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Situated just below the Bernic Hotel on 47th St. in bustling midtown Manhattan, one could easily miss Allora Ristorante if they’re not careful. The ambiance in the restaurant alone makes it worth the stop though, with elegantly clothed tables, low lighting, and an outdoor garden patio.
I arrived at Allora with a very specific goal: I wanted to try the 30-foot long pasta dish. I was greeted by the restaurant’s owner, Elio Albanese, who immediately made me feel welcome. Elio has become a bit of a local celebrity for his unconventional 30-foot pasta dish as well as his catch phrase, “You better believe it,” which is showcased in neon lights at the restaurant’s vibrant rooftop lounge on the 22nd floor of the Bernic, Allora Alto.
The long, thick “spaghetto” (yep, that’s a singular spaghetti) that Allora serves up with veal meatballs and meat sauce is a spin on a rustic 14th-century dish. Albanese brought the piping hot pasta to my table on the garden patio himself. It was lightly sprinkled with parmesan cheese and garnished with basil. Served on a wooden plank and covered in slow-cooked lamb shoulder, pork shoulder, and beef meat sauce, the “Maccheroni alla Mugnaia” (Miller’s Wife Pasta) is not a gimmick—it’s a flavor-packed dining experience.
Albanese cut long pieces of the spaghetto with a scissor, then lightly placed them on our plates. He then scooped two or three meatballs and placed them on top. I’d compare it to the best meatball parm I’ve ever had, but better, because there’s pasta and literally melt-in-your-mouth delicious meatballs.