If you enjoy the flavors of Sicily, you’re not going to want to miss Sala, located just across the street from the campus of UWM on Hampshire Street. As the weather mellows in Milwaukee and we prepare for summer, connect with the sun-kissed flavors of traditional Mediterranean cooking at this tucked away gem. Sala boasts a classic, color-splashed East Side interior that blends with the charm of a mom and pop trattoria in Rome. Authentic Italian dishes are almost always simple to throw together, yet they explode in your mouth, with the fresh flavors of herbs, tomatoes, garlic and olives.
At a recent Friday lunch at Sala, I needed something Lent appropriate, so I ordered Sugo, a traditional Sicilian pasta dish that’s served in a tomato basil sauce with artichoke and Kalamata olives. Not surprisingly, the olives are what make this dish pop. A friend ordered the T. B. & G. (tomato, basil and garlic) pasta, which was also outstanding. The bruschetta, to be honest, was so-so. The mistake a lot of people make with this staple is that they over-complicate it. Keep it simple. Just use quality ingredients: lightly toasted bread, the best tomatoes and olive oil you can find, fresh basil, a little garlic and salt. That’s it.
After conquering lunch and to give me a little shot for the rest of the afternoon I went full Italian with a delicious espresso.
Make time soon for a visit to Sala. You’ll be glad that you did.