Saturday, February 16, 2008

Alberto's Italian Restaurant

Alberto's Italian Restaurant

by Cowgirl Connoisseur

Alberto's Italian Restaurant located at 7171 E Cave Creek Road, in Carefree. This quaint little spot is about to take off to fresh heights with a new wine bar to complement the rich traditional award winning Italian cuisine of Chef/partner Alberto Liani.

Check out the walls on the way to the immaculate restrooms and you will find a collection of wonderful reviews, that only a lifetime of great cooking can accomplish. And this review might as well join all the others because it contains only glowing words of flattery for Alberto's recipes created with only the finest of fresh ingredients. The food was excellent, the service as good as it gets, and the ambiance was warm and inviting and the people especially gracious.

Salvatore greeted us as we arrived and made recommendations from the menu and took our orders. A plate of homemade crusty bread and a dish of fresh olive oil with herbs appeared with an excellent Merlot wine.

Caprese $10.95 for an appetizer satiated our hunger as we awaited spinach ravioli and spaghetti with sausage. The mozzarella was delightfully smokey and fresh, sliced equally to the large vine ripe tomato that seems impossible to find in the produce section these days. Fresh basil must have come from somewhere other than Arizona because mine from the garden has been too bitter when in the hot sun, and this basil was just perfect. And the balsamic had a gentle bite and yummy flavor. The bread, that large holed yeast bread with a hard crust, was delicious too. The menu offers a full array of traditional Italian fare. The Pasta a Fagioli soup $6.95 at the next table looked hearty and the gentleman sipping it says it was delicious.

A special brick oven brought from Italy bakes at super hot temperatures to make a crisp crust and melt the cheeses to bubbling perfection. Over a dozen pizza combinations with an average price of $14.90 makes me wonder why we would ever order a pizza from anywhere else. Fresh hand tossed, created with the magic only a master chef with over 40 years of experience can attain, means each pizza is a masterpiece.

Pasta is all fresh homemade. "Nothing frozen!" says Liani. "That's what makes it taste so good." Simple traditional recipes from Rome where he still maintains a home. "I try to get back to Rome for a little time every year." The Spinach Ravioli (pre-spinach problems) was delicate and flavorful, and only $15.95. For $19.95 the Spaghetti with sausage had a mild spicy flavor and very filling

A wine list with over 200 wines on hand was impressive. Many are imported from Italy but they also carry many fine domestic wines as well.

It would take many trips to this marvelous restaurant to try everything on their varied menu. You could tell many patrons are regular customers, which always bodes well for the quality of the food.

The new wine bar will open this month, and will add yet another dimension to enjoying the ambiance and companionship at Alberto's Italian Restaurant. The restaurant is open 4pm-9pm Tuesday - Sunday, give them a call today at 480-488-5800. Go see Alberto and Sal and say the Cowgirl Connoisseur from Panorama Hills Monthly sent you!

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