Il Giallo: Simple Italian pleasure in Sandy Springs

Il Giallo Osteria and Bar

Overall rating: 1 of 4 stars

Food: Italian

Service: warm, yet inconsistent

Best dishes: agnolotti, whole roasted fish, beet salad

Vegetarian selections: pastas and salads

Price range: $$-$$$

Credit cards: all major credit cards

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 5-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 5-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Children: family-friendly

Parking: ample lot parking and valet

Reservations: available on Opentable

Wheelchair access: yes

Smoking: no

Noise level: pleasant

Patio: no

Takeout: yes

Address, phone: 5920 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. 404-709-2148


The dining room at Il Giallo Osteria and Bar is a particularly pleasant one. The ceiling is high and the room is filled with light from a curious collection of fixtures — some round, some cylindrical, none too bright or too dim.

There is an oddly misshapen illustration of Italy on one wall, but, rather than distract, the askew map gives the room a homespun touch.

The times I’ve visited, the room has never felt empty or full. There are always people there, but there’s always a place to sit. There’s a bit of canned music and some chatter, but you never have to raise your voice to speak.

When you sit down, you’ll be given a few pieces of airy, rosemary-flecked focaccia wrapped in a napkin and a plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You’ll do best with a simple salad of beets and greens, a plate of pasta and a glass of wine. If Il Giallo is starting to sound like a nice neighborhood Italian joint, you’ve got the right idea.

After the long-running Veni Vidi Vici closed in Midtown last year, chef Jamie Adams and manager Leonardo Moura quickly decamped to Sandy Springs and opened Il Giallo in November.

The centerpiece of Il Giallo, both in concept and practice, is the pasta. Much of the restaurant has a good view of the kitchen pass, where long stretches of dough are rolled and cut into fresh pasta throughout service.

The agnolotti is nice and filling. It’s plump, full of roasted duck and served in a simple brown butter sage sauce studded with chopped pecans. I was expecting the duck to deliver a punch of flavor, but the effect is mild, a simple, savory, buttery pocket of al dente pasta.

At lunch, the menu offers pappardelle with Georgia shrimp and mushrooms. The dish is served with a generous pile of thick pappardelle and a scarcity of shrimp. Black trumpet mushrooms and chanterelles make up, at least in part, for the lack of shrimp.

The pickled beet salad is a balancing act. The dandelion greens served with it are tough and bitter, but the hunks of beet are sweet and soft. A few paper-thin flakes of ricotta salata are served on top, but add little to that bittersweet flavor.

A good splurge might be the whole roasted fish. The night I ordered it, the swimmer was a snapper, dressed in a light sauce of capers, olive oil and lemon, roasted to simple, moist perfection. Priced at $29 a pound, this can be a rather expensive dish, though it easily should feed two.

While the service is genuinely warm, missteps were common. One night, two dishes ordered by our table were forgotten entirely. One never showed up, and the other, when the server was reminded of it, came out in rush-job shambles.

Attempts at finer touches can disappoint, too. A $14 cheese plate was delivered refrigerator-cold by a runner who seemed never to have been trained as to what he was serving. When I asked which cheese was which, he thought for a minute and said, “Well, I know that one is blue.” When a bill can run as high as at Il Giallo, a well-trained, sophisticated staff does not seem too much to ask.

Despite that, don’t skip dessert. Order the bomboloni and you will be glad you did. A plate will arrive with a half-dozen dark golden brown doughnuts, as airy as any beignet you’ve ever tasted, but stuffed with creamy ricotta that seems to be as light as the dough. The plate comes with honey-striped whipped cream for you to dunk each bite in. This is one dish at Il Giallo you would not want to miss.

Take a look at what to expect if you visit Il Gialllo

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Food

If you only eat three meals in Miami, make sure they're here 
If you only eat three meals in Miami, make sure they're here 

Celebrated for its glitz and glamour, Art Deco architecture and palm trees swaying near the turquoise Atlantic, Miami Beach's South Beach neighborhood draws swarms of visitors each year. A melting pot of cultures - Latin American, Caribbean, European - shapes its vibrant dining scene. One can find pretty much everything, including strong and sugary...
First Look: Muchacho brings coffee and ‘California cuisine’ to Reynoldstown
First Look: Muchacho brings coffee and ‘California cuisine’ to Reynoldstown

Muchacho Tacos (from left to right) Breakfast, Short Rib Barbacoa, Al Pastor, and Mole Grilled Pineapple. Photo credit- Mia Yakel. When Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall owner Michael Lennox opened Muchacho on Oct. 16, it was already a hot topic on the Atlanta dining scene. Serving up coffee and...
Get ready to chow down, Midtown — Tech Square is getting a ‘chef-driven’ food hall
Get ready to chow down, Midtown — Tech Square is getting a ‘chef-driven’ food hall

A rendering of Coda. / Contributed If you’ve been looking for more dining options in Midtown, we’ve got good news and bad news. The good news: The Collective is set to open as part of the Coda mixed-use development at 771 Spring St. The project will include eight to 10 “chef-driven, unique...
Make these scary good sweet treats for your Halloween party
Make these scary good sweet treats for your Halloween party

Pumpkin Phatty Cakes / AJC file photo Are you going to a Halloween party this year — or even hosting one? Make sure guests are in for more treat than trick with these spooky delicious recipes. Pumpkin Phatty Cakes These treats, made from a recipe from former Cakes & Ale pastry chef Cynthia Wong, have the scrumptious autumn touch...
Buy This: 3 olive products you need in your pantry
Buy This: 3 olive products you need in your pantry

Olive oil, olive juice.Try at least one of each. Alta Cucina Italia Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil Adriana Coppola grew up in a small town near Naples, Italy. Since moving to John’s Creek, she’s created Alta Cucina Italia, a line of artisan condiments and sauces that remind her of the flavors of home. Among her many offerings...
More Stories