Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana

Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana

Gemma. A sort of diminutive that resonates, trips and makes our tongues dance with its delicious Italian sounds We could make a song with it. A hymn to the generous food della mamma, accompanied by the crossover rhymes, ode to the burrata, straciatella, buffala, salsiccia, friarelli and other diavola. Karine Duprez and Giovanni Guida decided to make Gemma into a restaurant. Un caffè italiano where you can snuggle up together as a family or with friends on a bench and share a pizza, like they do Naples. Because that’s well and truly the heart of Gemma. The one towards which the very particular essence of this place gravitates, enhanced by the imposing presence of a traditionally-made oven by the Italian artisan Stefano Ferrara. Giovanni has left his memories to speak for him for this 6th opening. Holidays on Capri, the Mediterranean and its very characteristic shade of blue that has obsessed so many, including the master Gio Ponti. Paris seems to be a distant memory, for the time it takes to enjoy an aperitivo. As if catapulted from the Amalfi coast in the fifties, we rediscover the pleasure of nibbling the stuzzicchini in a place whose only ambition is to delight our palates. Gemma, you enter, you live, you enjoy and you embrace. Over a cocktail, dreaming of the island of Procida. The tomatoes here taste of sunshine and even the smiles are fatti in casa.

Gemma, 63 rue Traversière – 75012 Paris . Open: every day except Monday. Times: noon – 3 pm / 7 – 11 pm

Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana

Giovanni, Karine, can you tell us about your background in restaurants?

Karine

When we met in 2000, Giovanni was a waiter. He had just arrived in Paris, and I was a press officer for Delabel. We lived on the Saint-Martin Canal, and we both wanted to open a little Italian restaurant in the neighbourhood. We combined our talents and our different experiences to open our first place, La Madonnina, in 2001. It was like having your first baby – but then Bianca arrived soon after, and she’s now 15! After that, we opened one restaurant after another. Each time, it was like embarking on another big adventure. In 2006, the Maria Luisa opened at the corner of the Rue Marie et Louise, and today it’s become an institution in its own right. In 2013, Maria Luisa set up on the Left Bank (across the river!) The names were reversed, and Luisa Maria appeared in the heart of Saint-Germain-des Près not forgetting La Briciola in 2009 and L’Altra in 2012.

What is the concept, the idea behind Gemma?

Karine

An Italian café bar, where you can simply sip a drink on the terrace. A long bar where you can enjoy Italian cocktails while ordering stuzzicchini (Italian tapas) and comfortable benches where you can sit down at a table with friends or family and enjoy a pizza cooked in a traditional, Neapolitan oven – just like in Naples.

Why did you choose the name?

Karine

Gemma is an old, Italian name. When Giovanni was little, he often used to go to Capri for his holidays. As a family, they’d go and eat at Gemma, the island’s best pizzeria, a true institution on Capri.

Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana

Gemma is a childhood memory that reminds me of southern Italy and my holidays on Capri.

Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez

Does the new restaurant have anything in common with your other properties?

Karine

The recipe for the pizza dough. Here, it is created with love in the purest Neapolitan tradition, with a spicy tomato sauce. We have chosen to work with high-quality produce that is imported from Italy.

How did you design the interior of your restaurant?

Karine

Built around a traditional pizza oven, built by Stefano Ferrara, who is an artisanal Neapolitan manufacturer whose knowledge has been handed down through the generations. It was a unique experience. The result is stunning. This oven is the heart of Gemma. We chose to have it covered with a matte black Italian mosaic. For the dining hall, we wanted to create a space that would reflect our personalities: good taste, stylish, but not over the top. For that reason we’ve included luxurious, traditional materials including marble, brass, wood, ceramics, and terrazzo. Gemma is a traditional Italian place of the kind you would have found on the Amalfi coast in the fifties. It’s not a fashionable destination, but a timeless place. Giovanni was crazy about the colour blue, which is the colour of the Mediterranean and the coast that he loves so much. The bar is therefore covered in tiling by Gio Ponti, the same Italian architect who designed the specatacular Parco dei Principi Hotel in Sorrento. It is a fresh take on the styles of the 50s, and is to die for. Giovanni is a passionate bargain hunter. So he was the one who unearthed the bases for the tables, as well as the dental furniture, the large opaline pendant lamps, the Baumann chairs, the benches, the stools, and so on.

Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez

What are the house specialities – the absolute must-try dishes at Gemma?

Karine

All our Gennaro pizzas, which are prepared with absolute adherence to Neapolitan tradition with produce that’s Made in Italy (burrata, straciatella, buffala, salsiccia, friarelli, diavola – the list goes on). Not to forget the lasagna, cannelloni, parmigiana di melanzane “fatti in casa.” With the sweets, panna cottà and tiramisu, of course.

Who is the target customer for Gemma?

Karine

Anyone who loves good, fresh produce, simply cooked, like mamma used to make. Anyone who wants to drink a cocktail while nibbling on stuzzichini without necessarily going out into a bar. Anyone who wants to go out for lunch or dinner as a family: pizza is always something we can all agree on.

What does Italy mean to you?

Karine

The Amalfi Coast, which is uniquely beautiful with all those wonderful villages like Positano, Sorrento, Amalfi and Ravello. The islands of Capri and Procida. Naples, obviously. The music of Adriano Celentano and Lucio Battisti. Creamy mozzarella di Buffala, tomatoes that smell like the sun. The scent of Mamma’s pasta that permeates throughout the house. Italy is all about La Dolce Vita!

Pizzeria Café italien Gemma Paris Portrait Giovanni Guida Karine Duprez
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana
Gemma, La Dolce Vita and Pizza Napoletana

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