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October 20th, 2010 Ethan Smith | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Caffe Allora: Restaurant Guide 2010

     
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7 am-10 pm daily. $$ Moderate.
[ITALIAN] This midrange Pearl District trattoria can’t quite decide whether it’s a restaurant or a bar, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Through tall, east-facing windows, leafy shadows flicker across a palette of blues and grays. Allora feels pleasantly like the inside of an aquarium: cool, calm and relaxing. It’s a nice place to unwind after work with a highball. Allora’s menu of simply prepared Italian staples—salads, antipasti, salumi, panini, pasta—is full of tempting cocktail accompaniments. At their best, the dishes are triumphs of crisp minimalism, like a carpaccio strewn with capers on bed of greens, or ravioli with sage and butter. But some dishes can sag from simplicity into monotony, like a salad of blanched asparagus on a superfluous nest of flavorless shredded cabbage dressed in a bland cream sauce. Allora’s pastas, however, won’t disappoint. Pomodoro, puttanesca, carbonara—the greatest hits of Italy, all true to form, with fresh, high-quality ingredients. ETHAN SMITH.
Ideal meal: Salumi, salad and a plate of puttanesca, washed down with a glass or three of vino.
Best deal: At lunch, a panino and salad run $10.

 
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