It doesn’t seem so very long ago when a crew of us would pile into the side room at Alforno with a bunch of kids and wreak a bit of havoc while happily chomping on Neapolitan pies. There were few places with decent food that would welcome a large group (where the kid/parent ratio was generally even), and it made for a fun night out with wee ones. I believe they saved that room for people like us. You definitely didn’t want to eat in Siberia on date night.
Now, all that’s changed. The second generation of Zemmels had the brilliant idea for a top-to-toe renovation of the side room, installing a bar and high-top tables plus a couple of flat screens. Joe and I went over early on a Saturday night to see what the buzz was all about. The place was packed at 5:30 (!), so we snagged the last two seats at the bar. For me, it’s all about the pizza, their classic margarita pie with a nice ratio of chewy to crisp crust, light sauce and fresh mozzarella; it remains one of the best pies on the Shoreline. We started there, but continued on to Chicken Marsala (minus the side of spaghetti and doubled up on spinach, after our carb fest), and ended happily with a fantastic homemade shortcake studded with local strawberries.
The vibe is busy and fun; we chatted with our neighbors about our choices, and congratulated ourselves on our timing as the line for bar tables snaked out to the main dining room. Me, I’m not keen on TV’s in a restaurant, but this is after all, a bar, and my husband was practically giddy about it (I’m a talker; he’s not). I’m sure I’ll have no trouble dragging him out for pizza during the World Cup!
Alforno Trattoria.Bar.Pizza 1654 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook