Alma Nove, Hingham, Mass.

Wedding dress shopping trip No. 2 happened the weekend after the trek to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. My mom, sister (Martyann), and matron of honor (Liz) were all already venturing up from Connecticut, so I thought it would be good to stay somewhat local and check out a shop in Hingham, Mass., where my friend who got married in July found her gorgeous dress.

The dress shop was very cute but disappointing after my trip to Portsmouth. Instead of having dresses brought to me, I was supposed to grab dresses off the rack that I wanted to try on. I wasn't a huge fan of this system after seeing how well it worked the other way. I also ended up trying on dresses that were over my budget (luckily, I didn't like any of them more than the dresses that were in my budget). I would see my mom, Martyann, and Liz get excited over a particular dress, but I kept thinking about the dresses in Portsmouth.

After my appointment, I filled them in on how I was feeling about the dresses at this shop compared to the ones in Portsmouth and apologized for not just having everyone go to Portsmouth that day. Rather than let the day be a total waste, we all decided to go out to lunch. We weren't far from the Hingham Shipyard and I had been hearing a lot about Alma Nove, so I suggested we go there.

Alma Nove was founded by Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg and co-owners/brothers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg (yes, that Mark and that Donnie), as well as family friend Ed St. Croix. It was named after the Wahlbergs' mother Alma, who had nine (nove) children. The restaurant is right on the water and has lots of large glass windows, allowing for great views and tons of light. (I didn't see it, but there's also a patio area overlooking the water.) The cuisine is inspired by Italy and the Mediterranean and features specialty pastas, fresh seafood, and a wood-burning grill.

Alma Nove offers pitchers of some of their cocktails (I've been noticing this more and more at restaurants and am hoping it's a trend that's going to stick around), so my mom, Liz, and I shared one. The pitcher gave us one drink each with a little to spare. We tried the Cape Stoddard, which is a mixture of Double Cross Vodka, St-Germain, and Spindrift sparkling cranberry raspberry soda.

Cape Stoddard at Alma Nove, Hingham, Mass.

For appetizers we opted to share the Mediterranean chop salad and the beef carpaccio. The salad was full of tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, sweet onions, red peppers, feta, preserved lemon, and olive oil. The veggies were crisp and crunchy, and I loved how the feta coated every bit of the salad.

Mediterranean salad at Alma Nove, Hingham, Mass.

The wagyu beef carpaccio was very thinly sliced and topped with hearts of palm, a little arugula, and some fabulous fried capers. I kept scooping extra capers up with my beef.

Beef carpaccio at Alma Nove, Hingham, Mass.

I was all over the place trying to decide on an entree, but I finally chose the mafaldi with Italian sausage, roasted eggplant, fresh mozzarella, and tomato basil sauce. Mafaldi is one of my favorite pasta shapes -- it's like a skinny lasagna noodle with curly edges. I was so happy with my lunch choice. The sweet tomato sauce paired perfectly with the eggplant and sausage, and the melted mozzarella pulled the whole dish together.

Mafaldi with Italian sausage at Alma Nove, Hingham, Mass.

My mom also chose a pasta dish. Hers was a creamy carbonara-style dish made with basil linguine topped with sautéed lobster, sweet peas, and pancetta. The basil linguine was mildly flavored and not overwhelming.

Basil linguine with lobster at Alma Nove, Hingham, Mass.

My sister and Liz both got the wood-grilled sirloin burgers with homemade pickles and fries.

Burger at Alma Nove, Hingham, Mass.

None of us had room for dessert, but my mom did try a Strawberry Basil Martini -- made with Hendrick's Gin, muddled strawberry, and basil. I found the drink a bit too strong for my tastes, but I thought the presentation was beautiful.

Strawberry-basil martini at Alma Nove, Hingham, Mass.

Lunch at Alma Nove was a great way to end our girls' day out. Even though I didn't find my dress that day, we still had a great visit and some fabulous food.

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Have you been to Alma Nove yet?