Selecting a restaurant’s name could be a challenge. But for Lydia and Louis Patierno, the setting inspired their choice: Girasole, Italian for “sunflower.” This cheerful restaurant in The Plains measures up to its name: bright and sunny, thanks to the expansive windows that wrap around the dining room, lush with outdoor foliage in warm weather and colorful with huge vases of vibrant flowers indoors – including, of course, sunflowers. The restaurant’s name, said Mr. Patierno, also connotes both “country” and Tuscany, where sunflowers grow abundantly.
Opening up Girasole nine years ago while still operating their now-sold Manassas restaurant, Panino, the Patiernos consider their finding this location a stroke of divine luck. “I used to come out between lunch and dinner from Manassas for trout fishing,” said Mr. Patierno. “I would drive around and see this corner building, and I would think that this is where I would like to be. If I were out here, I wouldn’t need to drive around looking for a place to fish.”
When the former owner put Girasole up for sale, the couple decided to make the move and to open a country place that features exquisite, from-scratch and traditional Italian cooking – that means breads, pastas, sauces, cured meats and pastries made on the premises by Mr. Patierno, the head chef. It helps, of course, that both grew up in Italian families, where honest home cooking prevailed – although Mrs. Patierno’s mother was Polish. “My uncle had an Italian provision import business,” she said. “I had a chance to work for him, and that sparked my interest in food.”
As for Mr. Patierno, as a college student he spent time in Ravena, in the Emilia-Romagna area of Italy. “That is a very culinary region,” he said. “So, without realizing it, I was absorbing a lot of food knowledge.”
It also helps that both Patiernos are dedicated foodies, having degrees from the Culinary Institute of America and having held assorted chef and management jobs in numerous restaurants, including one very prestigious D.C. restaurant. “I worked at the late Tiberio restaurant in Washington,” Mr. Patierno said about this very high-end destination. “I worked with a lot of great people, mostly Europeans who learned kitchen skills from the bottom up.”
His wife, on the other hand, interned for famed chef Hubert Schmeider after cooking school, then worked in kitchens in Iowa and Indianapolis before returning to D.C. In those days, she discovered, few women were hired to cook in the District, so she worked in hotel management, invaluable training for knowing how to run the couple’s future restaurants.
Now that they focus solely on Girasole, the Patiernos can concentrate full time on structuring a menu that includes such Italian entrée specialties as fritto misto (crisply fried squid, scallops, sole, shrimp, mussels and zucchini) and scaloppini di vitello saltimbocca (veal scaloppini with sautéed onions, roasted red peppers and light tomato sauce). Appetizers include mozzarella fritti (fried mozzarella with a light lemon anchovy sauce). And don’t bypass the pasta. Who could resist pappardella alla Bolognese (wide pasta ribbons with a classic meat sauce)? Delicate pastries and cups of espresso wind up the meal.
Join us on Friday, February 14th for a special Valentine’s four course, fixed price menu.
This special menu will feature the following options:
Marinated Grilled Octopus
Buffalo Mozzarella & Grilled Vegetables
Baby Arugula with Shaved Parmesan and Artisanal Olive Oil
Classic Caesar Salad
Fennel Salad with Blood Oranges and Mediterranean Olives
Frisee with Anchovy Dressing and Gorgonzola Crostini
Seafood Ravioli with Lobster, Shrimp, and Scallops
Salmon en Carrozza
Butternut Squash Tortellini
Pork Cheek Marubini
Braised Short Ribs over Creamy, Herbed Polenta
Veal Medallions in a Cream Brandy Sauce with Local and Forest Mushrooms
Roasted Chestnut Stuffed Rabbit
Housemade Dessert Selection
There are two seating times available in which to make your reservation. Choose between 5 to 6:30 pm or 8 to 9:30 pm. The cost is $85 per person, excluding beverages, tax, and gratuity. Seating is limited so call 540-253-5501 to make your reservation.
If you cannot join us on Valentine’s Day proper, we will feature dinner and dessert specials all weekend!
We are planning an exclusive trip to the Sicily region of Italy from May 5th through May 16th. Our tour is small and personal. Local food and wine combined with the history and folklore of the local area. We will stay at Agriturismi when possible. We will visit a Marsala producer, a wine maker, almond and pistachio growers, Sicilian pottery shop, a puppet show, and local markets.
The group is limited to 10 persons. The package price is $3,200 per person and includes transportation to and from the Palermo airport, transportation throughout the tour, accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, and five lunches. Airfare and taxes are excluded.
