al di la Trattoria


As Americanized as Italian food has become over the past hundred years, we tend to fixate on our own versions of Southern Italian favorites: pasta, red sauce, even redder wine, and probably something like...garlic bread? But al di la Trattoria, the sixteen-year-old stalwart of Park Slope's Fifth Avenue, challenges diners to look beyond the standard notion of what constitutes Italian by focusing exclusively on the motherland's northern regions. When it opened in 1998, it was even more specific than that: “We were originally focusing primarily on Venetian,” says chef Anna Klinger, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Emiliano Coppa. “But we've veered off slightly.” The menu features a number of often-overlooked Northern Italian staples — tripe stew, polenta and cuttlefish (with a rich and briny squid ink), calf’s liver, and braised rabbit. The pastas are predictably solid (beet and ricotta ravioli is a standout), and the wine list welcomingly hovers in the $40-per-bottle range. Park Slope has changed immensely since this cozy space opened, but Klinger and Coppa steadfastly maintain their vision of a neighborhood restaurant. “We're not doing anything groundbreaking,” says the chef. “We're just trying to keep it honest.”

248 Fifth Avenue


Monday to Thursday noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 10:30 p.m., Friday noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.

Photo by Dominic Perri