Monday, 07 November 2011 00:14
Ahh, Italian food. Who doesn’t like a little bit of spaghetti every now and then?
Well, Amelia’s Fine Italian Cuisine, as the name suggests, is more than just spaghetti. Amelia’s, located downtown at 235 South Main Street right behind the Hippodrome Theatre, surrounds visitors with twinkling lamps, photos of jazz artists and light jazz music in the background—the right combination for a relaxing lunch with friends, date night or both.
By Shamika Brooks; photos by Sequoia Santangelo
Executive chef and owner Andy Fass got his law degree from the University of Florida before following his dream of becoming a chef, and his personal touch extends from the menu to his saxophone, which has been rumored to make an appearance on special occasions. He sat down with us to talk about his specials, and it was clear that he—and the 20-year-old institution that is Amelia’s—wants customers to enjoy themselves. We sure did.
The Small Things Amelia’s offers fresh ingredients and homemade dishes in a casual yet elegant atmosphere. The menu boasts quite a variety. Seafood includes calamari, shrimp, clams and mussels; fresh fish dishes (snapper, grouper, and more) are some of Andy’s favorite to make.
We enjoyed a Bruschetta and Crostini NY, and they were more than enough to share. The Bruschetta, $7, featured toasted bread with garlic, olive oil and basil, topped high with tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. The tomatoes were fresh and juicy. The olive oil and seasonings blended together nicely. It was just right.
Phone number: 352-373-1919
Address: 235 S Main St. #107 Landmarks: Behind the Hippodrome Theatre Hours: Tues-Fri 11:30am-2pm; Tues-Thurs 5pm-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm; Sun 5pm-8:30pm.
Outdoor seating: Yes. Parking: In the Sun Center.
Reservations: Recommended for dinner but not required.
Price: $$$ to $$$$ (out of $$$$)
Delivery: Through Doorstep Delivery of Gainesville, 352-224-3090.
The Crostini NY, $12, is a homemade spinach and artichoke dip with plenty of melted Parmesan to go around. The dip was surrounded by four toasted garlic crostinis. The dip was smooth and creamy, and it complemented the garlic toast well. Together, the combination was filled with bold and fresh spices.
Pasta, Pollo, Pesci! The house salad with Andy’s homemade white Italian vinaigrette followed.Light and zesty, the salad was refreshing before a big meal. We ordered the Gnocchi Sorentino, $15, a potato pasta dish with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese, and the Lobster Ravioli Alfonso ($24.)
The gnocchi’s marinara was light and fresh, and the potato dumplings melted in our mouth. The ravioli, touted as Andy’s specialty, lives up to its reputation. It is rich and creamy, and filled with lobster, creamy marinara sauce, garlic, spinach, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Both entrees were delicious.
On Tuesday, we suggest you pair your entrée with a bottle of wine. Well, wine with dinner any day is ideal, but on Tuesday’s bottles are 50 percent off.
La Dolce Vita If you’ve never had tiramisu ($6), try Amelia’s. It is a perfect square of ladyfinger cookies, espresso and mascarpone cheese drizzled in milk chocolate sauce and topped with a wafer. It is moist, light and sweet, and was my favorite part of the evening. This can be shared as well, but if you want more than a taste, then tell your friends to get their own.