For more information, visit www.girasole-italy.com. To make a reservation, please call Lydia Patierno at 540-253-5501. $1,000 deposit required to secure your reservation.
Sunday, December 15th from 12 to 5 pm
Join us at Girasole on Sunday, December 15th for a showing of artist Robert Patierno’s work. The brother of Chef Louis Patierno, Robert has exhibited his paintings, prints and drawings in galleries and museums throughout Europe and across the United States. Girasole is proud to display his art throughout the restaurant, including the mural that greets patrons as they enter from the patio. Join us for light antipasti and amazing art as we celebrate the creativity of the Patierno brothers!
We are proud to announce the Girasole Marketplace! See our fine selections below to help make your holiday season easy and enjoyable.
Love your bottle of wine? All of our wine is available for purchase to immediately take home with you.
You may also place an order for wine at competitive retail pricing. All orders are available for pick-up within 5 business days. Ask your server or the host for more information. Buy a case of wine and receive a 10% discount on your order.
Our country Tuscan loaf is house made and appreciated for its crunchy crust and soft center. Take one home and enjoy for $9 per loaf.
Enjoy only the best artisanal Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Castello di Poppiano: $38 a bottle or $34 when ordering 6 or more bottles.
Isole e Olena: $28 a bottle or $25 when ordering 12 or more bottles.
Let us assemble a custom gift basket just for you. Available for $50, $100, $150, or $200, each basket will be specifically designed to delight your tastes. We’ll include wine, artisanal olive oil, bread, house smoked meats and salmon, specialty cheeses, or a gift certificate. We’re also happy to wrap your purchase to make gift-giving easy and enjoyable.
Give a Girasole gift certificate for that special someone, the gourmand, the wine connoisseur, or the hard to buy for friend or family member. Available in varying amounts.
Northern Virginia Magazine
“No, no. Not the bunny,” says a woman to her server, responding to an early fall special of braised rabbit loin stuffed with Italian chestnuts, with a side of rabbit ravioli, in deeply meaty rabbit pan sauce. I smiled, having already ordered the dish, on special.
At Girasole it’s not necessary to open the menu. The printed version doesn’t change, which means you must listen to the long list of specials. (Thankfully, on busy weekends there is a print out.)
A salad (on special) has the balanced proportions of a Zac Posen dress: crisply American with of-the-season figs from Chantilly, mixed greens, house-cured pancetta and tangy chevre. Earlier in the year, pinky-purple-tinged octopus, (on special) colored from a braise in red wine, was draped in Italian oil with beautiful summer microgreens performing as edible art.
Scoop: Desserts don’t change as seasonally, but really, chocolate is never out. A slice of gianduia, dense as ganache, marries chocolate and hazelnut in such a pure fashion that it will make you rethink your devotion to store-bought Nutella.
DINING IN MIDDLEBURG?:
Todd – My husband and I are considering a mini staycation/babymoon out at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg. The resort looks wonderful, but I dont think we want to eat on premise (eek – terrible Post write up.. have you been out?).
So the question, is there anywhere wonderful in Middleburg or even nearby you would recommend? Have you heard anything about the latest with Ashby Inn’s chef?
What I’d do, if I were you, is book a table at Girasole, in the Plains.
It’s about an eight-mile drive south — take you about 15 minutes.
And then you’ll settle in to a cozy, soft-lit dining room for a good, relaxing meal of casual Italian cooking. It’s an enjoyable restaurant. Not a splurge of a meal kind of place, not a gastronomic getaway — but the kind of place you wish were closer to the city, because you could see yourself going once a month.
Join us for a delectable and memorable Thanksgiving meal. The four course, fixed priced meal will feature traditional Thanksgiving dishes as well as other specials created by Chef Patierno for those looking for something a little different this year.
Featuring the following menu choices:
House Smoked Scottish Salmon
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Burrata with Tuscan Olive Oil
Local House Greens
Arugula with Shaved Pecorino, Lemon & Olive Oil
Traditional Roasted Turkey
Roasted Ayrshire Rose Veal
Venison Medallions with Brandied Cherries
Wild Rockfish, Pan-Seared with Local Mushrooms
Selection of House Made Desserts
Dinner reservations are available from noon until 5 pm on Thursday, November 28th. The cost is $65 per person, exclusive of beverages, taxes, and gratuity. To make a reservation, please call 540.253.5501. Limited seating so please make your reservation today.
