Alma Restaurant Review:
In this neighborhood of pseudo-intellectuals and coffee shops finally comes a place worthy of discussion. Chef-owner Alex Roberts' Alma (meaning soul) has quietly evolved into more than a neighborhood place, drawing people from all over the Twin Cities with its imaginative and fresh menu, designed so diners can create their own three-course fixed-price meal. (Diners choose among four of five options per course.) Focusing on Mediterranean flavors, Alma turns out seasonally inspired versions of simple dishes—entrées like roasted squash ravioli with aromatic sage butter or Minnesota Berkshire pork loin that's tender and juicy with wild mushrooms and porcini butter. Desserts here are always memorable, be it a creamy panna cotta; an oatmeal-ginger cake served with a roasted pear and ice cream; or a selection of artisanal cheeses. The setting is very calm and Midwestern: blond wood, old beige brick, an open kitchen and modest furnishings. Be sure to check out the upper loft area for some quality romantic time. The service is efficient and non-intrusive. Once overly minimalist, the wine list now offers interesting selections from around the world.