Ghinis French Caffe’: A Dining Reviewby Jim Gressinger on May. 07, 2013, under Restaurant Reviews
So many customers and restaurant critics have praised Ghinis French Caffe’ that we had to check it out. So one Sunday morning a few weeks ago we stopped in for brunch.
The first impression is straight-forward. Ghinis is located in a typical Tucson strip mall. The second impression is that Ghinis patio diners have a lovely view of the busy parking lot. The delightful aroma of gasoline fumes is apparently complimentary.
But once inside, everything changes … and not necessarily for the better. A pathetic little crystal chandelier with two failed bulbs hangs from a ‘70’s-style acoustical tile ceiling. With tables and chairs that appear to have come from a thrift store, this place had all the ambiance of an old high school cafeteria. Whatever else Ghinis is doing, they’re not plowing their profits back into interior decorating.
Ghinis advertises their “Frenchness”. I’ve dined in a few real French restaurants and Ghinis just does not evoke “French”, unless … unless, they’re hiding it in their food.
Sunday brunch is obviously a busy time for Ghinis, but we were seated fairly quickly. A waitress, who did not bother to introduce herself, took our drink orders. I inquired as to the proper pronunciation of the restaurant’s name. “It’s Italian, so it’s pronounced “Ghini” as in Lombro-GINI,” came her quick answer … as if everyone asks the same stupid question.
Ms. Karen ordered crepes. And a $5 Bloody Mary. Neighbor Roy ordered French onion soup. It’s been a couple of weeks and I can’t recall what I had. Whatever it was left no impression one way or another. The crepes were light and thin, topped with butter and powdered sugar. Ms. Karen pronounced them “OK”. And the Bloody Mary? “Very good!”
I inquired as to Neighbor Roy’s French onion soup. It took a while to get an answer. But once he finished licking the bowl and came up for air, he declared the soup “Excellent!”
I placed my credit card on the corner of our table and waited for our waitress to take it and return with the receipt. But when she brought the bill, she informed me that I had to stand in line and pay at the cash register. I started to say that if I didn’t want service I would have made breakfast at home, but didn’t.
It was obvious that many of the diners that morning were regulars. And I am certain that if we spoke with them they would regale us with exquisite descriptions of their favorite Ghinis dishes and French bakery goods. But for us, Ghinis evoked about as much “Frenchness” as an IHOP.
For our List of the Best Southern Arizona Restaurants (by cuisine), click HERE. If we had felt that we had experienced a French caffe’, Ghinis would be on the List.