I finally took my mental Bucket List of restaurants and put it down on paper. This is an ever-growing list; it expands by a few places every week. One day I fully intend to have the entire list checked off, but I find that it might be impossible if I keep adding to it… Eh, oh well, you can never be too short on good places to eat.
The first restaurant to get the coveted check mark is Il Girasole in Delray Beach. Bubby has been talking about taking me here for months. We first tried to come back in May, but it was a Monday night, and oops — they’re closed on Mondays. Then we tried to go again one night (not Monday) during the summer and they were closed for the summer. We just were not having any luck. Bub found out that they would be reopening for the season on in October, so we made each other a promise that the second we both had a free night available, we’d be spending it dining at Il Girasole. Now, I did not realize how much of a regular Bubby is at this place. We walked in and everyone greeted her by name and doted on her as much as possible. She even has a “set up” there. Are you ready for this one? I sit down, order my glass of wine, and then look over and what is Bubby pulling out of her purse? A flask. Yes, my grandmother brought a flask of scotch out to dinner. Since Il Girasole only serves beer and wine, guests are allowed to bring their own liquor, which Bubby obviously regularly partakes in. They brought her a glass of ice and she was good to go. That Bubby…she is quite the character.
The food here is Northern Italian, which means it is a lot lighter than your typical Italian meal that consists of heavy sauces and carb-loaded dishes. There is a lot of fish and barely-there sauce that still gives off just the right amount of flavor without weighing down the food. The ingredients are bright and vibrant and really showcase the best part of Italian cuisine. They obviously served fresh bread, soft and hot right from the oven, as well as these thin crispy breadsticks.
For dinner, Bubby and I each ordered an entrée and then split a pasta dish as our side. I got one of the fish specials of the day – the yellowtail snapper, which was prepared in a lemon sauce and came with sautéed zucchini. Bub had the Terrine St. Jacques, a mix of scallops, shrimp and mushrooms au gratin with bechamel sauce and cheese.
We shared the fettuccine toscana, which had sun dried tomatoes and asparagus tossed in a very light sauce. The portions of our entrees were not enormous like you often find in most Italian restaurants; they were modest and appropriate for one. The pasta was the perfect amount to split between the two of us.
My one complaint about Il Girasole is the clientele. It is completely, 100% an older crowd. Not to say you shouldn’t go here, but I think you should be aware of this fact before you head here for dinner. I was the youngest person in there by about 50 years. So while I definitely enjoyed my meal, I wouldn’t bring friends there or go there when I’m looking for a fun atmosphere. It has a very sophisticated and quiet ambience. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for somewhere to go with family…sans children. As we were driving home, Bub asked me if I would ever go back. My response? “Yes…but only with you.