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Gianfranco Ristorante Italiano

8150 Railroad Ave. S.E.
Snoqualmie, WA
(425) 888-6621

While the small town of Snoqualmie is best known for the Salish Lodge overlooking the falls, where you can easily squander a large chunk of your paycheck for a meal, Gianfranco Ristorante Italiano offers a much better deal. Not only do you get excellent food, you do not have to pay inflated prices for it.

Although Gianfranco's has made every effort to provide an elegant setting through the tables and place settings, the restaurant is pretty casual, as would be expected in a resort area. The menu is not huge, and I think just focuses on a few dishes that the family does well.

I tried the Penne Gianfranco with Chicken, a dish that is supposed to be the signature dish of the restaurant. I frankly would not have ordered a pasta dish with cream sauce had it not been recommended so highly, since I usually find them bland and disappointing compared to tomato sauce. This one, though, made with Gorganzola cheese, was a winner. It is interesting that Pogacha, a Croatian restaurant in Issaquah, also serves dishes with this quite strong tasting cheese, and both are very good. The dish at Gianfranco's, though, was a better blend of flavors and I think an example of the highest and best use of Gorganzola.

Gianfranco's also offers specials in season, such as Copper River Salmon. I have had this fish on several occasions in different restaurants when I have been in town during May and June. Gianfranco, the owner, has his own method of cooking it with white wine sauce, and this was one of the best preparations I can remember (as well as some of the freshest fresh). If you like salmon you will probably like Copper River a lot better than the normal fish because of the high fat content (this is the good fat). The only thing that detracted from it was the use of Sockeye salmon instead of Alaska King (despite the name of my web site, I think Alaska King is a lot better). The way it was prepared, though, made it better than some of the Alaska King versions I tried at other restaurants--a tribute to the excellent cooking skills and fresh fish served at Gianfranco's.

Gianfranco's serves fresh bread with olive oil as an appetizer, and the quality of the bread was another indicator of the restaurant's stature as a fine dining establishment. Although I was not able to try any of the dishes with red sauce, Gianfranco gave me a sample of the sauce in a small bowl. The sauce was so light and flavorful I wished I had been able to try it in its intended use atop pasta and cheese that would give the proper combination of flavors.

The people who accompanied me to Gianfranco's were as impressed with the quality as I was. This is a highly recommended destination--do not let its unassuming appearance dissuade you from giving it a try.

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Cuisine: Italian
Cost: $$$
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No Smoking

Most Recent Visit
Jun. 12, 2006

Number of Visits: 3

Best Item
Penne Gianfranco

Special Ratings
Penne Gianfranco:

Health Dept. Report
King County