Gio’s Italian Kitchen

Gio’s Italian Kitchen

10008 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island, SC, • (843) 237-8245

This Italian café serves up traditional and modern dishes in a clean, contemporary space. Whether you’re in the mood for a Neopolitan-style pizza or a five-course feast, Gios is a great option for a fresh family-style Italian dinner.

Let’s start with the pizzas, which are cooked at 600 degrees on their brick deck oven. The list features standards like the Margherita and White Pizzas, but is also packed with original combinations like the French Connection (olive oil base, fig Dijon jam, brie, mozzarella, shaved ham), Forest Pizza (olive oil base, wild Portobello and button mushrooms, herbed goat cheese, mixed greens), and Gio’s Fave (tomato base, hot sopressata, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, spicy olive oil, parsley). Pizzas are available in Large or Individual sizes, and can also be made into Calzones and Strombolis.

The traditional Italian custom is to enjoy dinner over several smaller courses, and that’s definitely an option at Gio’s. The menu is divided up into the proper categories – Antipasti (“before the meal”), Ensalada (salad), Primi (first), Secondi (second), and Dolci (sweet).

Antipasti options include the Cutting Board (a choice of balsamic cows milk, triple crème brie, Asiago, smoked gouda, hot or sweet sopressata, and Di Parma prosciutto) Fried Calamari, Baby Beet Salad, Fried Mozzarella, Prosciutto and Melon, and Little Neck Clams.

For Ensaladas, guests can choose from a Fork & Knife Caesar, Mixed Greens, Mediterranean, Arugula and Heirloom Tomato, or the Crunchy Gorgonzola (shallots, celery, carrots, glazed walnuts, pears, cranberries).

The Primi list includes dishes like Meatball and Sausage over fresh linguini, Broccolini with Pancetta, Formagio Sacchetti (purse raviolis, four cheese blend), and the pork, beef, and veal Bolognese over fettucini.   

For the non-Italian diner, the Secondi portion of the menu is where things will become more familiar – Eggplant Parmesan, Chicken Marsala, 12oz New York Strip, a 14oz Veal Chop. Other options in this category include Seared Scallops Pomodoro over Quinoa, Seared Red Snapper with Sicilian caponata, and Mare e Monte, a 6oz New York Strip with scallop and lobster pomodoro.

The theme in the dining room revolves around contemporary elegance without the stuffiness, with black linens on the tables, exposed brick, and abstract paintings on the walls. Out back there’s a covered patio where Gio’s frequently hosts live music, which can make for a livelier dinner vibe. They also do a happy hour at the bar, and because the locals love this little slice of Italy, it can get pretty crowded.