Such was the case for Ask for Alonzo. When it opened in 2018, I’d heard through the food-blogger grapevine that it was good. So maybe I should have had more faith, but I’d been burned by one too many affordable Italian places that turned out to be way overpriced in comparison to the food quality. Then all of a sudden it was 2020 and news broke that Ask for Alonzo was opening its third location.
The good stuff
The restaurant is located right by Happy Valley Terminus, so it’s easy to find. There’s a nice outdoor area, a comfortable dining room, a large open kitchen and even a back patio (slightly less nice than the other areas) with lemon trees and other foliage.
Bart, the owner, really knows his stuff, so feel free to share your likes and dislikes and let him suggest dishes. During my visit, I tried Breakfast in Tuscany ($138) – toasted white bread, puttanesca mix, Parma ham, scrambled egg – from the brunch menu and the oven-baked Tomino cheese ($148), which is wrapped in Parma ham and served with glazed shallots, asparagus and balsamic syrup.
I also tried the rigatoni amatriciana ($138), made with authentic Roman guanciale, Alonzo’s carbonara ($138), also made with guanciale, and white chocolate panna cotta ($58).
I really enjoy strong, vibrant, even pungent flavours, so these dishes were right up my alley.
The other stuff
For those who want great-quality fresh pasta, Pici is probably still your best bet. Ask for Alonzo doesn’t use fresh pasta, but they source top-quality dried pasta and then focus on the sauces. While I do really enjoy Pici, I’m not sure I’ve loved any of their pastas besides maybe the lasagne. Ask for Alonzo’s amatriciana is my new favourite affordable pasta dish in town.
I didn’t have a chance to try the Italian subs, risotto dishes, mains or cocktails, so I can’t speak to those. Hopefully I’ll visit again soon and try them all.
Oh, and perhaps the panna cotta didn’t need the berry compote. Since the white chocolate was so intense, I thought the berry flavour was a bit distracting.
Related: Love Italian? Check out DiVino’s black truffle & mystery wine menu