Saturday, 6 April 2013

Food Review: Gino's Recipes, Ara Damansara

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Gino's Recipes is a cozy little italian eatery tucked away in Ara Damasara.  We live practically 1 min away but have never frequent this place, even though its highly recommended by hubby's cousin who has eaten here several times.  It's really a case of looking high and nigh but not seeing what's right in front of you. 

We discovered Gino's by accident. On one of my date nights with hubby, it was pouring cats and dogs.  We knew that the major roads would all be gridlocked, so hubby and i were just thinking of eating options nearby when he remembered Gino's.  Ever since that first visit, it has become one of our favourite family hangouts, and sometimes with some close friends too.  The food's good and consistent, decent prices, big portions, helpful staff and nice ambience.  What's there to complain?   

The following photos were taken over several visits.   



One good thing about eating in a quiet suburb is that parking is a breeze.  The ambience is simple and cozy,with lots of wooden panelling and furniture, stain glass walls and white paper as table cloth, which i much prefer.  I think it adds to that italian feel. 

Their menu is pretty extensive, but we actually haven't tried many of the items because we always ended up ordering the same items that we like haha! Must break the habit on our next visit :P

Food pictures must be x-large rite?
This is item #11 - Greek salad with broccoli, feta cheese and olives. 
Comes chocked full of the said items - i love this one.
Clean yet full of flavours.

Jumbo mango juice to share.  Refreshing and very mango-ey.  Our other favourite is their dragon fruit juice.




We usually order the Broccoli and Tomato Soup, and the Mushroom Soup.  Both do not look like much, but the Broccoli and Tomato soup is really good - very tangy and garlicky.  The mushroom soup is good too - but I would have like to see some chunky mushroom pieces in there instead of a total puree.

Yummy Roasted Vegetables with Sun Dried Tomatoes Pasta.  Chocked full of goodies and bathed in a full bodied, garlicky tomato mushroom sauce.   Perfect for a non-meat option.  I also like the fact that all the food comes steaming hot (very asian here :)).

This is my must order item - Beef Bacon Alio Olio Pasta.  Superb!

Love the addition of capers and chopped olives.

Napoletana Pizza

Pepperoni Pizza

The other thing that give this place a big plus - I didn't feel thirsty crazy after the meal.  Yup, less use (I won't say none!) of MSG.  Increasingly, this has become an important criteria in my family's choice of food places.  We used to go to this nearby chinese restaurant that's cheap and good, but the last few times we've had our meals there, I was so parched for hours after the meal.  No amount of liquids could quench that horrible thirst.  You just know that tingly, parched sensation on your tongue that comes from excessive use of MSG.  We stayed away from that place ever since then.

So, what's there not to like?  Unfortunately there's one - the dessert.  The selection is ok, but everything looks kinda tired and deflated, like it's been there for quite some time.  The only time we ordered dessert - the Oreo chocolate cake - it came out dry and very ordinary cake-shop type.  Quite a bit of a letdown, especially since it was considered an "upgrade" item from a set meal that we ordered.
Prices overall are a tiny bit on the high side, but they make it up with big portions and flavour. 


  1. The pastas and pizzas look good, price looks reasonable too. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I think it's really nice that u have a nice Italian near ur place. It's hard to find nice Western around my place, usually chinese dai chow or Malay food only. Need to drive into KL city if we wan good Western.

  3. Esther, I must go there one day. The pasta looks good. Once in a while I do love having pizza that doesn't come from Pizza Hut or Dominos :)

    1. Haha, you know what, PH, sometimes i crave for Pizza Hut pizzas :P

  4. Esther, just letting you know that your link to Food on Friday: Lamb was featured in my Need Some Inspiration? Series today. Have a nice week.

  5. Hi Esther,

    Me too... I really hate the after-feeling of having too much MSG. Good that this place is serving good and honest food with real flavours and of course minus the MSG.


    1. Totally, Zoe. Maybe it's age, but I'm getting more sensitive to MSG food, and it's something that really puts me off these days. Guess we need to cook more at home.

  6. Hi Esther,
    I totally agreed with you and Zoe about the after feeling of too much MSG - thirsty crazy :D
    The pasta looks good and the pizza looks great.
    How big is the pizza? It looks quite a big portion from your picture.

  7. It is my great pleasure to visit your website and to enjoy your excellent post here. I like that very much.

  8. Hello Esther, Love your way of expressing Gino's place. You have convinced me instantly and planning a visit to Gino's soon. Cheerio


  9. Hi Esther,
    As a huge fan of Italian cuisine and a restaurant manager myself, I am always on the lookout for great places to eat.
    After reading many of the glowing reviews for gino's I was quite excited to go there.
    We were greeted and served by a friendly waiter who took our order promptly, sadly however, that was as good as it got.
    Our starter of bruschetta was served on rather limp gluten free bread (not bruschetta at all)
    My wife's pasta was just, and I do mean JUST al dente, any less and it would have been crunchy.
    And by the time my pizza arrived (which I will get to in a minute), my wifes desert was already on the table.
    The tiramisu was atrociously bad, a bowl of Marscapone Cheese and cream that tasted like it had been left out of the refrigerator for a few hours with some bits of sponge shoved down the sides.
    But the pizza, oh the pizza. Prosciutto e funghi, MY ASS!
    I understand that gino's is halal but for goodness sake don't serve me processed chicken meat and call it prosciutto!
    And funghi, try a few bits of dried porcini mushroom. The pizza is then heaped with grated mozzarella served on a wafer thin pita bread for a base.

    I wanted to speak to the manager to offer some constructive criticism, but it would seem there hasn't been one there for quite some time.
    Sadly Gino's is no longer a nice place to go for an Italian dinner.


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