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Though located just north of Chinatown, this section of the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood could still use some additional restaurants. Enter Alba Osteria. Open just two months, Executive Chef Robert Donna’s spot is pretty good, so let’s hope this one stays around and doesn’t go the route of Galileo III. Named after the town of Alba from Donna’s home region of Piemonte, Italy the restaurant highlights house-made pastas, Neapolitan pizzas, and a variety of daily specials displayed in “Italian sized” portions for you to share.

The goods

  • The service: A friendly, attentive hostess is a must for me. I was greeted quickly and with a smile upon my arrival at Alba.
  • The bar area: In a way, the bar seems almost central here, and the drinks stand out. I recommend the L’Akba: Kiwi infused vodka, St. Germaine, orange and pineapple juice topped with a splash of prosecco, and the Il Tricolore: White wine, St. Germaine and mixed fruit, though with all the ice in the drink it was difficult to get to the actual fruit at the bottom. I guess my uh, sophisticated palate, is into color…
  • The happy hour deals: Wow. Draught beers and fusion shot specials for just $4, plus house cocktails and draught wines for $5 Monday-Friday from 4-7pm. Hungry? You’ll receive a complimentary serving of mortadella. For five more bucks you can order batsoa, a dish that features the leg meat from veal, pork or beef, our Capunet, stuffed cabbage leaves. Neapolitan pizza baked in the Ferrara wood-fired oven from Naples is 50% off during happy hour.
  • The size: small plates, large plates. You have your pick. I suggest you start with a creamy chicken soup — it’s simple, yet different. The fries are fantastic and unsurprisingly the pasta at Alba shines. The tajarin (pictured): egg yolk thin cut pasta with veal ragu and farro tagliatelle are two wonderful Italian dishes.
  • The orange: The restaurant’s signature color is orange. Everywhere you look is orange. The bar seats are orange. Some of the decor is orange. Like a splash of color? This is your place. I’d describe the decor as industrial-chic.

I still haven’t ordered anything from the extensive salumi and formaggi selections — a must for my next visit. Have you heard of Chef Bar? It’s Alba’s new Thursday evening CHEF BAR tasting menu. You’ll enjoy an ever-changing six-course tasting menu inspired by rustic Italian cuisine and Italian street food, served with cocktail, wine and beer pairings. This new menu experience is the work of Chef de Cuisine Amy Brandwein.

Alba Osteria
425 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

Photo courtesy of Alba Osteria