Review of Giardini: Best Local Italian Restaurant in Columbus, NC

Giardini Exterior and SignWe are so lucky to have quite a few great restaurants near the Derbyshire community. One of those is Giardini, a wonderful farm to table Italian restaurant location about twelve minutes from the Derbyshire main entrance. The owners, Joe and Mary, focus on using locally produced foods in their dishes, and many of those foods come straight from the Giardini garden located behind this quaint yellow cottage.

We chose this past Tuesday to stop by the restaurant because we knew it was officially Pizza Tuesday. Of course that is one of the first things you see as you walk in, along with the tempting list of desserts (look closely at the bottom of the chalkboard) and the hard-to-resist cookies on the counter. Never has it been so difficult not to embrace the “eat dessert first” philosophy.

Giardini Desserts

Giardini offers both indoor and outdoor seating. (They also have a pavilion that can be used for groups of twenty-five or more, but you’ll see that in a bit.) Normally they have quite a busy dining room, but we chose to go right during the golden time between lunch and dinner so that we could be guaranteed to see the next part of the tour.

Giardini Seating
Drunken FigThis is the built-in brick oven that stays very busy on Pizza Tuesday. The temperature stays at over 800 degrees, which allows these eleven inch pizzas to cook in just three minutes. For your information, this was a Drunken Fig pizza that belonged to someone else. We became overwhelmingly hungry after seeing this and headed upstairs to order my own.

While we were waiting a few minutes for my pizza to cook, Joe, who you will remember is one of the owners, sat down to have a little chat. They are such friendly, fun to be around people. We’ve had them cater several events and dinners at Derbyshire, and we always enjoy having them there!

Giardini Menu and SuppliersOne thing we would like to point out is the list of local suppliers that they use. If you’ll notice at the very top of that list is the Giardini Garden. One really neat thing about that is that if you look at the top of the pizza menu it lists the Drunken Fig pizza, which you had just seen in the brick oven. Well, it’s about time to be harvesting figs from the Giardini garden, and those will go into the pizza, and, well, we just thought that was pretty awesome. There aren’t too many restaurants that we’ve been to that are able to say they grow their own figs that go in to a fabulous woodfired pizza.

This picture makes us hungry just looking at it. That was our portobello and porcini mushroom pizza with goat cheese. It has to have been the best pizza that we have ever eaten.

PizzaAfter we finished savoring the delicious flavors of that pizza, Joe took me on a tour of the rest of the property. There are two more really unique things to point out about Giardini. One, they also have a portable woodfired pizza oven that can be taken to events for catering. You can enjoy any of their pizzas, or create your very own combination, anywhere!

Woodfired Pizza Oven

The other very cool offering at Giardini is their tennis court! Joe plays tennis several times a week, and decided that a private tennis court would be a perfect addition to the back of the property (behind the garden). They even offer a tennis club where local residents can become members and play as much as they like.

Tennis Courts

Sidenote, the covered pavilion on the right of the tennis courts is the area we had mentioned before which is used for larger catering events. Right in front of that, which you cannot see in this picture, is a lighted bocce ball court. We told you Joe and Mary were fun!

Giardini creates wonderful, authentic Italian dishes, not just the pizza that we have fallen in love with. If you are in the area, stop by, check out their menu, and order something that you will be telling your friends about later.


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A unique lakeside community in the
Foothills of Western North Carolina.