Every restaurant wants to please each guest at every table. But not all menus can stand up to such a challenge. Allegra Restaurant & Banquets is one of those that can.
Allegra Restaurant and Banquets rises out of the legacy of the former Villa Nova Restaurant on St. Charles Road in Villa Park, Illinois. After months of redecorating the interior, Allegra is a new and immediately successful addition to the western suburbs. The banquet facilities have booked parties through the fall of 2015. It is the second location for the owners, with the first on River Road in Schiller Park under the same name.
But with any restaurant the proof is in the menu and service. Starting with the menu choices will take some explanation. First, the specials. After all that is what the server speaks about when they hand you a menu. On the night we visited the specials set the pace for what was to come. They included two types of Pierogi - either sauerkraut or potato. A second special was Fettuccini Shrimp and Spinach. The third special was Beef Stroganoff over potato dumplings. And the last special was Hungarian Goulash with potato pancakes. The variety of special choices on this night was an indicator or what was on the rest of the menu but there is so much more.
The salads included Chopped Salad, Caesar Salad, Greek Salad, a House Salad, Spinach Salad and an Asian Salad. Again something for a wide variety of tastes. On the appetizer menu were many of the usual choices including Mozzarella Sticks, Grilled Calamari and Bruschetta. There are also Shrimp appetizers, Potato Skins and Stuffed Mushrooms. Three standouts are Grilled Eggplant, Roasted Cheese Ravioli and Chicken Quesadillas. My choices were the Shrimp Dijon served with grilled shrimp topped with bread crumbs and the Bruschetta. The shrimp were excellent and not deep fried making the breading soft and slightly separate from the shrimp. The Bruschetta were eight slices with ample tomato and cheese perfectly sized and tasty. A good start. For soup, I selected the Minestrone cup as an indicator of what might be on the banquet menu as well as on the dining menu. No issues with the soup, in fact a little better than most. To add to the great start was a warm basket of sliced bread with a grain variety and standard bread slices.
The hardest part of any restaurant experience is selecting an entre. Allegra's menu does not make that easy. First, I had to pass over the Specials so I could get a better idea of what was on the menu every night. That was painful. I really wanted to try everything on the specials menu but I got some help from guests at another table. They ordered a couple of specials and so did the table next to them. A big hit was the Beef Stroganoff over potato pancake as was the Hungarian Goulash.
I was free to delve into the rest of the menu the choices where still many. Starting with ribs and chicken there were Baby Back Ribs and six Chicken choices from Limone to Marsala and Scaloppini. The next entres were Grilled Salmon and Tilapia, followed by Steaks including New York, Petite Filet and Filet Mignon. Most items were under $15 with the exception of the beef entres that a trip to the grocery store will prove should be higher priced for a quality cut. If a full meal is not your preference, than there is a Sandwich menu with choices like Polo Rustico - chicken with pepper and onions and Chicken Caprese with a mix of Italian flavors. The sandwich menu options are generally under $10. There are Philly Beef, Rueben, Classic Club, Chicken Wraps and Classic Burgers to choose from.
Turn the page of the menu and you now have eleven Pasta choices. Lobster Ravioli, Cheese Tortellini and Spaghetti either with red sauce or adorned with Calamari, Baby Clams and Shrimp. Penne Pasta Mostaccioli, Fettuccini and Stuffed Shells along with Meat Lasagna and Pomodoro, an Angel Hair Pasta with tomato, garlic and basil sauce, round out the Pasta Choices.
And let's not overlook the pizza choices. The expectation is that you might choose any number of toppings on a thin crust cheese pizza in a variety of sizes. You would be correct. But also available are Double Dough, Pan Pizza and Stuffed Pizza in sizes from 10 inch to 16 inch rounds. Because all pizza here is made to order expect a cooking time from 45 to 60 minutes for the Pan and Stuffed variety.
With so many excellent choices our table selected the Grilled Salmon and Chicken Marsala. Not an easy decision to make starting with the specials on down to the pizza menu.
The Grilled Salmon was not only hearty in size but flavor also. Served with a creamy dill sauce and a side of asparagus and plate of rice, I was very pleased with the choice I made. The second entre of Chicken Marsala was just as tasty and filling with a smothering of mushrooms, asparagus and a side of potato wedges.
For desert a large slice of carrot cake topped off the evening with a cup of coffee which could have been a Cappuccino, Espresso or Latte as well. Allegra also has a complete bar service and I was pleased with a Polish beer choice over domestic options. A Zywiec beer was a fine addition to the meal.
The name Allegra means powerful and complete. It is appropriate for the service and menu options as well as the preparation of the food served. My only problem was I could not try more of what the menu offers, so several more trips to this great addition to the western suburbs of Chicago are in order.
Allegra Restaurant is located at 237 W St. Charles Road in Villa Park. For more information you may call (630) 607-0094 or visit them on the Internet atwww.allegrabanquets.com.