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“Italian atmosphere” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Giovanni's

Giovanni's
10 Goodwin's Court, 55 St. Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4LL, England (Covent Garden)
(020) 7240 2877
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Ranked #3,909 of 17,039 Restaurants in London
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: Covent Garden
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Italian atmosphere”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

We had a meal in this restaurant and the atmosphere was good traditional italian, however the food whilst not exceptional was just acceptable I think the menu is too large for this small place and possibly food not as fresh as could be I will visit again as I feel the food was not the normal for a place like this so will give them the benefit of the doubt. They have a good wine selection so lets see what happens next time !

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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291 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
Poughkeepsie, New York
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“A fabulous Italian experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

Giovanni’s is a little Italian restaurant north of Trafalgar Square and just on the edge of the theater district. It is not just a restaurant, and one should not go there expecting a London restaurant experience. Instead, it is like attending a large family gathering in Sicily. People sit near one another and the chatter (in Italian, of course) between owners Pino and Roberto and the wait staff is non-stop. Guests are often treated as members of the family. Going to Giovanni’s is like stepping into another time and another place. If you want London glitz, this is not the place.

What few people know is the history of the place. In spite of the many photos on the wall, the owners are not interested in bragging about their history. Yet recent history includes the fact that the alley/street called Goodwin’s Court , which is the official entrance to the restaurant, was used for several scenes in Harry Potter movies. Even more interesting is the history of Sinatra hiding away and sending secret message to Ava Gardner via the restaurant as well as stories of famous folks dining there such as Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Luciano Pavarotti, and the Royal Family of Monaco, including the group that launched, at one of the tables, the famous Three Tenors Concerts concept.

What very few people know is that Pino is royalty, both in UK and abroad. He comes from an amazing line of royalty (since 1400’s) in Sicily and is officially “Count Pino Ragona of Sicily”. His family has been famous for their Sicilian cooking for several hundred years. In 2002, he was invited to Buckingham Palace as the only Italian restaurant featured at the Golden Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II. Believe me, London has hundreds of other Italian restaurants.

I have been going here for 20 years—every time I visit London. It is a unique experience. Go prepared to enjoy an evening of being Italian. Forget that you are not. Leave your stuffiness at the door.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Colchester, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“An amazing taste of Sicily”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013

Everything about this place bursts full of character. The manager, Pino, is incredibly friendly and cannot do enough to help. We came to London to see some opera at the Royal Opera House, and immediately he changed the music to honour the occasion. This is a very humble restaurant which serves excellent food bursting with passion for the flavours of Sicily. Every dish is reasonably priced, and the dishes are of the highest quality. You have to go and see for yourself the subtle charm of this restaurant- it gives of an air of real vintage Italian gusto that will keep us coming back for years to come. I highly recommend, do not miss it for a moment!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Oslo, Norway
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Friendly and cosy”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

Stumbled across this place. Ver nice food and "truly italian" in the heart of Covent Garden. Good value for money and the food and wine where both of very good quality. Personalized service and good atmosphere.

Visited June 2013
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england
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Half decent food and APPALLINGLY slow service!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

We were offered a table at the back near the till but asked for the vacant table near the window and were reluctantly given it! The restaurant had a great look to it with signed pictures of celebrities covering the walls. Identifying the pictures gave us something to do while we waited (and waited ...) for our food. We'd ordered drinks, water, and just a main course from the manager who served us. The drinks came but no water. I reminded him twice and it came eventually but he didn't seem too pleased to have been reminded. We tried several times to attract the attention of one of the two waiting staff. They seemed really flustered and the manager appeared to do a lot of glaring and shouting at them, as well as screaming orders to the kitchen downstairs! Eventually (ninety minutes after we had ordered!) the manager came over and said he was sorry but when he'd put the order in, nothing had printed out???, blamed the machine but said not to worry as the food would be ready soon! We got it five minutes later and mine was OK although the gnocchi my partner had ordered was tasteless. The really annoying thing was that he kept apologising but when we asked for the bill he didn't even knock off the cost of a couple of drinks or make any gesture at all. I wouldn't go there again.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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