Dining Alfresco at Restaurant Alba

by artfuldiner on September 18, 2020

in Artful Diner Review, Opinion, Pennsylvania, Review, Wining and Dining

Restaurant Alba

7 West King Street

Malvern, Pennsylvania

(610) 644-4009


I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Alba. My first review was penned a few months after it opened its doors as a bustling BYOB. I posted a second review early in 2012. The previous December the restaurant had broadened its horizons by securing a liquor license and expanding into the corner property located at King Street & Warren Avenue. The new space became home to a warm & intimate area that continues to offer patrons classic cocktails, craft beer, and a superb predominantly Italian wine list, which is the recipient of the prestigious Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

Alba - Outside DeckApart from reviews, I’ve returned to Alba many times for my own dining pleasure. On this particular occasion, however, my companion and I, still feeling a bit “iffy” about indoor dining, decided to give the restaurant’s bi-level deck a try. There isn’t much of a view, but the seating is very comfortable and the atmosphere decidedly cozy. And a goodly number of other patrons seemed to share our preferences; as, both coming and going, while the deck was filled to capacity, the indoor dining rooms were nearly deserted.

A graduate of the CIA, chef/proprietor Sean Weinberg does an absolutely superb job of giving full vent to his passionate and inventive culinary spirit. His well-traveled appetizers, for example, range from daily changing Bruschette to Spanish-Style Gazpacho to Wood-Grilled Octopus paired with Sicilian tuna potato salad to Argentinian Beef Empanadas with chimichurri sauce.

Alba - Fried Green TomatoesHowever, we decided to start things off with a decidedly southern flare by sharing Mr. Weinberg’s unique take on classic Fried Green Tomatoes (pictured). After several visits to Richmond, Virginia, a few years ago, I find this dish – in whatever variation-on-the-theme it may appear – to be simply irresistible. In this case, the tomatoes arrived at table still steaming, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and swimming in a beautifully seasoned tomato coulis.

Alba - TroutThe restaurant’s “Secondi (main dishes) and Sandwiches” are a bit more downhome than their predecessors, with presentations like Cape May Sea Scallops, Overnight Roasted Berkshire Pork, Grass Fed Beef Burger, and Chicken BLT with bacon, Jersey tomato, arugula, aioli, and hand-cut fries. My dining partner really decided to go local with the Wood Grilled Pennsylvania Trout (pictured). This was a picture-perfect presentation garnished with bitter escarole, tangy blueberries, and a rich hazelnut brown butter.

Alba - Chicken ParmOn the other hand, I engaged in a bit of role reversal by ordering the Chicken Parmigiano (usually my partner’s favorite dish). This is Italian comfort food taken to the max; and Mr. Weinberg’s version is right on the money, offering up a marvelously moist chicken breast bathed in San Marzano tomatoes, smothered in fresh mozzarella, and accompanied by a small leafy green salad (a side of pasta in tomato sauce may also be ordered for an additional $5.00). Sublime in its simplicity… but supremely seductive and incomparably well prepared.

Pastas, of course, also make marvelous entrées… Currently, Mr. Weinberg is offering a number of seafood combos that are worthy of attention: Spaghetti teamed with Maryland crab, sun gold tomatoes, and sweet corn, for example; or Bucatini with shrimp, Alaskan cod, tomato, and seafood & herb butter. He also cooks up a terrific Tuscan-style wild boar ragú – a thick, full-bodied pork-with-an-attitude meat sauce sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano – that leaves the palate panting for more.

Alba - Butterscotch BudinoThere are a limited number of desserts available, but all are top-notch. The Crostata, an open-face free-form tart crowned with vanilla ice cream is always a winner. I’ve sampled the apple; Mr. Weinberg is currently offering peach/blueberry. The Chocolate & Banana Bread Pudding is also not to be missed… and the House-Made Almond Biscotti team up quite nicely with the restaurant’s potent espresso. But this time around we decided to share the extraordinarily delicious Butterscotch Budino (pictured), a sensually sweet Italian pudding. Arriving at table adorned with a splash of caramel, sprinkling of sea salt, and dollop of soft whipped cream, it goes down as smooth as silk.

One final word… Be sure to check out “Wine Wednesdays,” when the restaurant offers half off glass pour wine by the bottle or by the glass!

Bon Appétit!

Be Safe


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