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“Discovered quite by accident”

Gino's Pizzeria & Restaurant
Ranked #3 of 138 Restaurants in Norristown
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Child-friendly, Cheap Eats, Groups
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Delivery, Highchairs Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
51 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Discovered quite by accident”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 March 2014

Gino’s was discovered quite by accident. When my wife’s coiffeur, Giovanni Badalamenti of Francesco & Giovanni, learned that I was a food writer/restaurant critic, he urged us to visit Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria on Ridge Pike, a restaurant that has been owned by his family for nearly 40 years.

Gino’s was originally founded by Giovanni, Sr., who learned his culinary skills at the famous Angelo’s of Mulberry Street in New York’s Little Italy. Two years ago, however, the culinary torch was passed and son Giacomo took over the restaurant’s reins, with his cousin, Chef Pino Mineo, assuming the power behind the stove.

And it really didn’t take the boys long to get their act together… While remaining at the same address, the establishment moved next door to more spacious quarters, which included a larger dining area and banquet hall. A new menu quickly followed, along with other improvements to both food and service.

Gino’s dining area would hardly be considered intimate, bordering, in fact, on the utilitarian; but the room is bright & airy and the tables & chairs comfortable & nicely spaced. If you’re looking for a bit more privacy, try to snare one of the booths along the interior wall.

Gino’s loyal clientele is an eclectic mix – couples, families, parties large & small – and the majority of patrons generally have a bottle of wine in tow (the restaurant is BYOB). Good food deserves the accompaniment of good wine, and diners here are knowledgeable enough to respond appropriately. To me, that’s an extremely positive sign.

And speaking of food… it is uncompromisingly southern Italian. If you lust after red sauce, you’ve just found your Neapolitan Nirvana. And portions, as you might expect, are prodigious. So unless you happen to have the appetite of a ravening hyena, a doggy bag(s) will undoubtedly be de rigueur.

To start things off, you discover an overabundance of cold & hot appetizers, cold antipasti, soups, sides, and salads. Interestingly enough, the spinach, broccoli, and broccoli rabe – all sautéed in garlic and olive oil – are listed among the hot appetizers rather than with the side dishes. It hardly matters, however, as all are prepared to perfection. The mountain of spinach – vividly verdant of color and tender of countenance – is highly recommended.

On the other hand, if you happen to be a bivalve fan, the mussels are always a good bet. Palate-pleasingly plump and at the very peak of good health, they swim to table in a broth of garlic & olive oil or rich marinara sauce. The former is particularly noteworthy, as the broth is tinged with an ingratiating hint of lemon.

Should you decide to take the salad route, however, just be advised that the complimentary version – available with a number of entrées – is, as in many restaurants, generic at best. Far better, in my opinion, to spend a few extra bucks and invest in the house salad, which is spruced up with olives and artichokes. And, for just a few dollars more, you can tie into the Italian salad (replete with romaine, provolone cheese, and fresh vegetables), white meat tuna salad, Caesar, grilled chicken, scallop, or crab, all of which are plenteously suitable for sharing.

Among the main courses, veal is a solid choice. Whatever your particular predilection – and all the usual suspects are present and accounted for – you will be treated to the genuine article, beautifully textured and pleasantly chewy of – not that mushy, wet cardboard processed imposter offered up in lesser establishments. The Puttanesca, medallions sautéed with sliced black olives & capers in an excellent plum tomato sauce, is a definite winner… ditto the Sorrento, topped with prosciutto, eggplant, and mozzarella finished in a white wine sauce, and the Marsala, companioned by prosciutto and mushrooms.

You also can’t miss with the al forno, baked items. The eggplant parmesan, for example consists of layer upon layer of wafer thin, perfectly cooked eggplant rife with cheese and smothered in a superlative marinara. The portion size borders on the gargantuan. And other possibilities – meat tortellini, lasagna, manicotti, and cheese ravioli – are equally generous and equally well prepared.

But if you happen to be more in the mood for a traditional pasta dinner, you may choose your favorite starch and then match it up with your favorite sauce. Recently sampled, for instance, was a monstrous mound of al dente spaghetti adorned with a hearty Bolognese accompanied by two huge links of sweet Italian sausage. The presentation was so generous we froze the leftover in three separate portions for future enjoyment.

There are also a host of Italian sandwiches and, of course, pizza… both the 16” Neapolitan with a variety of extras and individual 12” specialty pizzas. In this latter category, we recently enjoyed the Abruzzi, a topping of sweet Italian soppressata and roasted peppers.

As an added incentive, bear in mind that each weekend the restaurant imports a plethora of fresh fish – sole, branzino, snapper – along with veal chops and other specialties, to which the kitchen devotes all of its considerable culinary skills.

Desserts, made locally but not on the premises, are worth considering – if your stomach isn’t already filled to capacity. The New York apple crumb cake is quite good, as is the Italian cheesecake. Other options include the ubiquitous tiramisu, cannoli, and regular cheesecake.

If you enjoy well-prepared southern Italian cookery served up in plentiful portions, Gino’s is definitely worth a visit.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ArtfulDiner43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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65 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    39
    13
    8
    4
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
eagleville
Level Contributor
101 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Plate was too small for the veal parm”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 November 2013 via mobile

That's how large the portion of veal parm at Gino's. I have to admit that I have been there a few times and I have yet to finish it. My wife and two daughters also had great meals. Every part of the dinner was good and I have to give a special shout out for the great bread that is served with dinner . And to top it off, the place is a BYOB

Helpful?
Thank Tgus14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
46 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“"Italian Wonder"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 September 2013

We met some friends at this restaurant and had a wonderful time. We ordered appetizers-lots of choices-all excellent. Entrees were very good and plenty of food-too much. Specially made when we ordered were the "little canola's"-the best ones we've ever had-so fresh and tasty. We brought our own wine and they provided the glasses. Our waitress was excellent and eager to help us with our choices-so many to choose from. We would definitely return to this restaurant on our next trip down to Pennsylvania.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Pat S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
66 reviews
63 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Still wonderful”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 August 2013

I live only about two miles from this restaurant and have been there many time.
They offer wonderful Italian food for a great price. Their portions are huge. We were there last weekend and I loved my meal. There was so much food that I had two more dinners at home from my left overs!
I had a veal special....veal in a white wine cream sauce with tomato's, red onion, and pecans. It came with ziti with the same sauce. YUM!
Dinner still comes with a salad and very good bread.
This place is a neighborhood gem.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank schmerl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lansdale, PA
Level Contributor
32 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Great Veal Parm”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 August 2013

I have lived all around this great nation of ours... sampled many types of cuisine... somehow I am always drawn back to Italian food as my favorite... Having mention this, I always rate an Italian Restaurant by their Veal Parm, their red sauce and pasta, and their bread...
All were to my liking at Gino's... the Veal Parm was probably the very best that I've had since leaving Jersey... it was "forgetta about it, delicious"... a very large portion of which half I brought home and enjoyed for dinner the following night. The pasta in red sauce was equally as good.
Gino's serves a very classic old world Italian fare that is worth going back for again and again without breaking the piggy bank...
Loved it!!!
LG

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank lkswimmer114
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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