My mother has continued the tradition started by my late grandmother of taking my brother and myself out to dinner on a regular basis. I thought this time around I’d get the upper hand and treat the both of them to dinner. It was also an opportunity to challenge our usual local dining choices and try something new.
It was a risk worth taking.
As we passed the packed parking lots of Lynnwood’s abundant chain restaurants, we thought we were going to have trouble getting into Amante Pizza and Pasta. We were surprised to find there were only a handful of cars in front of the restaurant during what was obviously a busy dinner rush for other establishments.
Our next surprise was a pleasant one. Amante offers a cozy, comfortable dining experience and a menu packed full of not only traditional Italian options, but several creative twists on that culinary theme. It also delivers top notch service, as performed by our friendly and accomodating server, who was happy to place a separate take out order for me to bring home to my husband.
We decided to start off our meal with an appetizer, and made the right choice with the artichoke spread. A creamy blend of artichoke hearts, garlic and cheese, the spread is oven baked and served with wedges of pita bread. We quickly finished it off.
Shortly thereafter the main dishes arrived. I ordered a pizza called “Florence,” which offered a mouth-watering combination of spinach leaves, ricotta cheese and tomatoes, all smothered in mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. My mother tried — and fully enjoyed — the putanessca, a pasta dish of olives, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, capers, parmesan, pesto and cheese filled tortellini, served in a marinara sauce and topped with feta cheese.
My brother went the experimental route and ordered the Thai House calzone, consisting of chicken breast, spinach, green peppers, and red onions in an olive oil and garlic base — topped with spicy thai peanut sauce and fresh cilantro and wrapped in a thick, chewy dough. It was larger than a flattened football — even my brother couldn’t finish it, though he wanted to.
Both my mother and myself also had trouble finishing our generous portions. We gladly took our server up on take out boxes.
It’s easy to get into the same dining habits — our family has a handful of restaurants that we go to because we know that whatever location we find ourselves at, the food and service will more or less be the same. It’s safe, but not very adventuresome. Which is a shame when you finally discover a restaurant like Amante’s and realize what you’ve been missing out on — fresh ingredients and excellent hospitality for less than what you’ve been paying at your “old standby.”