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TASTE TEST: Albano's Pasta Shop's Spanish Octopus Confit a delight

The Spanish Octopus Confit at Albano's Pasta Shop in downtown Valparaiso.

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.

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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.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.