top of page
  • Enrique Balestrini

Guest Starring: Zhuzhed by Ali. Gianni's Women's Day Brunch.

Gianni's Ristorante hosted a very special edition of their Sunday brunch and I brought Ali Hector (@zhuzhedbyali) with me as a guest reviewer! Get ready!

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
Ali Hector. Stylist extraordinaire. @zhuzhedbyali

Every Sunday during the month of march, Gianni's Ristorante Italiano is serving brunch and on the occasion of International Women's Day, they have made it extra special!

This blog could not stay behind! to make this review extra special, Ali Hector (@zhuzhedbyali) is joining me as a guest reviewer. She is not just a dear friend and the best dinner date one could have, she is thee fashion stylist of Aruba, a style icon, and a foodie! Her importance to this blog is immense, she formed part of the focus group when this site didn't even have a name and for that, I will be forever grateful.

On a sunny Sunday morning, we made our way to Gianni's Ristorante Italiano, who kindly invited us to enjoy brunch and the extra efforts they had made to celebrate the women of the island.

So Ali, welcome to the blog! if there's gonna be a first guest reviewer it has to be you! you were there from the very beginning and I cannot wait to hear all you have to say!

Thank you for having me and thank you for taking me to so many fabulous dinners and now brunch! It's been really beautiful seeing you rise on the blog and seeing how people are responding and seeing also how this thing that you created, your little brain baby is growing up and it's very exciting to be a part of it, so thank you!

You are the kindest! So let's dive in, tell us the vibes you're feeling! I see a room packed with women of all kinds, I see they really came out!

Yeah... the mood was really great. There were women there from all generations, you can see girlfriends coming together, and moms with their daughters... I saw some grandmas there as well, kiki-ing it up at their own tables, and the music by Dj V was also really great, it was really easygoing. Let's get dressed up and go out together with the girls, it was beautiful to see.

I see you have encountered a lot of familiar faces!

Yes! there were quite a few people that I know! Funny story: Dj V and I actually have known each other for many many years, I won't say how many in fear of giving away our turns around the sun... we actually went to high school together... we did ballet together! (laughs) and there is a video of us, performing on Telearuba back in the day, doing Mazurka in pink lace dresses with our little fans and me making a lot of televised mistakes which they did not do a second take for... I dare anyone to dig up that video! (laughs)

It was also fun to see other girls that I've known for a while with their girlfriends, so I had to leave our table to go say hi to some people and kiki it up with them as well...lots of familiar faces, it was really fun!

So, let's talk about food!

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
Ali is the first guest reviewer on this blog!

Of course, we checked the menu ahead of time, as soon as it was posted on Gianni's social channels. I encourage you to follow them if you want to stay up to date on their events and specials. All links are available at the end of this post.

Talking about bubbles, what do you usually prefer? Mimosa, Bellini, or just the Prosecco?

You know I always want to have the mimosa, it's always beautiful to see the glasses with champagne and orange juice mixed up... just a sign of a good time and drinking in the morning -daytime drinking is always fun- but then, as the day progresses, I find myself wanting more Prosecco than a mimosa. I feel it's a little lighter...mimosas can be a little heavy and don't give me the space to try all the food that I want to try. I'll go in between depending on how my appetite progresses.

From the breakfast part of the menu, what item made you immediately say "I'll have it"?

Definitely had to have the gravlax salmon benedict on the black-striped croissant, sounded really delicious. I love salmon, it's one of my favorite things! To me, it signals the start of a really beautiful day. Every time I have salmon for breakfast it just makes me feel very luxurious so...(laughs)... that's the one I had to get first.

I have to admit that I cheated a little bit because I had the grilled avocado salad. If I'm going to have a lot of food I immediately look for something green on the menu so I can prepare my body to have all this food! So I tried the avocado salad which was great but I was really hungry and then, Petit (@callmepetit) who was at our table, had the truffle cheese fries and let me try them so I have to say that I stole the entire thing from him and DEVOURED all the french fries, which to me were delicious.

I love sauces, they enhance all types of food and in this case with the fries, made them really good. I love having something else on fries, rather than the regular ketchup, or the peanut sauce.

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch

So tell us, what else did you order from the breakfast section and what is your verdict?

Oh my gosh! I had almost everything. The pancakes were really delicious. I felt though the description said they had a brownie crumble but it was nowhere to be found. Very delicious regardless!

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
Gravlax salmon Benedict on a black-stripped croissant.

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
Tiramisu pancakes

To me, the winner of this round was the pancakes. I can't help to gravitate toward sweet items and these were pillowy, creamy, and not overly sweet. Great pairing with the cappuccino I had ordered. I had two portions.

