People amidst a small busy port coming and going, sipping apéritifs, meeting friends, and betrothed in fast paced conversation set the picturesque views of the shoreline in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy. Locals and visitors alike go into the chic boutiques, watch the yachts dock at the marina near the heart of the city, while others deliberate where they are going to eat. Asking, “where is a good place to eat?” is very much a part of the average vacation experience. No doubt, visitor after visitor is given directions to Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo, across from the marina in Santa Margherita Ligure. What the natives know is that the tourists will be thrilled with whatever Chef Salvatore is cooking up.
Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo also referred to as Da Alfredo, is managed by the chef, Signor Salvatore and his wife Adelina. Salvatore, the embodiment of our American treasure, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, welcomes guests with an enthusiastic spirit and smiling hospitality. Chef Salvatore’s English is limited, but his over the top facial expressions, dramatic hand gestures, and lively games of point and look are enough to fill in the blanks in any conversation. So like having a holiday meal in the home of your favorite loving cousin, the Da Alfredo atmosphere is very much an extension of the endearing personality of Chef Salvatore.
For a unique point of view, ask for a table near a window, facing the kitchen, or on the outside patio. Seating at a table near a window allows diners to stay in touch with the vibes of the outdoors where a parade might go by, or get a view of the port and the beautiful blue water of the Gulf of Tiguillo. Some fortunate guests seated facing the open kitchen enjoy watching Chef Salvatore and his team deboning fish that was live only moments earlier, preparing handmade pasta, ladling fresh sauces, and carefully plating meals. The aromas of each dish carried by a waiter causes diners’ eyes and nostrils to follow it to the table where it is eagerly anticipated.
Salvatore and his team prepare authentic Ligurian cuisine procured from locally grown produce and the open waters of the gulf. The menu is divided into Antipasti salads, Primi pastas, Secondi seafood, meat selections, and Le Pizze. Plates with large prawns that glisten in herb infused white wine sauce accompanied by capers leave the onlooker inhaling to catch the aroma. International options such as sirloin steak and Schnitzel are available for patrons with taste buds that want to be reminded of home.
Overwhelmed by the tempting choices, I couldn’t make up my mind as to what to order, but Fabio, my waiter said, “If you like pasta and you eat meat, I suggest you go with the gnocchi with pesto and the smothered steak with capers.” The two suggestions just seemed too rich for a cool spring evening, so I told him, “I will keep looking and think about it.” However, Fabio was adamant. When he came to take my order, a question was never posed. He simply looked towards me and said, “So for you, the gnocchi with pesto and the smothered steak with capers.” That was it. To my surprise, I could have eaten endless plates of them both, especially the pesto and gnocchi. It was the fluffiest-lightest gnocchi I had ever had the pleasure of biting into. I kept thinking, “If I eat all of this, I will not feel well tomorrow.” The only feeling I had the next day was the pleasure of a wonderful memory. Moral of this story is, if the waiter or chef gives you a strong recommendation, go with it.
Very often I skip dessert, but I was in a quaint ristorante on the Italian Riviera, I smiled to myself and said, “La Dolce Vita,” meaning live the good life. The dessert list read, apple pie, fruit salad, Italian gelato, panna cotta, tiramisu. My decision was clear, authentic tiramisu for me, please. The texture was much creamier and richer than any I had previously experienced. The ladyfingers played more of a supporting role as compared to the bold predominant feature it plays as in the American dessert. The small portion was more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and enough to give me a new expectation for future tiramisu. I paired this moment of good life with a sample of prosecco and campari.
Plan your dream trip to dine at Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo where Signor Salvatore and his staff are always cooking up the best of Italian and International cuisine. Then while you are in the magnificent city of Santa Margherita Ligure, ask the locals, “What sites do you recommend I see?”
~ By Kaylah Burks, an athlete, who enjoys traveling the world while staying health conscious. Follow her on Instagram @jadenlie
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