11 East 53rd Street, New York, NY | Directions 1002240.760056 -73.974965
Mon-Fri 12pm-2:15pm, 5:30pm-10pm
Neighborhoods: Midtown Center, Midtown
Went to Alto for a nice dinner a couple weeks back, and it was just that: nice. At these prices, the food had better damn well be excellent, and it just met my expectations. Like a lot of fancy restaurants, the appetizers were far better than the entrees so I highly recommend spending your $$ on a few appetizers and choosing the less pricey main dishes.
The service was spot on -- attentive but not fussy.
Delicioso! – Aqui va un comentario en Espa?ol sobre Alto: Reservamos para llevar a nuestro jefe que visito NY en las ultimas semanas y es muy exigente con la comida y fue una buena experiencia en general. Pagamos CARO (los vinos son costosos...) pero el servicio fue excelente y la comida muy recomendada. Los que ordenamos lamb o veal tuvimos mucha mejor suerte que los que ordenaron pasta. Dos puntos en contra: no me mato el fois grass y el postre que nos recomendaron parecian simples donitas rellenas que deslucian la comida. Sin embargo, al final nos dieron unos muffins para llevar y unos postrecitos muy ricos.
Michael White's take on the cuisine of northern Italy is marked by luxe ingredients, refined technique, and a big wine list. – Tucked under a deep awning, Alto feels like a secret sanctuary. Countless wine bottles, encased behind blue glass, line the windowless dining room; a backdrop to the zealous servers deciphering the high-minded menu. Chef Michael White's tribute to northern Italy is as forceful and accomplished as its southern cousin, Convivio. White's food is the product of a union of Italian elements, mixed with modern restaurant technique and an appetite for big flavors and textures. As at Convivio, the pastas threaten to steal the show, but here you would be well advised to save room for entrees, like escolar bagna cauda or a veal chop in pancetta cream sauce, that could enervate a decathlete.
wait no more please!!! – I refuse to wait another minute to seat down!!! despite res. I had to wait what seems for ever to seat down to a not impressive, yet average meal...whatever happened with chef Scott Conant??? it was great then, it is simply awful now....please avoid the trip and delay, sounds just like a bad flight!!
Great pasta, average entrees. – I've been here both for lunch and for dinner and in each case have been far more impressed by the appetizers and the pasta than by the entrees. The veal agnolotti in particular stands out. It has been outstanding in each of the sauces in which I have eaten it. The entrees, however, have been a bit underwhelming. The seafood is high quality, but the preparations are very ordinary--in essence it is a good piece of fish served relatively plain. I can do that at home or get it any number of other places. I had hoped for something either more distinctly Italian or something more creative. The prix fixe does not offer good value; I would instead have an appetizer (or a half-portion of pasta as an appetizer) and a pasta and skip the entree altogether.
Service has been good every time I have been there, and the wine list (more of a wine book) is impressive, if perhaps a bit over the top. It does helpfully have a briefer section containing recommended selections; for all but the most avid wine consumers I think the briefer summary is more than ample. I like the ambiance as well, particularly in the smaller, quieter sections of the restaurant.
Food wonderful – I went for my birthday with my husband. It is not the most romantic place I have ever been but it is nice. I had the veal and fontina agnolotti and the flavor was amazing! My husband likes the traditional and he ordered the spaghetti. It was a fresh and great dish and he loved it. For dessert we ordered the chocolate ganache and brioche. Great way to finish my birthday dinner.
Just Ok.. – Went there last evening for dinner. Very stuffy and conservative and the atmosphere was formal and cold. The maitre'd was very friendly and I appreciated the gardenia. The head waiter was a bit rude and rushed. The selection of foods was very good and varied. I loved the grilled pumpkin with chestnuts appetizer. For the pasta course, i had the papardelle with lamb, which was a tad bit salty but still delicious. The main course was the only real sore spot. My lamb loin was tasteless as was the venison. An all around boring preparation. The fish dishes looked better but i didn't try them. The desserts were good, but again, nothing to die for. After all the good reviews, it was just ok. I wouldn't go back.
Arrogant, Rude, Overpriced – I work at a law firm and this summer we took many recruits to various top restuarants in mid-town and this place was the worst. Our waiter was condescending. One of us ordered the soft-shell crab, which you could finish in two bites but costs a fortune. The waiter noticed our shock at how small the portions were and rudely commented whether we wanted more bread to soak up the juice from the plates. There are much better restaurants in the area without the arrogance.
Alto is fantastic! – I've tried Del Posto and the other "big" Italian places in Manhattan, but Alto is a cut above and really impressed me. It's innovative, sophisticated and doesn't stick to that rustic, Southern Italian schtick that the others do (Babbo etc.). The prix-fixe tasting menu is a bargain when you consider the quality and level of food you get. If you're a serious foodie, this place is worth checking out.
All-around delicious food – I was taken here by some friends for a lunch and was pleasantly surprised by the restaurant. We all ordered the lunchtime prix fixe menu and it was a terrific value, so terrific in fact that we could reasonably afford the wine pairings. We'd heard very good things about the mushroom appetizer and it was great - the mushrooms placed on top of a small portion of creamy polenta - it was one of the better apps I've had over the last few months. I ordered the roast chicken as an entree, not expecting much from it, since it's "just" chicken, but it turned out to be perfectly cooked and moist. One other note, be sure to try the pretzel bread - a nice twist on the usual dinner roll or sourdough bread you get at a restaurant.
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