2012 1st Ave N.
Birmingham, Al 35203

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Foodie Fridays at Downtown’s Trattoria Centrale

pasta at trattoria centrale

Friday Night dinners at Trattoria Centrale have been away so long, they almost felt lost to history. We were excited enough when new owners Bryan & Erica promised to bring them back. We were ecstatic when they actually did. Even better, the dinners are just as good as we remember.

Friday night dinners aren’t just a chance to unwind; they’re also a chance to be less utilitarian than a weekday lunch allows. Dessert, for instance, is rarely part of our lunch equation, and appetizers aren’t on the lunch menu. But both were superstars on the dinner menu. In fact, here’s our big recommendation for Friday night dinners: bring at least one friend, order multiple appetizers, split an entree and then a dessert. Or just a bowl of tiramisu for one. Your choice.

Trattoria’s appetizers hit a sweet spot between Southern and Italian influences that’s very hard to beat. The blt crustini featured sweet roasted tomatoes and thick bacon for a fancy take on a classic sandwich. The tomato salad with salty field peas, sweet peaches, and micro basil is a farmers market on a plate.

dinner at trattoria centrale

Without red sauce, the bacon/corn/tomato/basil pesto ricotta pizza felt fresh and light as a main dish. The garganelli entree had perfectly cooked pasta and shrimp, just enough cheese, bitterly tender eggplant and the occasional almond crunch. It was a dish that felt simple but packed in comforting flavors, which is basically the point of pasta.

If you’re at all a dessert person, though, everything else pales in comparison to the tiramisu. We were talked into it with raves about the homemade custard, and we’re so glad. This dish is all about thick, eggy custard with a dusting of bitter coffee and chocolate. Coffee soaked ladyfingers wait at the bottom like a Cracker Jack surprise. We won’t judge if you need to lick the bowl.

The tricky part about the loft district dining options is that some of our downtown favorites are weekday lunch only. But for many of us, spending quality time in them means evenings or weekends — exactly when they’re not open. We tend to think of the weekend brunch or the odd evening open as neighborhood open house time, and we’re glad to have it.

But as much as we love a good brunch, it can be hard to beat an evening streetscape and a well-earned meal at the end of the week. Welcome back Friday night dinners. We’re very glad to have you!

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