Photography provided by Emery

As we exclusively announced in February, Emery has officially made its debut in downtown Minneapolis in the former Hotel Minneapolis space. The 229-room Autograph Collection boutique hotel brings an entirely new vibe to the space, blending history, modernity and lush greenery. Twin Cities foodies will enjoy Giulia, the contemporary Italian eatery serving up a curated menu of pasta, pizza and the like. The restaurant is backed by some serious chef power, being inspired by frequent James Beard semifinalist/nominee Steven Brown (of acclaimed eateries Tilia and St. Genevieve) and overseen by Josh Hedquist (previously of Spasso and Copper Hen).

The kitchen team has kept the menu of Northern Italian cuisine purposely brief to ensure that each dish is thoughtfully executed. A prime example? The delicate housemade agnolotti with venison sugo, sage butter and Parmesan (oh, and did we mention the venison is from Wisconsin?). The wood-fired pizzas, meanwhile, feature crispy yet slightly chewy crusts of the perfect thickness with toppings like casalingo, rapini, burrata and smoked ricotta. For dessert, the panna cotta with blueberries, rosemary meringue and edible borage flowers is not to be missed. And the bar program definitely holds its own, with a full list of negronis and other inventive cocktails. My favorite was the Mistaken Identity, a low-proof negroni made with sparkling rosé.

But the showstopper at Giulia is most certainly the tableside mozzarella pulling, dubbed Mozzarella a Mano. To kick off dinner, a cart is wheeled over to your table, where fresh curds become sheeny, mouthwatering cheese right before your very eyes. You can choose from a variety of accompaniments, including a delightful tapenade; marinated peppers; speck and rucola; and of course sweet tomatoes, basil and balsamic. My suggestion: Opt for the super mozz, which includes all of the above.

Giulia is a welcome addition to the downtown Minneapolis dining scene and a prime example of what a hotel restaurant should be. It will have locals stopping by on the regular. The inspired design welcomes you in and invites you to stay awhile, while the fare transports you to Northern Italy.