For New Years Eve 2012, our double-date dinner was held at the delightful Alla Famiglia restaurant in the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Due to our delightful experience there, I was thrilled when my friends and colleagues suggested we have a Clark Hill “Ladies Night” dinner out at its sister establishment, Arlecchino Ristorante. The restaurant is technically in McMurray, but if you’re planning a trip there, it’s just a little bit south of the South Hills Village mall.
For starters, the venue is super-cute. It’s a converted old schoolhouse. It’s absolutely darling, but this also means it’s absolutely tiny, so reservations are a must. You might be able to squeeze in a dinner for two up in the bar area, but it is also tiny, so you are probably better off playing it safe with a reservation. Arlecchino offers complimentary valet parking, which is excellent because the parking area is also tiny and unworkable for self-park.
Arlecchino offers a long list of wines by the glass, and when I asked for a recommendation based on my preference (white, as dry as it possibly can be), the bartender came up with a perfect match.
With every meal a hearty bread basket with “holy oil” delicious dipping oil is offered. We also went with a few starters: a fresh caprese salad, and my personal favorite: the truffoli, a mix of sauteed mushrooms in a sweet sauce with raisins. Amazing.
For my dinner option, I selected the Cottoletta del Monzu (or simply: veal). Each meal comes with the house salad, full of fancy toppings like beets, goat cheese and sunflower seeds, and the pasta del dio, both served family-style. The veal was buttery and savory. The pasta, topped with vodka sauce, was also delicious, and this coming from someone who isn’t a big pasta fan. The house salad, with all its fancy toppings, was fresh and a welcome departure from the typical iceberg-tomato-onion house salad.
A few people in our large group opted for the signature veal chop, which is ENORMOUS and quite a sight to behold. I wish I took a picture, because it is just crazy. They reported that it, too, was very tasty.
The portion sizes are enormous, and unless you share an entree, you are sure to have extra to take home. The enormous size is very appropriate, given that the prices are, shall we say, special occasion prices. Very special occasion. Coupled with the restaurant’s small size and romantic atmosphere, this would be the ideal venue to propose to your significant other or celebrate a very special anniversary.
For dessert, we all shared the marble cake with salted-caramel icing. It was light and the icing had the perfect salty-sweet contrast. It was entirely too enormous for one, and it was a great option for us to pass around. It is also nice that Arlecchino offers a full coffee bar of cappucino, lattes, drip coffee, a variety of teas, and dessert wines and cocktails.
While I may have had some reservations about hauling all the way out to McMurray after a workday, I was ultimately thrilled to visit this special restaurant. Like it’s sister restaurant, Arlecchino is sure to become widely known for its quality through excited word of mouth, rather than flashy advertisements.