I’ve been up and down Plant Street in downtown Winter Garden and never knew of this cozy Italian gem tucked behind Axum Coffee in the alley. A co-worker of mine ended up telling me about alFresco and one Saturday afternoon my date Chad and I stopped in for lunch. The atmosphere is so warm and inviting, we were looking forward to a nice meal.
The first item we ordered was the Spicy Feta Dip with grilled pita. While it wasn’t very spicy, if at all, the dip was very flavorful. Smooth, creamy and tangy- a great way to start our lunch.
I ordered the soup and salad- the soup being a vegetarian based veggie soup and a half Farmer’s Market Salad. When my plate arrived, I could immediately smell the meat in the soup and upon further inspection, I noticed large chunks of what I thought was maybe sausage. When our server had returned to the table I asked him again what the soup of the day was and he didn’t miss a beat to say “oh it was veggie soup but they changed it to lamb soup”. The server knew the soup had been changed before it had been served and didn’t bother to let me know. Though he removed the soup from the table, it had not been removed from our bill.
The Farmer’s Market Salad was actually delicious. Seasonal fruit (in this case fresh peaches) was tossed with spinach, goat cheese, walnuts and caramelized onions in a pomegranate vinaigrette. The peaches were amazing when mixed with goat cheese and walnuts. I loved this salad.
I had also ordered a half size of the Farro Salad– arugula, green beans, kalamata olives, tomatoes, red peppers and red onions in a citrus vinaigrette. I enjoyed this salad as well and the half size was perfect, especially since I ended up with no soup- my two half salads made a delicious and filling meal.
Chad ordered the Fish-n-Chips. One large piece of grouper was hand-battered and fried then served with fries and house made tartar sauce. I think we both agreed that this was the best fish and chips that we have ever experienced. I do not know if it was the grouper (most fish and chips are made with cod), the seasoning or the love coming from the kitchen but it was a heavenly platter. Thank goodness Chad was willing to share.
Our bill was a whole other story. Though I was served only a half farro salad I had been charged for a full one, in addition to the soup that was still on the check.
While the food gets a solid 5 sprouts, the server could have been a little more attentive to our order. I was a little upset that the soup had changed and my server brought it to me like I was just supposed to accept lamb instead of veggies (thank goodness we are not true Vegetarians). It was also slightly inconvenient to have to wait for the check to be adjusted, something our server should have caught before presenting it to us. 4 1/2 out of 5 sprouts.