Restaurateur Hakan Ilhan is pleased to announce the anticipated opening of Alba Osteria in Washington D.C. This new sister restaurant to award-winning Al Dente will begin welcoming guests on December 15th. Those visiting the 226-seat restaurant, including a 63-seat outdoor seasonal patio, will enjoy authentic Italian cuisine reflective of the Piedmonte region of Italy, executive chef Roberto Donna’s homeland. Amy Brandwein has been tapped as chef de cuisine of Alba Osteria, overseeing the daily culinary operations. Brandwein was previously executive chef at Donna’s award-winning Galileo restaurant.
Alba, Italy is situated between the region’s wine country and agricultural center, and food here is a classic representative of Piemonte’s cuisine. Donna’s menu at Alba Osteria will offer a selection of salumi and formaggi, antipasti, house-made pastas (small and large portions), and Neapolitan pizza. Daily specials will be “Italian sized” portions, designed to be ordered and shared for the table in a Piemontese fashion.
Alba Osteria will house a boutique selection of Italian and local wines, plus four wines on draught and 20 beers on tap. Guests can also anticipate a generous happy hour menu Monday through Friday, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Matt Norris, of Norris Design in Atlanta, is responsible for the design of the 5,500-square-foot space, which includes at private dining room, which can welcome 22 seated guests. Alba Osteria pays homage to the traditional wine-centric, casual restaurants found throughout the Italian countryside. The main dining room is loosely organized into sections, making the space intimate and inviting. Wine is front and center as it will be displayed throughout the dining room providing separation of areas and an eye-catching backdrop.
Alba’s interior is a study in contrasts. The smooth black bar top against the lighted white textured bar front and the traditional white Carrara marble is unexpected with its rough broken edges; the graceful, flowing, patterned wall is contrasted against industrial steel beams. The restaurant’s floor tiles hint at a well-worn factory floor while black damask patterned chandeliers soar overhead. There is a visual interplay between feminine and masculine elements, as well as smooth and rough textures. This begins as guests enter the steel and glass vestibule giving way to an oversized damask pattern wall covering installed on Alba’s ceiling. Coloration throughout the dining room is mainly black and white with a splash of bright orange to punctuate the composition. Lighting is a mix of turn-of-the-century industrial luminaires, stage lighting, and chic black chandeliers, which provides visual contradiction.
Guests will find a chef-focused exhibition salumi and formaggi counter complete with a Ferrari red Berkel slicer to cut the selections of hanging meats. There is also a colorful pizza bar, where a cocktail can be enjoyed while watching the glowing Ferrara wood-fired oven from Naples produce Neapolitan pizzas. The commanding pizza oven, weighing in at 8,000 pounds, is finished with red and orange handmade Italian glass mosaic tile. While the island bar is the heart of the restaurant, another attention grabber design feature is the reclaimed factory window frames, with refurbished seeded glass, which also divide the space visually. The windows and the wood paneling in the private room were removed from a 100-year-old demolished Crayola factory in Ohio, giving Alba a green footprint and the ambiance of an old-world café.