There are plenty of great Italian places in Northwest Indiana and elsewhere, but Albano's Pasta Shop in downtown Valparaiso offers a contemporary twist on classic favorites.
Albano's Pasta Shop at 22 Washington St. took over space previously occupied by Olga's Place, another restaurant that aimed to bring a modern flair to traditional European cuisine. The cozy space a short walk from Lincolnway features Edison lights, exposed ductwork, brick walls, an open kitchen and a chic modern industrial look.
The trendy eatery makes all of its pasta by hand and features a creative menu, with small plates like grass-fed beef meatballs in a tomato sauce simmered for six hours, charred cauliflower curry and charred cabbage in a bed of beet hummus that's topped with mint, julienned apples and sumac yogurt.
You start your meal there with fresh baked bread with both olive oil and a cheesy, chunky marinara sauce for dipping.
An impressive array of housemade pasta dishes includes the Spanish Octopus Confit, in which fresh octopus cooked in its own fat is mixed with olive-filled agnolotti pasta. It's bathed in a light tomato sauce with herbs and bone marrow that confers a savory, meaty flavor. The tartness of the olives in the doughy pasta contrasts nicely with the tenderness of the octopus.
It's meant for a sophisticated palate and lighter than many pasta dishes.
For more information, find Albano's Pasta Shop on Facebook or call (219) 462-0773.