Sitting almost silently alongside liberty road a few miles down from the intersection at Route 32, Amante’s Bar and Café would be all but hidden if not for its freestanding marquis out front that while a nice attempt at easy publicity, also seems far too reminiscent of a bingo house billboard.
The simple brick building has a sort of rustic appeal, however the hidden parking lot behind the restaurant doesn’t help the feel that you may be pulling up alongside an unsuspecting family’s country cottage.
Once inside Amante’s, diners will discover a very small yet relatively classy little dining room that almost feels as though it were intentionally designed to be comforting and familiar. A dining room speckled with Italian themed decorations is generally a good indicator that you are about to be showered with cheap imitations of Italian dishes, but at Amante’s the décor model is to keep it simple and the less-is-more approach is mirrored in the food.
At first glance, the menu at Amante’s is a bit daunting. If you’ve been to one of the many Olive Garden clones that are popping up all over town these days then you know how easily an Italian fare menu can start looking less like a list of dinner options, and more like a Sicilian phone book.
At Amante’s there are plenty of options, but it is clear that none of them are on the menu just to fill the page. Be it the bevy of interesting pizza and pasta combinations, standard American and Italian light fare, low carb choices, and even a daily special entrée, Amante’s menu is always exciting and never lazy.
As if the large menu weren’t impressive enough, Amante’s tacks on a selection of surprisingly decent pizzas. Amidst the scramble to find the perfect toppings, so many pizza joints forget that good pizza starts with good dough, but at Amante’s it is clear that the pizza experience is handled with care from start to finish. From the fresh tasty crust to the wide varieties of topping choices, to the quality cheese, Amante’s pizza is amongst the best in town.
While some of Amante’s lighter fare can be a bit run of the mill such as the under-seasoned steamed clams and sausage appetizer or their house made crab dip with about three kinds of cheese too many, it is hard to go wrong with the entrees, especially their signature pasta dishes.
If you want to keep the night rolling after dinner, or you’re just looking for a fun spot to get a little rowdy, well then you’re in luck because downstairs at Amante’s there just so happens to be a sports bar that like its upstairs counterpart makes up for its lack of size with its welcoming atmosphere.
The bar area is small and simple with sports themed décor, several television screens to watch your game of choice and a nice selection of beers on tap including a tasty house amber microbrew and a seldom seen chocolate oatmeal stout.
While the loud music and upbeat feel of the bar is in effect the exact opposite atmosphere of the relaxing, quiet dining room, both manage to provide an experience that far exceeds their face values.
While Amante’s may not look like much from afar, those of you who take the time to give it a try will find out quickly that this little eatery is much more than meets the eye.