Authentic Italian with creative flair in downtown Geneva
If you don’t have an Italian grandmother — or, for that matter, a personal chef — you can get the next best thing in terms of great Italian cooking at Osteria Bigolaro.
Located in downtown Geneva, Osteria Bigolaro makes patrons feel they are in the dining room of someone who takes great care with the details. It’s not just the cozy pillows on the banquette side of the tables. It’s the open kitchen, the front windows that flood the space with light, and the kindly inquiring servers who check in just the right number of times to make sure you’re enjoying your experience.
The food is as inviting as the atmosphere in this restaurant, opened by classically trained chef-owner Anthony Gargano in the fall of 2017. Though the menu is not particularly large — another indicator of thoughtful cooking — it includes a variety of inventive starters, salads, pastas and entrées.
Nothing against jalapeno poppers, but you won’t find that type of commonplace starter dish here. Instead, featured shared plates include crispy Italian-style pork ribs, polenta and bolognese (not as filling as you might think), roasted mushrooms and ricotta, and burrata with butternut squash purée, fried sage, brown butter vinaigrette and toasted pumpkin seeds. An old country “Nonna” would be proud that the bread is homemade, as are the burrata and ricotta.
Care and authenticity are at the heart of Osteria Bigolaro’s handcrafted pastas. The word “bigolaro” refers to a type of Italian pasta extruder. Vintage extruders are part of the décor, and bags of the restaurant’s signature housemade pasta are for sale to take home. Try it and you’ll see why it’s a signature dish, with the right bite, shape and texture for the respective sauce.
Chef Gargano’s training at Le Cordon Bleu and in Italy is evident in the delectable carbonara, served with a glossy egg yolk to be stirred into a bed of thick-spaghetti-style noodles and melt-in-your-mouth pieces of crispy pork jowl. Other pastas showcasing the chef’s ingenuity are a red wine mafaldine with braised short rib, soffrito, brown butter vinaigrette and horseradish; and a pampanelle with butternut squash, roasted fennel, candied pistachios, fried sage and vinaigrette. Classic Italian pasta dishes are a reliable choice, too, like the stalwart rigatoni bolognese.
The entrées display the art of cooking with patience and a unique combination of ingredients. Meat falls off the lamb shank, which arrives atop regola pasta, braised winter greens and roasted grapes. Duck breast is served with colorful potato pave, carrot purée, roasted carrots and cherry gastrique.
To add lightness to the meal, choose a side salad with mixed greens, agrodolce-roasted carrots, shaved shallots and charred lemon vinaigrette, or share a Brussels sprouts Caesar salad or roasted beet salad.
Still have room for dessert? The chef offers a dessert of the day, which could be a cheesecake or another “mmmmm”-inducing end to a memorable repast.
317 W. State St., Geneva
Housemade pastas; lamb shank with regola pasta.
Appetizers: $12 – $14
Pasta dishes: $17 – $20
Entrées: $28 – $36
Tue – Sat: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Closed Mon and Sun
dessert of the day;
extensive Italian wine list.