Chef Pat Pascarella is welcoming the new year in with a fresh new restaurant called Alici. Named after the Italian word for “anchovy,” Alici is designed to make guests feel like they’re on the Amalfi Coast. Pascarella, who owns Italian-American spots the White Bull, Grana, and Bastone, says this is his most authentic restaurant yet.
“It’s as chef-driven as the White Bull with Italian wines, Italian music, and pasta derived from Italy,” he says.
Located in the Midtown Promenade shopping center across from Piedmont Park and Midtown High School, and nearly adjacent to the Beltline, Alici takes over the space formerly home to F.R.O.G.S. Cantina. With 70 seats inside and 70 on the patio, it has quietly started serving guests, but is limiting diners to 100 a night until the grand opening on January 2.
Portions of the menu change daily, including oyster and fish varieties. Up to 12 types of oysters will be available daily; pastas will rotate monthly. Pascarella says he wants Alici to be known for its socca—a chickpea pancake topped with tuna tartare, wild mushrooms, or burnt olives. He created the menu for sharing so diners can try a little of everything. He recommends dining with friends—starting with oysters and crudo, adding socca and handmade pasta or risotto, and finishing with fish topped with choice of sauces.
“Americans eat like we have 14 stomachs,” Pascarella says. “In Italy, it takes four hours to eat a meal.”
His wife, Megan Pascarella, serves as the restaurant group’s executive pastry chef. For Alici, she’s making a dense yet moist ricotta pound cake with almond flour, paste, and extract, an upside-down blood orange cake, and a lemon roulade he calls a “lemon explosion.” He believes the pound cake is “hands down the best dessert I’ve had in this city—it’s like crack.” Not that he’s biased or anything!
Beverages, too, follow Amalfi tradition featuring limoncello and many a spritz. Beverage director Anthony Panzica created a wine list featuring 100 percent Italian wines. These can be served table side, at the oyster bar, or at the bar in the adjacent space (previously home to a dry cleaner). Offering 40 additional seats and a stage for weekend jazz, this room will open in June 2023.
“People want oysters and they want them ASAP,” Pascarella says.
View the full menu below. (Tap to enlarge.)