Giuseppe’s is one of the best restaurants in Lexington, but, somehow, I always forget about it. An authentic Italian restaurant tucked away on a wooded street off Nicholasville Road, Giuseppe’s is a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the always-crowded streets of Lexington, despite the fact that it’s only about 300 feet from the main road as the crow flies. When you turn off Nicholasville Road onto Cobblestone Road, you will wonder if you made a wrong turn, but continue winding back and you will arrive at a quaint and unassuming building. Parking is in the lot near the restaurant, or on the street if it’s a busy night.
That’s where the simplicity ends. Giuseppe’s food is simply outstanding.
A bonus of eating at Giuseppe’s is the jazz. Starting at 6:30 Wednesday through Saturday, musicians play in the lounge area, providing a peaceful ambience during dinner. You can sit in the lounge to see it up close, but you can hear the jazz music from anywhere in the restaurant.
I’d recommend getting a reservation ahead of time. You could risk it and go early or late on a weekday, but why risk it? Make a reservation at Giuseppe’s here.
Appetizer and Salad
On this night, I was meeting a friend for an early dinner. I started off with a Saved Red Blend. Happy hour is 4-6 daily. On Mondays, bottles of wine are ½ off.
We started with the arancini appetizer, which was delicious. For those that haven’t tried arancini, it is basically a fried rice (actually risotto) and cheese ball served with marinara. Giuseppe’s includes Prosciutto and Fontina cheese in their version, which is amazing. Highly recommend to start off with these.
I have also tried the stuffed mushrooms and gnocchi on the appetizer list, and both are great. I’ll get to the gnocchi below…
I also had the Insalata Gorgonzola side salad, which has Gorgonzola cheese, candied walnuts, apples, and a Balsamic Vinaigrette. Very good.
Giuseppe’s makes all their pastas in-house, our server informed us. There are so many great entrees available for dinner here that it makes it very difficult to choose just one. So, I didn’t choose just one.
My first choice was the Carbonara Italiano. This is the authentic Carbonara pasta dish from Italy with spaghetti, tossed with Pancetta (basically bacon), peas, garlic, olive oil, and egg, and topped with Pecorino Romano cheese and cracked black pepper. Very rich and reminds you of sitting in a restaurant in Rome.
My bonus entree was an appetizer portion of the gnocchi. Gnocchi (N(Y)OK-ee) is a dough dumpling often made from potatoes. The gnocchi dumplings are pressed on a special gnocchi board to make ridges that hold sauce more efficiently. The Italians really do have it all figured out.
We were lucky enough to learn some tips on gnocchi in an Italian cooking class in Positano this summer. Making gnocchi was one of the highlights, and they even sent us home with a gnocchi board to roll it. If you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italy, make sure to try this Italian cooking class.
Sorry to get sidetracked there. The gnocchi at Giuseppe’s was one of the best I’ve ever had. You HAVE to get this dish, whether it is as an appetizer or entree, or as an add-on entree like gluttonous me. The gnocchi comes with a cream sauce with Fontina cheese or a tomato basil sauce. Definitely get the cream sauce. The only “problem” with gnocchi is that it is extremely rich and hard to eat a ton. My advice is to get the appetizer portion. So. Good. You can also get this on their happy hour menu. Happy hour is daily from 4-6 and you can also get half-priced bottles of wine.
Another magnificent entree is the Frutti di Mare, a tasty seafood pasta dish in a delicious tomato cream sauce. While pricey, it does have LARGE chunks of lobster, scallops, and shrimp to justify the cost. You can see in the photo. It’s almost like they tore up a full lobster tail. This was amazing and I highly recommend for you seafood lovers out there.
After carb-loading like I was preparing for a marathon (don’t worry, I wasn’t), I didn’t have much room for dessert. I’ll be back soon to add in a dessert section when I have the stomach space. Definitely interested in trying the tiramisu and lemon cake.
We recently revisited Giuseppe’s. On that night, they weren’t offering the lemon cake, so we had the mint chocolate gelato, which comes in an enormous sundae dish and was excellent. The tiramisu was too much to handle after the amount of carbs already consumed. On the way out, I noticed the tiramisu was named “Dessert of the Year” per a plaque on the wall, so I will be back to try this soon…
Get to Giuseppe’s as soon as you can and come hungry. Homemade pastas and authentic Italian dishes aren’t far away, even if they’re a little difficult to find!
Hours: M-Sa: 4p-10p, Su: 11a-2:30p, 5p-9p
Address: 4456 Nicholasville Road, Lexington, KY 40515
Phone: (859) 272-4269