The rise and fall of Bocconcini at Oliver and Central has paved the way for another Italian restaurant in its place. Albero Cafe recently opened in the vacant space to give Wichitans a new option for Italian food on the east side of town.
The interior and ambiance of Albero remains similar to Bocconcini. The open floor plan and large glass windows still make the restaurant louder than most. During peak hours it can be hard to carry on a conversation. There is a small patio, but it does not offer any reprieve from the noise as it sits ten feet from Central.
The menu at Albero has everything that you would expect from a typical Italian-American joint including salads, flatbreads, soups, paninis, and a number of classic pasta dishes. While they offer a variety of options, the menu is not as overwhelming as other Italian places in town.
We decided to start off with an appetizer order of the intriguing sounding Italian Nachos. They were billed as fried pita chips covered with lettuce, tomatoes, pepperoncini, and a parmesan cheese sauce. What came out was a bountiful heap of indulgence. The pita chips were very crispy and resembled fried wontons. The veggies were tossed with an Italian vinaigrette and the parmesan sauce was
wonderfully addictive. This blue collar dish was amazing, but left you with a somewhat guilty feeling for having feasted on such opulence. A word of caution: This is a good sized dish and would be perfect for a party of 4 because it left Steph and I fairly satiated even before our main courses arrived.
Despite the fullness from the nachos, I enjoyed my parpardelle pasta. The ample serving of wide noodles was tossed with just the right amount of good cream sauce. The dish also included tomatoes, portabellas, and delicious whole roasted
garlic cloves. Steph’s chicken penne pesto was just alright. While the pesto sauce tasted fresh, there could have been more added to the dish.
Albero Cafe fills a void in the eastside Italian scene and does a decent job at it. The food is a touch upscale, but the prices are reasonable. In my opinion everyone in town should try the Italian nachos just to experience a little bliss. And for you oenophiles they have nice selection of wines.