It seems a bit strange to call a restaurant "The Alley" when your address says Crown St, Darlinghurst. Last time I checked, that was a fairly decent "road" (or "street". Is there a difference?).
Normally I would have been a bit "okay, whatever" but I think it's an accurate name for this place, since it seems to exist in a parallel universe where main roads are alleys and restaurants from the 70s are still relevant in 2011.
It almost feels like a mistake walking into this place with it's ancient decor. Like you meant to go to a prototypical Darlinghurst restaurant but accidentally went back in time (which happens SO OFTEN to me).
It reminds me of my childhood in the suburbs. Or something. And they weren't particularly glamorous occasions (all of childhood was an unglamorous occasion, really).
The menu is standard old school Italian food, with a tinge of "people that live in Darlinghurst want to create their own dish so it's versatile". We start with pasta and it's solid. It's not great, but it's certainly not bad. For around $10/11 for the entree size (around $15 for the main) it punches well for it's weight.
The wine list isn't the best. For reds we have the choice of Lindeman's or Wolf Blass. Opting for BYO seems to be a better option next time.
Pizzas next and (again) it's solid. Not great, but not bad. The pasta is probably better.
The are meat dishes on the menu, but we prefer to keep it simple with pizza and pasta.
To finish, tiramisu. One of the yardsticks of an Italian restaurant. And it's good. A cube on the plate of decent tiramisu. What more could you want.
The key to this place is value for money. Nothing is great about this place, but nothing is bad. Hell, even the 70s decor is somewhat charming in the way it reminds me of my youth. But for 3 full courses and a bottle of wine we paid under $50 a head.
And that's pretty good value. Especially in a CBD starved of acceptable, cheap Italian food.
RATING: Will return to [?]