Located in St. Petersburg’s historic Old Pasadena neighborhood, Alesia Restaurant serves fresh, rustic cuisine in a bright contemporary setting. Founded by three partners Sandra Ly-Flores and Erika Ly, and another co-owner, Paul Hsu. It is amazing to learn that they had never been in the restaurant business prior to opening Alesia. It turns out that Alesia is the name of the street they grew up on.
French, Vietnamese, and Chinese upbringings, Alesia Restaurant is the culinary embodiment of these childhood influences and the eclectic mix of dishes and flavors they were naturally raised with. This delightful restaurant is worth the trip for both its fabulous food and contemporary atmosphere, including a great, pet-friendly outdoor patio and a large beautiful outdoor dining room. It’s one of the prettiest and simple hangouts around town, and it’s the perfect place to linger over a latte or share a Cheese platter, which includes a selection of European cheeses served with fresh grapes and toast points.
What Alesia does well is keep the menu simple. There are no countless iterations of the same dish, no wide-selection of condiments to override inherent flavors, just variegated, well-curated dishes which encourage the simple pleasure of enjoying good food. The French, Asian, and Vietnamese dishes are so different from what is usually served in area restaurants, which was a great change of pace.
This place is easily a hidden gem in the St. Pete / Pasadena area. The ambience inside and outside is great, the staff are very attentive and friendly. The Asian-French-inspired (colonial) offerings are good. If you like traditional favorites like Pho or Bun, you will not be disappointed. The pho or noodle soup has a hint of sweetness; the bún or rice vermicelli noodles are served with skewers of glistening grilled pork or shrimp; the traditional bánh mi has a firm jalapeño kick to it if you order it spicy. These are the dishes you should try your first time there.
What can I say? Great food, great service and great wine selection. I would call it French-Vietnamese-Asian. But not fusion. Each cuisine seems to be able represented without falling into confusion.
Photo Credit: www.afar.com