoyt St * 503.221.1888 * giorgiospdx.com * Happy Hour Tue-Sat 5-6:30pm