Sunday, October 6, 6:30 pm at Girasole
Hosted by Francesca Vaira of G.D. Vajra Winery
Cost: $195 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity
Join us in celebrating Italian white truffles! Chef Patierno and Lydia Patierno will feature their annual Italian Piedmont Truffle dinner on Sunday, October 6th at 6:30 pm. Hosted by their friend and truffle enthusiast, Francesca Vaira of G.D. Vajra Wines, the fix-priced, seven course meal with wine pairings will give tribute to authentic Piedmont truffles shipped directly from Italy to Girasole. The white truffle, also known as the Alba Madonna, will be featured in dishes such as tenderloin carpaccio with micro greens and a poached farm egg in a rich porcini broth. See the full menu below under upcoming events. The cost is $195 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Call 540-253-5501 to make your reservation.
Featuring the following courses and wine pairings:
Carpaccio di Carne alla Piemontese Accompagnato da Microinsalatina e Scaglie di Tartufo Bianco
Classic Piemontese Carpaccio with Micro Greens & Shaved White Truffles
Vajra Dolcetto d’Alba 2011
Pasta di Castagne alla Piemontese Fatta in Casa e Scaglie di Tartufo Bianco
House Made Piemontese Chestnut Pasta & Shaved White Truffles
Vajra Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2009
Uovo Affogato al Brodo di Porcini Servito con Scaglie di Tartufo Bianco
Poached Farm Egg in Rich Porcini Broth & Shaved White Truffles
Vajra Langhe Rosso ‘Pinot Noir’ 2009
Insalata Verde dell’Orto
Local Mixed Greens, Artisanal Olive Oil & Crostini
Vajra Langhe Bianco ‘Riesling’ 2011
Risotto alla Piemontese e Scaglie di Tartufo Bianco
Piemontese Carnaroli Risotto & Shaved White Truffles
Vajra KYE ‘Freisa’ 2009
Coniglio Arrosto e Scaglie di Tartufo Bianco
Roasted Rabbit & Shaved White Truffles
Vajra Barolo ‘Bricco delle Viole’ 2008
Torta alla Nocciola e Panna Cotta al Tartufo Bianco
Hazelnut Torte & White Truffle Panna Cotta
We’re excited to announce that Rappahannock Cellars will join us in hosting a fixed price, five-course dinner on Sunday, September 8 at 6 pm. Each course will be paired with an exceptional wine by Rappahannock Cellars. The menu and pairings include:
Mussels Casino with Roasted Peppers and Onions
Rappahannock Viognier 2012
Braised Pork Belly with Apple Cider Reduction
Rappahannock Chardonnay 2011
Risotto of Wild Local Mushrooms
Rappahannock Cabernet Franc 2011
Roasted Rabbit Stuffed with Italian Chestnuts
Rappahannock Meritage 2011
Late-Summer Fruit Tart
Rappahannock Vidal Late Harvest 2008
John and Kelly Delmare, owners of Rappahannock Cellars, began their careers as vintners in the Santa Clara Valley of California, but yearned for a more family oriented place to raise their twelve children. They found the Piedmont region of Virginia to be the perfect place for family and wine! We’re pleased that our family business will team up with theirs to bring you an evening of delicious food and spectacular wine. Allan Delmare will join us for this event. The cost of the dinner is $ 85 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. To make a reservation, please call Girasole at 540-253-5501.
- August 2017
- July 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- October 2012
- February 2012
- September 2010
- Art Sale
- Chef Patierno
- Christmas Eve
- Cooking Classes
- Downey Selections
- Father's Day
- Italy Tours
- Lazio region
- Liguria region
- Locally Sourced Dinner
- Lou Patierno
- Lydia Patierno
- Marche Region
- Max Evans
- Middleburg Eccentric
- Middleburg Life
- Mother's Day
- Mystery Dinner
- New Year's Eve
- Pasta Night
- Patio Wine Tasting
- Restaurant Week
- Roanoke Valley Wine Company
- Robert Patierno
- Salamander Resort
- Sicily Region
- Siema Wines
- Tasting Menu
- Three Fox Vineyards
- Tom Sietsema
- Truffle Dinner
- Valentine's Day
- Virginia Living
- Washington Post
- Wine Dinner
- Wine Sale
- Wine Tasting
Follow Us on Facebook
Email Newsletter Sign-Up
Monday5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Tuesday5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Wednesday5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Thursday5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Friday5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Saturday5:30 – 10:00 pm
Sunday11:00 am - 2:30 pm
5:00 – 9:00 pm