Alta Restaurant, NYC

Alta in New York’s West Village is an amazing not-quite-standard-tapas restaurant. Upon entering, you walk past a long bar leading to the dining area where you can pause to enjoy an aperitif while waiting for your table.

The dining area is a two story affair, with the second as an open area looking down. The slightly rustic exposed wood and earth tones throughout make the restaurant inviting and unassuming. It’s a great spot for a hassle-free dinner with friends or for a low-key date. The bar at the front can get crowded, but it seems to be big enough to accommodate a lot of people. The staff are prepared and willing to accommodate everyone from single diners to large crowds who can order everything off the menu in one go.

Pulled Pork Empanadas, sweet & spicy cilantro dipping sauce

Pulled Pork Empanadas, sweet & spicy cilantro dipping sauce

The menu consists entirely of small plates, ideal to share with friends while sipping wine or cocktails–try their fantastic red sangria. The wine list is just as diverse as their menu, with options for wines from around the world. The food is rich, varied and well prepared with a slight Spanish nod (empanadas, olives, dates, sardines) or otherwise European influences (foie gras, gnocchi and panna cotta). The empanadas (Pulled Pork Empanadas, sweet & spicy cilantro dipping sauce) are flavorful and simple, and the gnocchi was amazing (Ricotta Parmesan Gnocchi, tomato & piquillo pepper sauce, pancetta, pesto).

Ricotta Parmesan Gnocchi, tomato & piquillo pepper sauce, pancetta, pesto

Ricotta Parmesan Gnocchi, tomato & piquillo pepper sauce, pancetta, pesto

Highly recommended are the Brussels sprouts (Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Granny Smith Apples, crème fraîche, pistachio nuts) and fingerling potatoes (Salt Baked & Fried Fingerling Potatoes, Foie Gras mousse & Normandy apple vinegar) [I’d post the photo of the potatoes, but the other dishes look more appetizing, these are delicious though.]. The meatballs (Lamb Meatballs, spiced butternut squash foam, toasted sesame seeds and lebne) have a wonderfully complex flavor.

Lamb Meatballs, spiced butternut squash foam, toasted sesame seeds and lebne

Lamb Meatballs, spiced butternut squash foam, toasted sesame seeds and lebne

The plates are brought out not all at once, but in series, allowing you time to nibble and taste without your table filling up with half empty dishes. The meal was unrushed allowing you to linger enjoying your food and wine to your content.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Granny Smith Apples, crème fraîche, pistachio nuts

Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Granny Smith Apples, crème fraîche, pistachio nuts

While the food is delicious enough to want to eat many plates, I’d actually recommend ordering slightly less than you’d think you need to begin with. The turn around on the food is quick enough that if you find yourself still hungry when nearing the end of the meal, you won’t be waiting long if you order something else. And even if you don’t order more, you’ll find yourself wondering when you can make it back again to try one more thing off the menu.

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