An evening at Giada DeLaurentiis’ self-titled Italian restaurant in The Cromwell will undoubtedly leave you pleasantly full, with happy memories of each morsel. The Food Network star designed her restaurant to capture that California feel, both in decor and in interpretations of classic dishes and DeLaurentiis’ family recipes on a delightful dinner menu. But that’s not the only meal that Giada excels in.

During brunch, which was recently expanded from Saturday and Sunday to Friday as well, ask to sit on the Stripside patio area, where you can peek across at the street scene. You’ll find a number of treasures on the menu, including the gnocchi pomodoro, a comforting dish of lovely little dumplings in a savory sauce. The sunrise polenta waffle could give any day a happy outlook—two sunnyside-up eggs rest atop a crisp waffle, with pancetta, maple syrup, chives and a creamy bechamel. And the caprese frittata really satisfies, too. The lemon-pesto grilled cheese sandwich goes way beyond the staple. Heirloom tomatoes and those bright flavors make the panini-style sandwich incredibly good.


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The tasting menu might be the easiest way to experience the breadth of brunch’s offerings. Start with a beverage, of course, like the La Marca mimosas (with a bottomless option), or the nonalcoholic Dolce Vita—fresh orange, peach purée, elderflower tonic, club soda and blood orange syrup. First on the table are a plate of pastries—the selection varies, but be assured it’s excellent. You might find a polenta muffin pretending to be simple, but it’s so darned good—way better than your average cornbread.

The antipasti platter has three selections—eggs Benedict deviled eggs, a mini pizza di pasta and a crostini with a creamy spread. Prosciutto in the deviled eggs adds a roundness to each bite. The savory mini pizza di pasta, crispy on the outside, tender inside and topped with a mound of shredded cheese, would make an excellent main dish in and of itself. But if you tried that trick, you’d miss out on the baked sausage and eggplant—layers and layers of mild, mellow goodness. Chicken and waffles gets an unusual twist with the addition of cacciatore sauce, and the salmon cake Benedict, a Giada signature dish, gives the classic egg dish a nice update. Those choices are sure to present a tough time when you’re ordering your main course.

One of the nicest things about brunch has to be dessert, and Giada really delivers in that category. The fragrant, puffy limoncello soufflé comes with a scoop of buttermilk gelato. And a combination of raspberry and buttermilk gelato creates a gorgeous little bite when sandwiched inside Giada’s celebrated lemon-ricotta cookies. It all adds up to the perfect ending to a late-morning/early afternoon idyll.

Cromwell, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. daily, brunch 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun., lounge 9 a.m.-midnight daily. 855.442.3271