July 31, 2011

My Perfect Italian Wine Bar

What makes a neighborhood wine bar perfect? Is it the ambiance, the service, the wine, or the food? I am not sure, perhaps it is a balance of these aspects. But, I think I have found my perfect, Italian wine bar.

Located on Carroll Street between 4th and 5th Avenues in Brooklyn is Al Di La Vino. Downstairs for the main trattoria, the wine bar is small, rustic, and romantic. It has simple decor, a relaxed atmosphere, and very good service. And more importantly, it has excellent wine and food.

Before leaving for Brooklyn, I had asked for local wine bar recommendations on Twitter and the author of the Brooklyn Nomad blog suggested this location. (He also suggested a lovely cafe called The Chocolate Room, but more about that at another time.)

When we first walked by Al Di La Vino I thought it was the cutest looking little restaurant. Then I read the name on the yellow awning and realized it was on my list of recommended restaurants - yes, it was the perfect place to go for dinner.

Al Di La Vino is below and around the corner from a larger restaurant, Al Di La Trattoria. Jonathan and I arrived fairly early in the evening but there were already a few people sitting at the bar. We sat down and each ordered a glass of wine and some water and began to peruse the menu. They serve classic - and delicious sounding - Italian fare.

So, what did we eat? I started with a zucchini salad and then had spaghetti with clams; Jonathan had the tripe stew and then risotto. The salad was light and refreshing - thin strips of zucchini with mint, parmesan cheese, and a light dressing. It ideal for a warm summer evening. My spaghetti and clams also delicious! The pasta was cooked so that it was perfectly al dente and dressed in olive oil, white wine, garlic, chili flakes, and parsley. Jonathan enjoyed his tripe stew so much he finished the entire bowl, savoring each bite. The risotto contained cuttlefish, staining the rice black with it’s ink. The flavor was briny and reminiscent of the sea, but a little intense for me. However, it was creamy and perfectly cooked. And, of course, everything paired wonderfully with the wines we tried.

The thing I loved about Al Di La Vino is the fact that it was a perfect balance of romantic ambiance, laid back atmosphere, excellent food and wine, and good service. It is a lovely place to go and enjoy a wonderful meal and relax after a day of work - or exploring the city.


Andrew said...

So glad to see you stopped in and had a great experience!

Jessica said...

Thanks again for the recommendation!

Rambling Tart said...

That zucchini salad with mint sounds absolutely wonderful! :-)