First Look: La Tagliatella, Emory Point

La Tagliatella, an Italian-style pasta and pizza concept with over 130 restaurants in Europe, chose Midtown Atlanta for its first American outpost, opening in mid-December at the Shops at Metropolis. A second location opened a few weeks ago at Emory Point.

The look: Anchoring a corner in the mixed-use residential, retail, and restaurant development across from the Centers for Disease Control, the restaurant features a large patio facing Clifton Road. Inside, Atlanta design firm ai3 joined Spanish design firm DecoRetro to create a baroque atmosphere in a gallery-like dining room filled with dramatic architectural details, including ornate screens, tray ceilings and chandeliers.

The scene: One recent evening, a surprisingly sedate crowd could be found tucked into plush booths and seated at window-side tables appointed with crisp white tablecloths. In the bar area, which recalls an upscale British pub, the scene was a bit more lively, as the bartender told a small gathering about a recent trip to Barcelona, while refilling wine glasses and attending to take-out orders.

The menu: Most dishes are priced under $20 and served in portions meant to be shared. Salads and starters include Insalata Tagliatella with shrimp, ham, lump crab, mixed greens, veggies and hard boiled egg with a choice dressings ($15.50). Among the 400 pasta and sauce combos, find signatures such butternut squash-filled pasta with a walnut and Gorgonzola cheese sauce ($16.50). The pizza kitchen turns out 20-some specialty thin crust pizzas, such as Di Pate with tomato, mozzarella, foie, duck ham, Taleggio cheese and mushrooms with wine and caramelized onion reduction ($18), and Salume with tomato, mozzarella, chorizo, and a fresh cracked egg ($14.50).

The drinks: The full bar features Italian-inspired cocktails, including the Ambrato with rye, sweet vermouth, peach puree, peach bitters and lemon. Cabernet sauvignon-based sangria is mixed with blood orange syrup, pineapple juice, brandy and fresh blackberries. Look for over 25 wines by the glass and 50 by the bottle, as well as a concise beer list. Recently, Peroni and Sweetwater 420 ($5) were on draft.

The extras: Beyond pizza and pasta, there are few meaty offerings, including an 8-ounce filet mignon with a choice of sauce ($26). Spiedino Napoletano is skewered pork tenderloin, tomatoes, balsamic onions and basil served with special Tagliatella sauce and fried gnocchi ($18).

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