Not more than three dozen people can be seated at the nine tables in this charming store front restaurant in the center of Albenga. The lemon yellow dining room is beautifully decorated with many nice touches; lovely colorful curtains depicting drapery tassels in cheery orange, blue, yellow and green; a few bouquets of flowers; crisp white linens, formal silver and crystal. There is enough open space so you don't feel cramped, just cozy.
The service is friendly and low key. Fabio Bonavia is a master chef and in full command of a creative but not pretentious menu. The pasta and fish dishes remind me how wonderful it is to have everything cooked to perfection. Just a few seconds too long or too short, and these offerings would be out of focus. Having dined here 8 to 10 times over the past few years, we know everything will be artistically presented, employing the freshest and most seasonal ingredients. My wife's spaghetti with clams and bottarga today was magical, like swimming with mermaids. I wasn't unhappy with my lovely ravioli with scallops, saffron and zucchini blossoms. Our entrees, grilled calamari with an Italian version of ratatouille, and grilled fish on a bed of mashed potatoes flavored with local basil we would order again and again! Simple and elegant, with full respect for the purity and primacy of the ingredients. The flavors blend and don't overpower.
If you want to splurge on some more calories, there is a nice selection of home made desserts. The wine list is thoughtfully prepared and offers ample reasonably priced quality vintages to accompany the fine food.
Considering the quality, originality and hospitality of this fine establishment, the prices are very fair. Albenga has a trio of superior restaurants (Osteria dei Leoni, Pernambucco and Babette). We like them all. Babette is tops!
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