05 August 2009

Seasonal Delights at a West Ashley Favorite

Fresh local figs. Scored and stuffed with gorgonzola butter. Wrapped in pancetta and baked to perfection. Now normally I don't care for figs, but the burst of flavor from the pungent cheese and bite of perfectly crisp pancetta mixed with the sweetness of the fruit itself was enough to convert even the most avid fig-hater. This is just one of many seasonal creations being served up by West Ashley's crown culinary jewel, Al di La. If you've dined with me in Charleston, you've likely been here. It's the first restaurant I recommend for a number of reasons - 1. it's off the beaten path 2. because it's off the beaten path, it's less expensive than your downtown eateries 3. it's locally owned and consistently good 4. I have a serious weakness for Italian food.

The first menu item to sample is decidedly a toss up between divinely simple tomato-basil soup or the house specialty, tomato and shrimp gnocchi, made fresh from ricotta and mascarpone as opposed to typical potato gnocchi. The service has left a little something to be desired the last few times I have been in, and no doubt there is less front-of-house oversight without former owner John Marshall to greet you and your guests. Hostesses seem stressed as the small trattoria bubbles over with patrons. If you're looking for a quick bite, good wine and nice ambiance, the bacaro/wine bar offers a different dining experience including small plates, various meats and cheeses, and wood-fired pizza in a more casual environment(5:30p-until). I have enjoyed the new patio as well, offering outside seating at Al di La for the first time.

If you haven't tried it, you should. Simply put it's "al di la", beyond the beyond. There is not a better Italian restaurant on the peninsula, and I dare say in all of Charleston.


UPDATE: Al di La has announced new Lunch Hours on their facebook page! I have posted the information below. See you there!!

**We would like to announce our new lunch hours of operation. Al di La will officially open for lunch on Wednesday, August 5th at 11:30 am. We will serve Wednesday thru Saturday from 11:30 am - 3 pm.

In addition to the menu, we will serve a baked pasta special of the day and will offer a $7 discount on any bottle of wine during lunch hours.

We hope to see you soon!

PS - Our lunch menu is posted in our 'Photos' section of the Facebook page.**

Al Di La on Urbanspoon

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