Step inside this cozy neighborhood café for sweet and savory pastries such as croissants, muffins, brownies and mini-cakes as well as small-batch-roasted Stumptown coffee and a full selection of Art of Tea loose leaf teas. A light menu is available throughout the day while in the evenings, the trattoria offers a more extensive menu with interpretations of classic Italian dishes such as squid ink linguine with shrimp; linguine with Manila clams; rigatoni with pulled pork and parmesan cheese; chicken cacciatore; and a variety of pizzas. More modern dishes include kale salad with fried egg, pancetta, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and lemon vinaigrette, and salmon with leeks, sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.
Owner Ali Kihanmahd comes with 25 years of restaurant experience, with the last 15 years spent in top-ranked Italian restaurants in New York City including Fiorello’s Roman Café, Cesca, Trattoria di Vino and Pappardelle. He also owned and managed Apropos Café in Brooklyn and hopes to bring a little bit of NYC to the OC. No matter what you order, you can’t go wrong with the bold, fresh flavors and personable service at this new neighborhood gem. Open M-Th 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; F-Sa until 10 p.m. 1525 Mesa Verde Drive East, Costa Mesa, 657.232.0100. alfornocaffe.com