Imagine that you're winding your way through narrow streets near the Pantheon in Rome. You stumble upon a crowded trattoria where servers hurry by carrying plates of pasta carbonara, rigatoni al pomodoro, bowls of gnocchi swimming in melted gorgonzola—as well as platters of grilled meats and sausage. The aromas are divine, the atmosphere lively and joyful. You have found Maccheroni, a tremendously popular trattoria owned by Luciano Flamini.
A similar atmosphere has been created at il vecchio on the Monterey Peninsula. Il vecchio means "the old," and everything about this trattoria romana makes you think you've discovered a traditional dining spot favored by Roman cognoscenti.
The creator of il vecchio, Carl Alasko, lived in Rome between 1963 and 1974. During those eleven years Carl absorbed Italian culture and a taste for great Italian food. Before opening il vecchio, Carl's Italian daughter, Saroja, convinced the owner of Maccheroni to send his head chef to Pacific Grove to teach the staff at il vecchio how to achieve the precise timing and blending of ingredients that's at the core of traditional recipes. Saroja herself spent several months in California making sure the menu and style of cooking closely followed the culinary tradition she grew up with. And every day Carl's on hand to make sure that the very highest standards are maintained for every dish. Cooking the il vecchio way takes time and the kitchen staff never takes any short cuts.
The unique interior was designed and built by Ariele Alasko, a Pratt graduate. Using exclusively salvaged materials, Ariele took six months to build everything by hand —tables, bar, work stations. The chairs have been collected from across the country and many are authentic antiques. The restaurant seats 80 and features a massive Carmel stone fireplace built in 1950.
Along with a carefully researched and very reasonably priced menu, il vecchio boasts an excellent wine list with many Italian and California vintages not easily found anywhere, and all at modest prices.
Ci vediamo presto!