Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

‘Burgh Bites: Alta Via: Really Expensive

Week after week I prefer to save money where I can, so I willingly decide to feed myself no more than a few cups of ramen in The Globe office when I am on campus. Yet my immersive experience at Alta Via has made me appreciate their price tag. It is not expensive because the price is inflated, but because the restaurant can accurately serve something thought out and delicious.


At Alta Via, the customer is not only paying for their food but for the entire experience. The host brought Erin and I to a circle table that was at the end of a round booth. The table was lit by the tiniest fire lamp I have ever seen in my life and had small plates with folded tan napkins on top. I was glad that I changed my clothes from sweats to something more appropriate before going because Erin and I felt so out of place. 


Before he left, the host poured us water and then our waitress came and gave us dinner menus. On her second trip we received dessert menus. 


After taking a glance over the options, Erin and I decided on $12 Tiramisu, $10 olive oil cake and $8 gelato, which came out to about $30 excluding the tip. After a short time of sitting, admiring our view of Five Guys and noticing that the knives were on the right side of the plate instead of the left, our dessert arrived and the dish’s presentation left us speechless. 


Of the three, the olive oil cake was the busiest in both flavor and look. It had a strawberry sauce drizzled on top, whipped cream dotted on the plate, basil leaves and what the waitress said were chunks of hazel. There were so many complex flavors working together in harmony that only someone with refined taste buds could appreciate it.


While the cake was very dense, there was a crunch from caramelized sauce and hazelnuts. It reminded me of a yellow box cake except the flavor was elevated to a level of nothing I have ever tried. There was so much going on. After a few bites, I found that there were chunks of strawberry seeds and basil that got in the way of the dish going down smoothly. Erin and I agreed that we didn’t really know what to expect when we ordered an olive oil cake, but it did not taste like olive oil. It was our least favorite out of the three. 


Second we tried the gelato, which was placed in a tall glass with shaved dark chocolate chunks on top. For the best of both worlds, Erin and I agreed to get a vanilla chocolate swirl. We could tell that this was one of the cheapest dessert options. Ice cream is very simple and this was no exception. Although, the vanilla and chocolate flavors were richer than a basic ice cream shop. I wouldn’t call ahead to get a table just for the gelato, but it would hit the spot after one of the main course dishes.


Erin will not shut up about the last dish of the three, which was Tiramisu. This dessert was on a similar level of complexity as the olive oil cake, yet there was more of an expected cohesion throughout. Through the use of what I assume to be a stencil, there was chocolate powder sprinkled on top that spelled “Alta Via.” I can’t describe this dish simply. From the mousse to the cake inside, saturated perfectly with coffee, it was divine. It was 100% worth the price.

For the budget of a student, I do not recommend Alta Via, and I don’t know if faculty members get paid enough to visit the restaurant either. Yet I do know that the prices here are thought out and accurate to each dish, and if you do want to consider coming, make sure to call ahead.

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