To get to Alimentari, you have to walk through the Di Bruno Bros. grocery store in Center City. Once you get to the wine bar and restaurant on the second floor, it doesn’t just magically transform into a dimly-lit, date-night destination - it still kind of feels like you’re in the grocery store downstairs. But despite the fact that there’s barely any ambiance, the excellent food and wine make this a useful and worthwhile place that you’ll want to return to often.
Alimentari’s location makes a lot sense - once the clock hits 5pm on a weekday, we’re guessing that “wine bars in Rittenhouse” becomes a pretty popular Google search. But the space feels like you’re having dinner in an open-concept office space. And that takes away a bit of its value as a date spot, or anywhere you’d want to have an intimate meal.
Still, one thing you can count on here is the food being great. Charcuterie takes up an entire page of their menu - you can pick one of their curated boards or mix and match from over 20 types of meat and cheese they carry in their grocery store. It’s one of the things they do best, and if you’re the kind of person who prefers putting together mini ham and cheese sandwiches to eating a full steak dinner, Alimentari will be your personal happy place.
Besides all of the meat and cheese, you can order from a list of small plates that range from a decent piece of roasted branzino to an excellent bowl of braised lamb gnocchi. Then there’s the delicious Roman-style pizza by the slice that reminds us of classic tomato pie, except with added toppings like burrata and pancetta.
If you’re really into wine, it’s also worthwhile to stop by for a glass or two - even if you don’t plan on staying for a full dinner. They carry stuff from all over the world, with both $100-plus bottles from France and newer natural producers in Chile and Oregon for under $40. And to describe the wines on the menu, they use funky phrases like “weirdly fantastic” and “best buds with pizza” under the names and regions.
You shouldn’t come to Alimentari for a serious dinner with a love interest, but it’s a solid spot to grab a cheese board or a glass of red wine that’s “brighter than your usual cab.” Especially because, unlike other places in the area, there are almost always open reservations. Plus, if you’re still hungry, you can cap your meal off with another round of free samples from Di Bruno Bros. on your way out.
Alimentari clearly knows their way around a meat and cheese plate. Half of the menu here is just charcuterie, and there are tons of options for you to customize.
For $12, this huge salad could easily be your entire dinner. It’s a huge pile of things like brussels sprouts, radicchio, beets, butternut squash, dried cherries, and hazelnuts, topped with a sweet maple balsamic vinaigrette - and it’s both light and hearty at the same time. Order it to break up all the meat, cheese, and pasta you ordered.
Rich and lemony, the gnocchi is filled with pieces of harissa-covered lamb shoulder and topped with ricotta. It’s one of the best dishes on the menu.
The branzino is a small portion, so you might not want to share it. Especially because there is delicious couscous underneath the tender fish.
The pizza here is served by the slice, in thick squares that remind us of a classic tomato pie. The sausage is our favorite, piled high with cheese, asparagus and, Di Bruno’s sweet and spicy sausage.
We’d like to live in a world where we get to eat this dark chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream and candied pecans at the end of every meal.