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Monday, May 27, 2013

Da Gino - Indulge Your Inner Italian

Unimposing outside, delicious inside

I gotta admit, I’m not a huge fan of Italian food in Germany.  Much of it is trite and that’s being kind.  Like scoping out the women at Happy Hour, you really have to pick and choose.  A bad one will spoil your evening and maybe your weekend.

More years ago than I care to admit, I lived in a different Germany.  Italian restaurants were few, but they were good.  In my estimation, proliferation lowered the standards.  Fortunately, the better ones are fairly easy to spot.  Parking lots are full.  In good weather, umbrella topped tables spill out onto the sidewalks and plazas.  A dead giveaway:  you hear a lot of Italian spoken, and if you’re aurally challenged, you can go by the waving hands and arms, synchronized with the moving lips.

There are exceptions to the general rules.  I found one traveling through Landstuhl, on the way to Kinsbach.

At first glance Da Gino’s is unimposing.  No outside seating.  Looks almost industrial.  You could drive right by, and I did, until some friends let me in on the secret:  Gino runs a special place.  Busy, yet intimate.  Tasteful décor.  A stone oven.  A very happy bar.  Food that dances on your taste buds.   An atmosphere that begs for a leisurely meal and warm conversation.  Invite several friends.  Bring your loved one, or your wife.

Décor, etc can be perfect, but still the main thing is the food.  The second is a good wine.  Da Gino has got ‘em both.  I’ve sucked down the red and white house wines.  Friends have tried the rosé.  All memorable.

Bread straight from the stone oven!

Pizzas from the stone oven look wonderful and the aroma of fresh tomatoes and melted cheese follows them to your table.  Haven’t eaten one, but the crusty pizza bread Gino serves is so tasty you have to stop yourself.   The gnocchi also looks and smells delicious.


The star of the show!

For me, however, the star of the show is the seafood salad.  Yes, the seafood on the salad is fried, but don’t let that stop you.  Gently fried.  Very lightly breaded, the salmon and white fish filets are tender, not dry, and the calamari are crisp on the outside and not chewy.  Shrimp?  Oh, my goodness.  Large.  Succulent. 

Wash it down with a soft Pinot Grigio, and end the meal with a dessert, if you dare, or perhaps a snifter of Grappa.   Bellissimo!

Been there twice.  Will go again. No arm twisting required.  The perfect place for a bevy of friends to chat, drink, and bolster their Italian appetites.

Buon Appetito!

Kaiserstrasse 79, 66849 Landstuhl, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

+49 6371/914441

Gino at work.

The wonderful stone oven.

A glass for every type of thirst.

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