Plates bursting with color and flavor, wonderful aromas, fresh ingredients, and of course the
joy of tasting Margherita's amazing food: It's all here at the new Il Palio by Margherita Aloi.
"Using fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. This is - and always has been - what inspires me to create beautifully plated food. This is my passion and my joy." Margherita Aloi
Margherita has a big heart. She is warm, friendly, sincere, and family oriented. All good and instantly recognizable. But if you look a little deeper - when she turns the corner and heads into her kitchen - that's where you'll see her real creative genius. You'll see endless ideas, striking combinations and an exciting painter's palette always on display - qualities rarely found in the world of Italian cooking. Where do all these inspirations come from? Well it begins with the rich smells and deep flavors of the Italian Countryside where Margherita was born.
Margherita is the daughter of winemaker and farmer, Aloi Luigi Giovanni. And, as you can imagine, from her earliest memories Margherita was deeply involved with winemaking and cooking. But equally important is her training as an artist and painter. Luckily for us she realized her calling at a very early age and decided to pursue a career cooking. As Bruce Springsteen aptly said about her, "Baby you were born to cook!" And, certainly, "The Boss" was right.
In the early days there was rarely a time, as Margherita recalls, where she was not involved in helping prepare meals for her dad's clientele in the wine industry or entertaining his many friends from the local hunting club. Oh, and there were also two younger brothers who kept both Margherita and her mom active in the kitchen. And later, at the age of 14, Margherita - with the blessings of her parents - decided to attend the well-known Culinary Institute of Barolo. Here, traditions about the wine industry, regional agriculture and local cuisine are handed down from earlier generations of chefs, promoting a way of cooking -and living - that uses local ingredients and products. And this philosophy fit perfectly into Margherita's lifelong ambitions of working in the food world.
Three years later, after graduating from Barolo, things really started to heat up for Margherita. One of the Barolo judges at her final exam offered her a job at Castle of Envie, a small prestigious restaurant with only ten seats. It was a great opportunity to put her skills to work and it was located in the nearby city of Mondovi. But as fate would have it, toward the end of her first summer, a New York Restaurateur, Pino Luongo, was planning to open a new restaurant, Le Madri or the Mothers. To help launch the opening, Pino ingeniously thought of recruiting Italian mothers to New York to cook and show off their regional specialties. And in 1989, at the ripe old age of 18, Margherita was asked to participate. Again, with her families approval - and her dad's signature on her passport - off she went on a life-changing experience to the big city.
While her ability to speak English was weak - she didn't speak a word - her ability to make fresh pasta was unequaled. And that was quickly realized by Pino Luongo. At Le Madri, Pino hired her first as Fresh Pasta Maker and then 12 years later, in 1998, as Executive Chef. With years of experience and a deep understanding of how to run a New York City restaurant, Margherita was eager to venture out on her own. And in the fall of 2001 she partnered with Christopher Mazzilli to open a new restaurant, Arezzo. Located in the flatiron district at 46 west 22nd street, Margherita quickly gained the attention of the New York City food scene. She participated in many events at the prestigious James Beard House. She was the only woman to ever hold the title of Celebrity Chef in Zagat for five consecutive years. Around the same time in 2002 she was also nominated by Craine's Magazine as "Forty under Forty" rising stars to watch. Another first. Not bad for a woman who simply loves to cook.
More recently, in 2004, Margherita fell in love with a small town in southern Connecticut - New Canaan. Enchanted by the location, the pace, the lifestyle, Margherita and Cliff Pereira - whom she met and married in the early days at Il Madri - reached for another lifelong dream and purchased their first restaurant: Aloi. Here, Margherita created a new identity, a warm, intimate, cozy environment with signature fresh pastas and exquisite seasonal food. Aloi quickly became a destination and hotspot in Fairfield County. It was recognized as "One of the top three restaurants in Fairfield County" three years in a row. And in 2004 Aloi received "Best Wine List."
Seven years later, at the urging of Margherita's close friend, Bob Scinto, Margherita took another leap of faith. She visited Bob's jewel, Il Palio, in Shelton, Connecticut and instantly fell in love. For Margherita it was like walking into her hillside town in Tucci, Italy. With warm colored frescoed walls, and decorative Italian marble, Il Palio had a direct and deep connection for Margherita. So, after selling Aloi, Margherita and Cliff partnered with Bob and opened the new Il Palio by Margherita Aloi. The new Il Palio is a definite win - win for everyone. It fulfills Bob's vision of what Il Palio could be and creates an entirely new stage for Margherita's irresistible talent.]
Discover our unique collection of wines, hand selected from the best small wineries in Italy and around the world.
"Life is made of moments, sip them slowly." Aloi Luigi Giovanni
If you have an appetite for food that radiates flavor, come visit the new Il Palio in Connecticut. And if you have an appetite for spectacle, check out the thrilling Il Palio Race in Siena. Either way youíre sure to be rewarded!
A vision: Extraordinary dining in a true Tuscan setting. This was the dream and the reality that Bob Scinto brought to life right here in Shelton, Connecticut. Outside, Il Palio boasts exciting hand carved sculptures that depict the Palio Race in Siena; inside, frescoed walls are bathed in golden light and imported marble floors create a warm, inviting environment. And of course Margherita's passionate cooking will arouse your senses and transport you to the beautiful Italian countryside. Come and experience the pure simple joy of the new Il Palio by Margherita Aloi, the jewel of Enterprise Corporate Park.
Energy. Motion. Excitement. Passion. That's what you'll find if you're ever lucky enough to see Il Palio in person. This breathtaking medieval horse race takes place twice a year in the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy. At first look, the jockeys are simply vying for the beloved hand painted silk banner and the blessings of The Madonna. But wait, in reality there is much, much more. Each Sienna citizen is born, baptized and even married into one of ten 'Contrada' or districts. This goes back to the Middle Ages and you must pledge your loyalty to your contrada's team and jockey. While this loyalty usually lasts a lifetime, like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, there are strong alliances and bitter rivalries - and it's still not a great idea to marry outside of your contrada. To add to the excitement, jockeys ride bareback, armed with whips, and race 3 times around the square. There are no rules. Imagine, if your horse crosses the finish line first - even without the jockey - you win. History, tradition, pageantry, Il Palio is a thrilling event that you'll never forget. And if you decide to go to the race, start your vacation early at Il Palio, the restaurant. Youíll be delighted.
At Il Palio you'll find everything you need: custom wine dinners, creative corporate events, appetizing buffets, delicious banquets, and captivating culinary classes. We will create and cater for any occasion. Come and enjoy Margherita's passionate Italian cuisine - right here in Connecticut.
Please call Linda Murphy, Events Director:
203-944-0770 or you can e-mail Linda at
Come visit Il Palio. Taste Margherita's mouthwatering cuisine. Sip our extraordinary wines. Relax with family and friends. You’ll be delighted.