Amici’s Italian Restaurant
4 palms (out of 5)
Where: 7720 N. Wickham Road, Suite 120, Melbourne
Info: Call 321-255-5377 or go to www.amicis-suntree.com.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday
Also: Next door to the restaurant is a sweet little Italian bakery and deli that offers catering, custom gift baskets and wedding cakes. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Looking for a light lunch, served in a pleasant atmosphere by a friendly staff? Amici’s Italian Restaurant in Suntree might fit the bill. It’s a bright, friendly place with an attractive bar, comfy booths and pleasant music playing in the background.
The only problem is while there are a number of salads on the menu (Greek, spinach, chef’s, Caesar and tomato and onion) that could make for light lunching, this is an Italian place. It’s difficult to pass up the pasta.
We skipped the appetizers, though the Appetizer ala Amici — shrimp, eggplant rollatini, clams, mussels and stuffed mushrooms ($11.95) — looked interesting. My lunch companion and I had run more than five miles a couple of days earlier, and we were in the mood to carb-load.
Plus, our waiter immediately brought a basket of warm bread with a crunchy crust and a soft, spongy middle perfect for sopping up herbed olive oil.
Soon to follow were decent house salads with the standard mix of greens, dressed up nicely with green and black olives and a flavorful oil-and-vinegar house dressing.
The menu includes standard Italian fare, such as Chicken Parmigiana and Chicken Piccata, Baked Ziti and Penne ala Vodka, and Veal Saltimbocca.
The lunch and dinner menus feature similar offerings, with slightly smaller, less-expensive portions at lunch.
I went straight for my favorite, lasagna ($8.95 at lunch), and wasn’t disappointed. A generous portion arrived straight from the oven, bubbling in a small casserole dish.
Each bite was an exploration of chewy cheese, herb-filled sauce and moist pasta. While some places have a red sauce that tastes like it might have come from a jar, Amici’s tastes fresh and delicious.
My friend went with the lunch special of the day, Penne ala Amici ($10.95), penne pasta sautéed with onions, mushrooms and large shrimp.
Having grown up eating — as she describes it — “very authentic Italian cooking,” she can be picky, and many Italian places leave her unimpressed. Not so with Amici’s.
No one herb or flavor in her dish overpowered the others. They all blended together in a perfect medley. And the shrimp was cooked just right, firm without turning rubbery.
At dinner, a server generally stops by the table with a sinful array of dessert offerings. We weren’t asked about desserts after lunch (maybe because we both boxed up half our entrees), but it didn’t matter. We had other plans.
Next door to the restaurant is Amici’s Bakery and Deli, a small storefront packed with display cases of deliciousness. The bakery offers various Italian cheeses, sodas and other treats. But we were there for the cookies. There are so many, we couldn’t decide, so we went with a variety of butter cookies ($9.99 a pound), and a mini-cannoli each ($1.50).
The assorted cookies included chocolate-dipped, jelly-topped and cherry-topped, just to name a few. All were fresh, sweet and greatly appreciated by our colleagues at the office. My mini-cannoli (a regular-size one is available for $3.75) was a creamy, dreamy concoction: not too sweet, not too sticky, just right.
All in all, Amici’s left us satisfied, smiling and ready to face the rest of the day.
Contact Fleming Leonard at 321-242-3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org.