248 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11215
at Carroll St.
By marieviljoen on 4/9/2003
I go back. Again, and again and again. Husband and wife Emiliano and Anna have run a kitchen and restaurant that have not failed to make me groan with pleasure in the three and a half years I've been eating there. Their winter salad greens are dressed impeccably. The pan-roasted, crusty-brown potatoes with the pork and prosciutto saltimbocca lure me like a siren song. When I need comfort I head for their glass fronted corner refuge and order lemon chicken, chargrilled, resting as always on the shaved fennel and parsley salad. It's hard not to lean on the favourites, but the menu changes daily, and new temptations (slow-simmered beef-cheeks in red wine sauce) make mouths water as they are described by the waitstaff, whose faces have become as welcome and familar as the hand-made tortelli stuffed with dandelion greens.There is a light touch here, a delicate mastery of ingredient-based seasonal cooking. The wine list is both informative and representative of Italian wine-making and wine styles. Desserts are restrained and delicious.You won't have to raffle your chicken-soup-making grandma to foot the bill.
By Kristen113 on 7/21/2003
The restaurant is a wonderful little secret in the up and coming Park Slope area. Al Di La is located on Carol Street and 5th Avenue. Chef Anna Klinger, who studied in Italy, serves Northern Italian Cuisine. The menu is small, but serves a brilliant array of dishes from homemade pastas such as poppy-seeded sweet beet ravioli to braised rabbit with thyme and olive gravy. Aside from the regular primi and secondi the restaurant has daily specials. In addition, Al Di La has a fantastic dessert selection, including fabulous sorbets and ice creams that are made on the restaurant’s premises. Although small, the wine list is quite impressive offering rare findings at reasonable prices. The mix matched china and the original tin ceiling add charm to this simple, but exquisite gem. With reasonable prices ranging from $5 to $9 appetizers and $12 to $19 entrees, you wouldn’t be surprised that this restaurant was standing room only at 6:30 pm on a Wednesday night. Get there early because reservations are not currently taken. If you are too late you can have a drink at the bar on the next street while you wait for an opening. Mastercard and Visa only.
By Abbey on 6/7/2004
What a lovely experience. We went not expecting much but were overwhelmed by the delectable simplicity of the food. We savored our tortellini and asparagus appetizers. I got lost in the special pork ribs (marinated for days with the meat falling off the bones) and the liver was wonderful. Don't forget the desert, and please please order the apricot crostini - a slice of heaven really. Nothing pretentious about the place. Service was okay, not great, but the food made up for it. What a great rustic Italian experience with not a large bill to show for it. This is a place we will return to frequently.
By fungoh on 3/8/2005
This place reminded me of Italy. Entrees were sensibly portioned, extremely tasty, and 'flavor' and fresh ingredients jump out. I did not recall a bad dish. I still have lingering memories of their exquisite ricotta tart; light and refined. Go early! avoid the crowds. TT
By brooklynliz on 5/1/2005
The food was wonderfully rich Italian. I shared a lovely pasta dish, and a disappointing (too much bone) chicken. Our side dishes were great and for some reason, the butter (for the bread) was particularly memorable. I was highly satisfied. My only complaint is that we waited 45 to an hour on a week night, which I suspect was a mistake. Luckily, the restaurant has a wine bar which made the time worthwhile. (On a side note, the wine staff was highly knowledgeable and the selection broad, although on the night we were there the bar smelled like paint or some other toxin. I hope that was a one night problem.)
By edere on 8/25/2005
You have to wait. No reservations. Unless you arrive a little on the early side. Brooklyn - so you can park. Dinner for three. Veal - perfectly done. Pastas - gnocchi for real. If you only like your granma from Palermos thick red suace - this is not for you. But if you have managed to return to Italy so see where we came from then this is the closest it gets. Excellent value - no pretense. Decor - in good weather, eat outside. You'll think you're in Campania. It's a place that makes you feel happy when you eat. Under $50 for several courses and dessert - three people.
By sailorgirl on 9/26/2006
...But I may as well because I've turned about 30 people onto Al Di La since I moved to NYC seven years ago. Obviously food critics rave about the top-notch cooking but Al Di La also has a casually elegant vibe and is surprisingly inexpensive. Service is always that rare balance of laid back and totally on-point. Good for everything from date to parental brunch to solo-dining-at-stainless-steel-bar-downstairs. Nowhere like it in the city. Note they don't take reservations so best to get there within an hour of opening (which is usually the 6pm range).
By FatBastard on 12/8/2007
Unless you arrive right when the restaurant opens, expect to wait for a table on weekends -- best done in the downstairs wine bar with a bowl of olives. The dining room is cozy which doesn't lend a feeling of being any more intimate with your dining companions than with the people to your left or right. However, the menu is full of solid Italian interpretations with fresh ingredients. The kitchen does a fine job with risotto in particular. I'm not well-versed in Italian wines, but the waitstaff seems to be fairly consistent and decently knowledgeable. In all, a gem in Brooklyn for the patient or early diners that stands up to many of Manhattan's Italian mainstays without the same price shock.
By theslopeisdope on 3/19/2008
Excellent food and service in a really charming room. The prices are lower than I think they could charge and hope they leave them that way. You pay half of what you could at Il Bucco in Manhattan for food that rivals and probably surpasses it. My girlfriend and I ate there late one night and ended up being the last table there before ordering our dessert and never were pressured to hurry up. One minor complaint. When we arrived there was no one ahead of us and one table for two free. We were told to wait in their wine bar around the corner and they would call us up when a table was ready. Twenty minutes later we were called up and sat at the same table that was free earlier. It felt like they were trying to extract an extra drink purchase out of us by seating us at the bar first rather than just seating us right away...an old, and not cool restaurant trick. The commenter below who compares al di la to Aunt Suzie's is out of their mind or off their meds. No comparison at all.
By rpcvhaiti on 12/19/2008
Friendly place with excellent food. If this place were in Soho or the Village, the food rating might be considered merely good-very good, but only because the prices would be 1.5-2.0x+ the cost (without exaggeration). Think Perilla, Blue Hill, etc. (food may be perhaps a shade simpler...but no less good). If I had to find fault, it would be in the winelist. OK, but not great (though the price points are a good match for the food prices).