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Restaurants & Bars 2

Amalfi's-Traditional Italian in Bloomingdale

tony | Oct 25, 200201:04 PM

My family has been going to this restaurant for a solid 15 years and it has always been consistently excellent for a quick meal or a birthday dinner. Bloomingdale has become, in the last 20 years, a community with a sizable Italian American population as the migration from the West side of Chicago has steadily moved further west to OP/RF/Elmwood Park then to Addison and recently to Bloomingdale/Itasca and even as far as St. Charles. Needless to say there is an abundance of Italian restaurants(Villagio, Salvatore and Vincete's, Tony Spavone's{a bit mobbed up for anyone that's interested} etc...) in this town that are all servicable and generally similar in style. Not a lot of flash, no boutique ingredients, just basic good Italian American food.

Amalfis stands above the pack becuase of it's consistency, lack of pretension, good value and the solid cooking coming from the kitchen. We had occasion to host a party this week for thirty people served family style and when most places falter with cooking large quantities, Amalfis didn't miss a step. First, the highly addictive garlic rolls are served. I don't believe they are made in house, but by a local bakery and then tweaked out in the kitchen with a healthy dose of garlic butter, herbs and cheese. Served hot, they are light and puffy and just damn good. Salad was a mix of romaine, green leaf, tomatoes and canned black olives. The dressing of choice is the house viniagrette(sp?) loaded with chunks of garlic, capers and herbs. We chose the traditional minestrone, which was good, but a bit on the salty side for those sensitive palates. They also have an outstanding escarole sausage bean soup.

Oue entrees were almost laughably sterotypical, sausage and peppers, mostaciolli with marinara and a semi-specialty of the house, Chicken Scarcioff(sp?). The chicken is lightly breaded in the francasie(sp?) style with flour and a light egg batter and served with a not light butter white wine sauce along with artichoke hearts and plenty of minced garlic.

We finished with a simple lemon sorbet/Italian ice hybrid. Tart and not too sweet. On many past visits we have sample heavily from the pasta selections, most very traditional, and also the veal, which is definitely veal and not some funky dressed up pork cutlet. The small baked clams are an excellent appetizer as well. The prices are below what you would expect to pay, even in the suburbs and most meals include soup and a house or ceasar salad.

On a side note, I think this restaurant holds a special place in my heart as I was introduced to and shook hands with Ditka and Ed O'Bradovich by the original owner Tony Spavone. An exciting moment for a 13 or 14 year old in the early eighties. If I could only find the menu he autographed for me...

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