Friday, October 24, 2008

Amore Victoria

1601 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408

M-F 11:30am to Midnight
Sat & Sun 9:30am to Midnight (brunch 9:30am to 3:30pm)

Italian food? I love it! It is definitely in my top 3 as far as cuisines go. So any excuse to eat "delicious Itailian fare" complemented by a "pleasant and inviting atmosphere" (says the website) well of course I'm there. Mr. Bottenfield actually picked this one out. We had been looking for a new place to eat and landed here.

Most Minneapolites (Minnenanapolians?) will probably remember Victoria as being the ex-site of Giorgio's on the corner of Lake and Irving. However, the two look nothing alike on the inside. I was impressed by the decor, very cozy. Dim candle lit, dark woodwork, tiled floors, exposed (although me thinks faux) brick walls, tables and booths, a bar and a piano. So far so good. One thing to note however is the parking lot. Although free, it is not large enough to support all of the patrons and employees. You may have to park on the street (we did), but that's no biggy right? Also, there is no standing room when you walk in, which isn't a problem if you get seated right away and it's not a Minnesota tundra outside. We had reservations so it wasn't a problem.

Our host and our server were both pleasant. Our server was quick to get us our bottle of wine and make sure that we approved. She checked in just enough (wasn't overly nosey) and so gets my stamp of approval, aka more than a 20% tip.

A little side note: I won't profess to being an Itailian food pro, but I have visited Italy (Aviano, Venice) and the food there is everything they say it is.

Blah, Blah...on to the important stuff-

Fresh Bread $FREE
Everyone is brought a fresh basket of bread served with olive oil and fresh grated parmesan for dipping. The bread is awesome!

Bruschetta al Pomodoro $7.95 for 5 pieces and greens drizzled with olive oil
Really great. The bread was cooked just perfect. I've often had bruschetta that is too tough. It's hard to eat and does a number on the roof of your mouth. Needless to say this takes away from any sort of deliciousness it might have been able to provide you. But I digress...Victoria did a spot on job. Marinated diced tomatos and fresh parmesan cheese topped it off.

Mushroom Passion $13.95
Porcini, portabella, shiitake, and button mushrooms tossed in a balsamic cream sauce served with angel hair pasta. That's a lot of fugus! A lot of everything in fact. The portions were giant, not that I'm complaining, so you definitely get your money's worth in that area. Overall it was good. I just got a taste, but I did like it and Mr. Bottenfield liked it and that's what matters, right? The sauce, althought it was a cream sauce, was not too heavy and didn't get thicker as it cooled as some alfredo-e/creams sauces tend to get. It was a little tangy (from the balsamic) which also kept the dish from being too heavy. I guess my only 'turn-off' was the presentation. It was a lot of pasta with a lot of mushrooms on top.

Pasta in White Clam Sauce $10.95
Sauteed chopped clams and fresh garlic in olive oil, clam juice, white wine and a touch of lemon and herbs. I guess I don't have much to say about this dish. It was partly my fault for not being adventurous because Victoria has a lot to offer (I should have gone with the Fettuccine Della Nonna...Damnit). Everything was cooked fine, but I did not particularly enjoy the large chunks of garlic or the fennel in the dish. I got the touch of lemon, but there was more than a touch of herbs and it was a little overpowering for my taste. Overall I enjoyed it though. I had the leftovers for lunch.

Bottle o' Wine (Casillero Del Diablo - Carmenere) $26.00
And yes, I realize with the food choices a carmenere may have not been the best accompaniment, but what can I say-I don't follow every food rule and I'm a sucker for reds.

# of People: 2
Reservation: Yes (probably didn't need them).
Day/Time of Visit: Thursday, Oct. 23rd @ 6:00pm.
Will I be back: Yes, and I will be trying something more exciting. Fettuccine Della Nonna, you
will be mine!
YAYs!: Awesome bread, friendly staff, nice ambiance, large selection o'food (spaghetti and meatballs to sea bass to gorgonzola stuffed veal), good date place, great wine selection, not overly spendy.
Nays: Not much to nay about.
Notes: 1/2 of select wine bottles every Sunday through Tuesday (I'm hitting that up!)
Happy Hour Sun-Fri 2:30pm-7:00pm including beer, wines, rails, cocktails, and apps!


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