It’s almost a guarantee that a first-time visitor to La Strada is in for a surprise. What little coffee shop offers marble-topped tables under tiny crystal chandeliers, polished European servers in crisp white dress shirts and ties, and a creative menu of authentic Italian dishes, along with its lattes and cappucinos made with the beans from Caffe Vergano 1882?
This gem of a place does, and it delivers much more than expected. Open just since November, it is quickly taking its place as a downtown Birmingham destination, serving light breakfast, lunch and — starting this week — dinner, as well.
Those who know proprietor Zharko Palushaj aren’t really surprised, however. He is the creative mind behind the acclaimed Troy restaurant, Tre Monti, and he has put just as much effort into this new spot, with a pair of European chefs in the kitchen and the kind of well-trained crew that has the place running smoothly after just a few weeks.
Service at La Strada is the kind that can spoil a person. The well-dressed staff takes care of diners in seamless fashion, bringing the colorful fare, including lovely thin-crusted Margherita and Bianca pizzas, well-balanced minestrone, and composed salads, such as the golden beet and Burrata salad that was a special last week, on pure white plates and bowls.