As part of the entertainment, the team at Gianni's organized a trivia. We all participated and soon enough, Dj V, in charge of the tunes announced the winners. It was a nice touch!

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
International Women's Day Trivia

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
Dj V Announcing the winners of the trivia.


It's Main dishes time.

I know it is impossible to have all mains in one visit. Which one did you order first and how was it?

Oh my gosh! I had almost everything.

For the appetizers, I had the Parmigiana di Melanzane. I looove eggplant as well, I can roast eggplant in my oven and have it hummus any day of the week, and whenever I see eggplant I have to say yes! in this case, it had basil, mozzarella... it was actually really good, and really filling. I also had the tuna tartare which was really dainty and presented beautifully. I enjoyed it!

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
The creamiest Eggplant. Parmigiana di Melanzane

Tuna Tartare.

From my side, I started with the Crab Profiterole and the Tuna Tartare. I have to say both were great. I was happy to have started with something that felt more like an Hors-d'oeuvre. It is not my style to start with a bowl of pasta so these were nice.

Crab Profiterole

Ali, what else did you try? tell me everything, spare no details.

I also had the risotto, which came with fresh shiitakes. It wasn't my favorite. I think I got distracted because right when I ordered the risotto, you ordered the spaghetti scampi and I was completely blown away by how delicious that was! and I mean how can you go to Gianni's and not have spaghetti? right? so again... I always have food envy when I go out to eat and I'm always looking at the other's person plate. Sometimes I score by ordering the right thing but then if someone orders something that looks and tastes better than mine my fork will make it to the other side... I'll reach over and I'll have a little taste.

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
Risotto Funghi (VEG)

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
Creamy-tomatoey-alla vodkaey linguini with shrimp.

Can we both agree on the Branzino as the star of the day?

ABSOLUTELY! I really love fish and it was really really light, the sauce was perfect, to me it had the perfect balance of tomato, and maybe a little butter in there which made it even better. I hope that a lot of people got to enjoy it because it was not one of the things that stood out on the menu but when it came to the table we were both really surprised. A beautiful dish.

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
Star of the menu: Branzino in Putanesca sauce with artichoke.

Tell us, are you a dessert person?

I am! I actually really love desserts. I have to say if I am really full and if I am having a nice drink I'll skip it orrr... what I am a huge fan of is sharing desserts. After having all of the mains and everything I try to balance out the sugar by sharing (laughs). I'm the type of person that If my dining partners are skipping it I'll skip it too. The joy of having dessert is to share it!

Which one did you enjoy the most?

In this case, I actually skipped it. By the time desserts hit the table I was still having spaghetti (laughs) and I wanted the taste to linger a little longer in my mouth. That's how I wanted the day to end for me.

My pick was the Petit Cheesecake. Just a bite is what I needed and the presentation was soo cool.

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch
Funny thing, our friend Jonathan Petit approved the Petite Cheesecake!

Ali, any final thoughts about everything? I reckon you could be a recurring guest on this blog!

Oh yeah! I would love to be a recurring guest. You are one of my favorite dinner partners... so anytime that you want to have me on the blog, I am here for you!

Yeah, so my final thoughts are that this brunch was really nice!

I feel like I will be returning with my girlfriends because you wanna feel like you're going out but you don't necessarily always want to go to a bar and be dancing and taking shots... if you're out during the day and there's a nice Dj playing music and there's a whole vibe... it makes you feel really special. I also loved the educational aspect with the little trivia where I learned a few things... so I walked away feeling really satisfied!

From my part, I have to say that from all brunches, the team at Gianni's is putting more and more effort to take them to the next level, there's improvement every weekend. The service thanks to the kindest lady, Sandra, was impeccable. My biggest congratulations to all that team that kept the patrons served in a timely manner, it has to be a huge task.

When it comes to the menu, it varies all the time, which I consider one of the biggest perks of coming to Gianni's brunch. Most dishes are specially made for these events, not on their regular menu, which for all of us food lovers is even more interesting.

The FoodE Life Gianni's Ristorante Italiano Brunch

If you are concerned that the style is going to be 100% Italian and all food is going to be pasta after pasta, let me tell you this is not the case. There are many twists and variations of the classic things as well as new ideas brought to the table. All are made with super fresh and high-quality ingredients. You will definitely get your money's worth.

Here is a link to this brunch menu if you want to check out the variety.

Next brunch is this Sunday so if this post opened your appetite, do it!

Make sure to follow Gianni's Ristorante Italiano socials to get to know more.



Follow this blog's Instagram @itsthefoodelife for more FoodE updates.

Find me on Facebook too: The FoodE Life


bottom of page