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“Not perfect . . . but very, very good”
Review of Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen - CLOSED

Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen
Cuisines: Latin
Restaurant details
Ann Arbor, MI
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Not perfect . . . but very, very good”
Reviewed 6 October 2013

If I were grading solely on food quality and taste, Alma would earn an A. But going out to eat involves more than savoring food: there is the total restaurant experience to consider that either enhances the meal and detracts from it. Unfortunately, some elements of my experience at Alma require a point deducation. Final grade: B+.

Given the paucity of reviews and the ease of which my dinner companion and I were able to get a last minute Saturday night reservation, Alma must not yet be on the radar of the Pittsburgh culinary cognescenti. C'mon folks: this place deserves your business.

Alma presents as very spare. Unimposing and nondescript blond wood tables and chairs contrast nicely against the brightly colored walls in this rather small restaurant at the corner of Forbes and Braddock. Nothing fancy or ornate about the plates and silverware either. Quite impressive, though, is the menu with pan-Latin dishes from Cuba, Peru, Columbia, Chile, the Dominican, and Puerto Rico. And Morocco, curiously enough. For our appetizer, my friend and I ordered the pumpkin, black bean and curry empanadas and both of us loved them. For entrees, I ordered the chuletas de puerco -- pork slices served with a cilantro and jalepeno mixture and accompanied by pureed sweet potato and a few grilled pineapple wedges. My friend opted for the arepa de vegetales (beets, avocado, cabbage and other vegetables serves with corn cake and plantains). We loved every bite: my pork was tender and succulent and the cilantro/jalepeno mixture that topped each slice was delicious. The sweet potato puree and pineapple were the perfect flavor offsets. The vegetable and arepa (corn cake) dish was equally flavorful and balanced. The cabbage was especially tasty and the sugared, friend plantains provided a great taste compelement. Somebody really knows food prepartion in that kitichen (although the meals took quite some time to be served. And maybe that is as it should be in a Latin American restaurant: food isn't hurried to the table in that part of the world. Our waitress did keep us apprised of the status of our meal and did apologize for the long wait.)

If only the bartending were as competent as the food preparation. I ordered a non-traditional mojito -- this one made with a splash of pineapple juice and coconunt -- but was served a traditional mojito which the waitress quickly wisked away when she realized the error. The non-traditional mojito was pretty good. My friend ordered the caipirinha (the Brazilian cocktail) and both of us were sure that the sugar was skimped on or forgotten. The taste of the cachaca predominated making for an unbalanced and uninteresting caipirinha. She later odered a traditional mojito which was quite good. Although the bartending may have been a bit inattentive, I can't argue with the pricing: $8 or $8.50 for their cocktails (which have become outrageously offered at the $12-$18 price point in other cities.)

Nothing particulary inventive on the dessert menu, though: the expected flan, tres leches cake, and sorbet.

Tighten up the bartending and work more creatively on the dessert menu and Alma will get an A next time!

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank bigcitydiner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

13 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    5
    6
    2
    0
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Great food and drinks”
Reviewed 10 June 2013

The menu is a great selection of dishes inspired by the flavors of Latin America. The wait-staff was extremely knowledgeable and was able to provide suggestions that were spot on. Would highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of Latin American cuisine.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Robert T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Venice, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
96 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Very good food”
Reviewed 28 May 2013

We shared the sweet plantains and pork empenadas as appetizers, both very good. I had the shrimp which was excellent, my husband had the beefsteak and was pleased, my son had the pork carnitas and was also happy. Shared the sangria. Husband had the coconut flan for dessert which he found a bit disappointing as the only coconut came from some toasted shredded bits sprinkled on top. Nice ambiance and would definitely go back.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Tiogan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Pleasant ambiance and delicious food”
Reviewed 9 May 2013

We finally went to Alma this evening after having spied it from the park for the past several months. My husband and I sat outside and enjoyed a cocktail before dinner. The cocktails (margarita and mojito were standard and totally acceptable). Our appetizers of fried yucca and gazpacho were tasty. The real standout for me was the number of vegetarian options. I settled on the black bean patty with collard greens, plantains, and asparagus. It was absolutely delicious with fresh ingredients, nicely seasoned and well prepared. It was a little heavier than I would have liked but that didn't stop me from finishing the plate! The service was very good. Our only critique is that the outside tables are on busy Braddock without any fencing (or plants!) to seperate diners from pedestrians, buses and cars. It was a little noisy and smelly. But it was a lovely evening which made the traffic mostly irrelevant.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank rkf211
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Level 4 Contributor
49 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Exceptional”
Reviewed 3 May 2013

A true gem in Pittsburgh -- I don't believe there is anything even mediocre on this inspired menu, which draws from Latin food with African roots. Their veg options are among some of the best food I've had anywhere. I'll admit the atmosphere might leave a bit to be desired, but the always excellent service and fabulous food and drink offerings more than make up for it. A++++ Alma!

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Joanna M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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