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help me decide- Alta, Aldea or the Redhead

p
phoenikia Jan 22, 2011 10:30 AM

I realize these are completely different types of restaurants, with different cuisines, pricepoints & vibes. If you had to pick just 1, which would you select?

How would you describe the vibes & service at each restaurant? Which restaurant would you choose if you were dining with a friend midweek? Do any of the restaurants attract a mostly 30something/40something crowd during the week?

Alta Small Plates Menu:
http://altarestaurant.com/?q=munchies

Aldea Dinner Menu:
http://aldearestaurant.com/pdf/AldeaDinner.pdf

The Redhead Dinner Menu:
http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0023...

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Alta
64 W 10th St, New York, NY 10011

The Redhead
349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

Aldea
31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

  1. m
    michelleats Jan 23, 2011 04:25 PM

    I have never been to the Redhead, so I can't say much about it. Alta is casual and fun, with a huge selection of small plates to share and an extensive, fairly priced wine list. Service and space are warm and friendly. It can, however, be very noisy, there. Food can take a while to come when it is crowded. Probably nothing at Alta will knock your socks off if you frequently eat out in NYC, but almost everything is competently made and enjoyable to eat. The crowd tends mostly to be in their 20s and 30s, but there are plenty of patrons in their 40s and up, too.

    Aldea is more refined and formal. My personal experience has been mixed. On one visit, their signature arroz con pato was rancid because components of the dish had been fried too far in advance or the oil they used to fry it in was rancid. You will find plenty of die hard fans on this board, however. The average age of dinner patrons tends to be in the 40s to 50s.

    All I can really say about the Redhead is that it's known for American comfort food and it's well liked on this board. My impression is that it's casual and caters to a younger crowd.

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    Aldea
    31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

    3 Replies
    1. re: michelleats
      s
      sam1 Jan 23, 2011 09:38 PM

      im 30 and i absolutely adore aldea.

      service is perfect...professional but not uncomfortable. stylish place but not too fussy. the crowd can be high end diners sprinkled with some tourists who read a good review or five.

      redhead...i wish theyd change up their menu. i like the place enough but the food is a bit heavier than what i tend to eat these days. crowd can be a bunch of murray hill types to east village boozers who want a great burger and everything in between.

      alta...the food never wowed me but i do like the place...can be very bustling and busy. crowd can be a bit of the pr/marketing variety but its a big place and there's all sorts that frequent the place.

      all three places are hugely different. id go with aldea any day of the week.

      1. re: sam1
        p
        phoenikia Jan 24, 2011 03:59 PM

        Thanks for your comments, sam1. Looks like I'll probably do dinner at Aldea with my 30something chowfriend, and do small plates or dinner at Alta or the Redhead with the 20something with less discriminating taste.

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        Aldea
        31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

      2. re: michelleats
        p
        phoenikia Jan 24, 2011 04:14 PM

        It's interesting that you mention the arroz con pato was rancid at Aldea on one of your visits, because the only arroz con pato that I ordered in Porto was also rancid. The experience sort of turned me off the idea of trying more versions of the dish.

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        Aldea
        31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

      3. Miss Needle Jan 24, 2011 07:16 AM

        Oh my. Very different restaurants all around. My vote would be for Aldea because I think it's the most unique out of the three.

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        Aldea
        31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

        1. m
          michelleats Jan 24, 2011 07:39 AM

          Phoenikia, you are from Toronto, right? If it helps you choose, Aldea is about on par with Toronto's Chiado in terms of food, atmosphere and I believe pricing.

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          Aldea
          31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

          3 Replies
          1. re: michelleats
            Miss Needle Jan 24, 2011 07:46 AM

            Michelleats, I've been to Chiado (though it was many years ago). My impression was that Chiado's food was more traditional than Aldea. Has that changed?

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            Aldea
            31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

            1. re: Miss Needle
              m
              michelleats Jan 24, 2011 07:59 AM

              No, you are right. Chiado is more traditional than Aldea, though Chiado's menu actually has a few "New World" / non-Portuguese influences, too, especially in the appetizers. I think the quality of the two restaurants is about on par, though.

              1. re: michelleats
                p
                phoenikia Jan 24, 2011 03:55 PM

                Thanks for comparing the two restaurants, Miss Needle & michelleats.

                I agree, Chiado's menu is more traditional than Aldea's. Aldea seems to have a more innovative menu. Knowing that Aldea's atmosphere is somewhat similar to Chiado's certainly helps me with my decision-making.

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                Aldea
                31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

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