Tradition and innovation come together
by Gianpaolo Ansalone
Searching for products keeping faithful to traditions, everything dressed with a warm and easygoing hospitality. These are the recipes of GioviAle, the new restaurant born in Montecatini Terme and located in Viale San Francesco, a few steps away from the night life and the heart of city fun and entertainment. The venue was born from an idea of the hotelier Giovanni Biondi and the chef Alessandro Giuntoli who, after a nearly 35-year-long friendship, decided to go for this new project. The quality of raw materials, respect for the seasonality of the products, a bright location, refined but familiar, professional service and a well-stocked wine cellar with over one hundred labels make GioviAle (the two names of the founders) a high level, quality restaurant on the Tuscan food-and-wine scene. Without any doubt, the added value is that of the chef Alessandro Giuntoli who boasts an ultra-thirty-year international career. Starting out as an apprentice chef in 1984 right at Hotel Biondi – owned by Giovanni Biondi – the chef was then in the best kitchens of the world from Enoteca Pinchiorri of Florence up to Le Cirque in New York, this latter the property of Sirio Maccioni, born and bred at Montecatini Terme. And it is right in the Big Apple that Guintoli reached the level of cuisine and management which have made him what he is today. “In New York I used to manage a team of 30 people,” says the chef, “and as well as following what was going on in the kitchen, I had to manage the needs of the people who worked for me.” At Le Cirque he was able to live incredible and highly vocational experiences such as the organization of a catering service of the New York residence of Pope Wojtyla in 1996 or cook for the Presidents Clinton and Bush. But many are the anecdotes and famous people he met in the years: “I remember that Cyndi Lauper and John Malkovich wanted a table in the kitchen at all costs while Woody Allen nearly always asked for express lasagne.” Then, in 2001, the decision to return to Montecatini Terme because competition in New York was very high with over 20,000 restaurants and the particularly taxing work rhythms. A long journey which has brought Giuntoli to GioviAle today, where he continues to put that same passion and self-sacrifice of 35 years ago in the kitchen and the dishes, with his belief in the fineness of raw materials (the use of acquarello rice, unquestionably fresh fish and just caught from the nearby Viareggio, etc…) joined with an elegant atmosphere, at the same time informal, excellently managed by the maître Federico Schiavelli. Among the most popular dishes are the lobster crepes and the notorious “pollo al mattone”.
Viale San Francesco d’Assisi, 6a
Montecatini Terme (PT)
Tel. +39 0572 091059