I have been a regular diner at Aldo's for about 5 years, and I am going to update my review.
DC and AB of Port Moody's review was well titled: "Hidden Gem". Aldo's is indeed just that.
After some hits and misses with servers over the last 5 years or so, Aldo hired a young italian guy about two years ago who has really helped to improve the overall atmosphere of this restaurant. He is a first-rate server, and provides an honest opinion on the daily specials.
Aldo's pasta is home-made, fresh, and always properly al dente - if you get the gnocchi on the day it is made, it is an especially fine treat. There are several dishes that are in my favourites list, in no specific order:
- Gnocchi with marinara sauce: Sometimes very good; sometimes truly superb.
- Gnocchi with putanesca sauce: I find this one just a tad too spicy-hot for my taste, but nonetheless, quite tasty.
- Linguinni with white or red clam sauce: Wonderful.
- Tortellini with calabrese sauce: Excellent (sometimes ravioli with calabrese is available as a special).
- Linguinni with pesto sauce: Very, very good.
- Steelhead fillet in white wine and lemon sauce: Exquisite (although the accompanying penne with bolognese sauce seemed a not particularily well suited side dish).
If you want a traditional italian style pizza, make a special order and have it with no cheese and only one or two strongly flavoured toppings such as garlic and chopped anchovies, or capers and black olives.
Aldo used to make a delicious zabaglione desert (warm, rich, and very filling), but, sadly, this has been removed from the menu; however, I have ordered this great desert and even though it is no longer on the menu, Aldo was willing to make it.
As for negatives, there are a few. Some dishes continue to be rather odd. The minestrone and the primavera sauce have water chestnuts and baby corn, which I think is not only odd, but a mistake. The baby corn in particular adds a strong, and to my taste, inappropriate and somewhat unpleasant tang to this otherwise good dish. I would have given the food a 5 rating, but for these oddities.
The overall atmosphere is, hmm, well, kind of plain, but not unpleasant. The music playing in the background is rather trite and cliche, but not bad. The room is often a bit too cold in the winter, and the red wine is often a bit too warm in the summer.
Lastly, I think the prices, especially for the wine (bottles are often marked up to more than 100% over liquor store prices, and by the glass is sometimes as much as $13), are a tad too high for the value, but not exceptionally so.
All-in-all, Aldo's is definitely one of my favourite New Westminster restaurants, and it is just around the corner from where I live. I drop in at least twice a month.