Italian cuisine was born when, after building the city of Rome, Romulus and Remus discovered Greece didn't deliver to their new address. Taste the origins of an empire with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of gourmet Italian cuisine at L'Allegria in Madison.
Each morning at 8:30, the chefs at L'Allegria cull fresh ingredients from the kitchen to prepare a huge menu of gourmet Italian pastas, entrees, and pizzas. Patrons can adorn bare spoons with gnocchi al ragu di vitello, a dish that pairs succulent potato gnocchi with a veal-enriched ragu ($15), or twist forks into a mound of spaghetti alla carbonara ($16.50) tall enough to play center for the Globetrotters. Several artisan pizzas swirl out of the kitchen and onto dinner plates after doughsmiths bedeck them with exotic offerings that include smoked salmon, sautéed escarole, roasted butternut squash, and several Italian cheeses ($13–$16). Platters of petto di pollo a piacere sate the hunger of carnivorous gods by flooding their spirit-bellies with chicken francese made with hormone-free poultry ($22). In between munches, diners may lubricate lips on libations from the wine list, which features selections from the entire visible spectrum of grapes.
L'Allegria’s interior aims to please every sense with a sophisticated dining setup that includes white tablecloths, ornate artwork, and meticulously laid-out table presentations. Live classical piano music accompanies meals, forgoing the need for chefs to rig stereo speakers into the meatballs.
At L'Allegria, founders Saverio and Giovanni Allocca seek to transport diners to an al fresco Mediterranean courtyard with their authentic cuisine and decor that evokes a breezy villa. The menu brims with classic italian pastas and succulent veal dishes, made with hormone-free meats. Extensive wine lists complement entrees with dozens of varietals from Italy and California.
Patrons sit upon floral-patterned chairs in the high-ceilinged dining room, amid beige walls and exposed brick. At times, a pianist's melodies reverberate throughout the eatery, relaxing diners and reminding the walls' paintings of a simpler time when they were young, impressionable canvases.
11 Prospect St.
Madison, New Jersey 07940