Vintage Ferraris ran on a high-octane mixture of tomato sauce and parmesan, a savory blend that eventually turned petty car thieves into bona fide pasta barons. Get a baron's share of this desirable concoction with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of upscale Italian cuisine at Girasole Ristorante on Pine Street. Groupon holders receive a free appetizer if their Groupon is used after 7:30 p.m.
The Italian nosh haven serves up authentic dishes crafted with a slew of fresh seasonal ingredients and a pinch of sophisticated flair. Rev up appetites with the frittura mista, a medley of fried shrimp, calamari, and veggies ($15.50), then hit the raw seafood deck with the ricciola, a fresh kingfish marinated with blood oranges and flanked by courtly portions of tomato and avocado ($19). The carpaccio girasole introduces lithe slices of filet mignon accented with artichokes, asparagus, shaved parmesan, and truffle oil to famished palates ($15).
Ocean residents meet to discuss coral curfews in the savory chitarra ai frutti di mare, a diplomatic combo of pasta, shrimp, calamari, clams, and jumbo lump crab meat ($19.50). Diners enamored with structure can relax with a prix fixe two-course lunch Monday–Friday from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ($19.50 per person, not including tax and tip) or a three-course prix fixe dinner Sunday–Friday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ($35 per person, not including tax and tip).
Dashing dishes pair up nicely with sips from Girasole’s globe-trotting wine list amid the bright, airy confines of the sophisticated dining space replete with modern, spherical light fixtures, elegantly unhaunted paintings, and cheery floral accents.
Girasole Ristorante fuses Philadelphia's harvest with Italian inspiration. That inspiration comes firsthand from the chefs: the kitchen is filled with Italian women, and one of them, "culinary maestra" Rosalba Moricci, even travels to Italy every year in search of new recipes and techniques to bring back to the restaurant.
That's not the only thing that keeps the menu feeling as fresh as the filet-mignon carpaccio. Moricci also tweaks her dishes depending on what the local farms produce season by season. Visiting the Atlantic City location in 2011, Atlantic City Weekly found seafood specials that were "as good as it gets" and desserts showing "restraint coupled with creativity," much like a bejeweled pair of handcuffs.
Along with fresh, raw beef and seafood, the menu relies on a few other perennial elements. Pastas, including a gnocchi tossed with stracchino cheese and plum tomatoes, are all made in-house. So is the bread, designed to soak up stray sauces and juices from plates such as a grilled Tasmanian salmon or hot, sweet italian sausage with veggies.