Giovanni’s

Giovanni’s Claimed

The best pizza in town!

Average Reviews

Description

Giovanni’s

One of the best things about restaurants in Colombo is that there is always an amazing backstory either about the owner, the chef, the menu or the name. A few establishments though have a story behind everything. Giovanni’s is one such.

 

So let’s start with the history. Dimuthu Gamage, an average Sri Lankan boy living and working in Italy learns the sacred art of Italian cuisine from his mother-in-law. Intrigued by the ingredients and style of cooking, he soon finds an inherent ability to create culinary masterpieces. Returning to his home country, Dimuthu decides to open up an Italian restaurant serving what Italy is known best for around the world… pizza! The result is Giovanni’s.

 

The quirky little restaurant in 2014 was first a two-floor affair with a wood fired oven and cashier on the bottom floor and a cosy seating area upstairs. At first Dimuthu was a one-man show tossing pizza dough, chopping ingredients, waiting tables and manning the cash register (all while covered head to foot in white flour!). Using his experience in Italian cooking and creating a few localized twists, Dimuthu created the Giovanni’s menu all by himself and it has pretty much remained the same ever since. When it all started off Dimuthu’s target was to sell 50 pizzas a day. Although their opening time was 6pm, Giovanni’s had no specific closing time. If Dimuthu reached his target of 50 in the first hour itself then by 7pm operations would shut down. Colombo being a small city, news spread like wildfire about what was arguably “the best pizzas in town”. As the inquisitive crowd began to gather not only did Dimuthu soon run out of space to seat everyone but also had to increase his daily quota to 100.

 

Today with an additional section added on for seating next door and the daily quota further extended to 150 pizzas, Dimuthu has also expanded his staff to 12 full-time employees. Passing on his expertise to all his “students” ungrudgingly Dimuthu has in fact created what is best defined as a “pizza culture” that grows in popularity day-by-day. On any given day one will find Dimuthu’s signature grey EL9644 parked outside and people even seated on the entrance steps enjoying their pizzas off a menu that has about 20 different varieties.

 

The menu itself has many stories to tell, especially with how Dimuthu and his team came up with some of the names. For instance the “Salvage” pizza is actually named after a local band that would drop by at odd hours after practice and insist on one of Dimuthu’s pizzas. Often times this would be at closing time and Dimuthu would have to literally “salvage” some ingredients he could find create a pizza. The result is a resounding success. Another story lies behind the “WTF” named to honour popular media personality Danu who is one of the restaurant’s oldest and most frequent customers.

 

Despite the additions of Shanthini and Aaron who assist Dimuthu in all aspects of the business, the maestro still does much of the work himself. He tells us that food is his passion and that he feels so alive when his cooking and serving his customers.

 

On the day of our review, its full house as usual but we still have three seating options. One is to sit on the little café style chairs and tables on the pavement reminiscent of roadside cafés in Italy. Two is the cost seating area upstairs with its low lighting and perfect ambiance for couples. The journey up the narrow flight of stairs is an adventure in itself with the dim lighting from several candles being the only source of light. It does have an eerie sort of feeling to it with the years of candle wax and blackened walls. The third option is the latest addition next door, which is a nice little air-conditioned room with larger tables and a couch for those who prefer to kick back and relax. One thing we love about the place is its “eccentricity” with the Italian flags, memorabilia, chequered table cloths and odds and ends used for décor. It all adds to the comfort factor.

 

When it’s time to order both Dimuthu and Aaron are on hand to suggest the best of their wares. We end up getting half-and-half of the classic Margharita, Salvage, Spicy Chicken and Bacon. As if that’s not enough for just the 4 of us (each pizza has 8 slices), Dimuthu suggests that we try the All Meat and a Parma Ham. Never have I personally been in such a fix to pick my favourite. Who needs meat when the margarita is just cheese and a tomato concoction that is beyond a mere sauce? But then again who can say no to the mounds of bacon dripping with natural oils. Then there’s the Parma ham which is basically layers and layers of paper thin delicately salted ham that we are quite sure is found nowhere else in Colombo. If I was held at gun-point and told that my life depended on picking my favourite, then I would reluctantly go for the Parma ham.

 

Giovanni’s serves the usual soft drinks but we personally feel ginger beer goes best with the pizzas. Of course they also allow you to bring your own booze. Once you’re done with such a hefty meal and can manage dessert then the chocolate biscuit pudding served here is a must-try. Unlike the hard consistency found elsewhere, this one melts in your mouth and is not too sweet either. We do feel it’s a little too pricey though at 400 rupees per serving.

 

Having stuffed ourselves silly with 6 slices of pizza each, we are a more than satisfied bunch. We also love the fact that throughout our meal Dimuthu and his team pop in to check up on us and add little anecdotes to this story. If ever there was a place that satisfied our taste buds, our stomachs and our souls, we have found it at a little hideout called Giovanni’s.

 

So here’s our review…

 

Location         ****   (Parking is the only issue!)

Ambiance       ****   (We don’t mind the eerie candles and limited seating!)

Service           ***** (Dimuthu, Aaron and the team ROCK!)

Food               ***** (Not afraid to say the best pizzas in town!)

Overall                       **** ½


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Today Closed UTC+5.5

11:00 - 23:00
  • Monday
    16:30 - 23:00
  • Tuesday
    16:30 - 23:00
  • Wednesday
    16:30 - 23:00
  • Thursday
    16:30 - 23:00
  • Friday
    16:30 - 23:00
  • Saturday
    11:00 - 23:00
  • Sunday
    11:00 - 23:00

Price Range

1500 per head
$1,000.00
$2,500.00

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