ONE of the best things about living in a city is that you often get to stumble across a little gem of a restaurant. While some of the busier parts are bursting at the seams with places to eat, a quick stroll off the beaten track can prove fruitful.
Amalia Italian restaurant is one of the new kids on the block – or should that be off the block. Although it is only 100 yards or so from John Lewis and the hustle and bustle of Liverpool One, it could be easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there.
The building where it lives on Campbell Square was once home to La Cubanita – a Cuban restaurant and bar which attracted a niche audience of music-loving diners. Perhaps it was too niche because it closed suddenly and the premises have remained empty for more than 12 months.
But new life has now been breathed into it with the introduction of Amalia.
The venue itself is on two levels – with a bar, waiting area and tables downstairs and an extensive seating area upstairs.
A handful of tables and chairs outside give it a continental cafe feel and one which I know will be fully exploited when the weather is warmer.
Inside the restaurant is light and airy with cool green walls and modern bright leather booths and seating. The pictures and prints on the wall are also a mixture of old and new.
On the night myself and my partner Phil visited the restaurant was busy and buzzing with couples, families and groups of friends.
The menu is a combination of classic and traditional dishes with a contemporary twist.
After briefly considering one of my all time favourite Italian dishes, Melenzane Parmigiana (£5.25) – baked aubergines, garlic and tomato with a Neapoletana sauce from the antipasti menu, I decided to choose the Calamari con Verdure (£5.75) – deep fried, lightly breaded squid and crispy vegetables with garlic mayonnaise for my starter.
Phil considered the Funghi all Aghlio (£4.95) – oven baked mushrooms with garlic, white wine and cream with focaccia bread before eventually deciding on the Crochette di Pollo (£4.95) – shredded chicken in bechamel sauce, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried.