REVIEW

Amali

The atmosphere at Amali, a neighborhood Mediterranean restaurant on the Upper East Side, is casual and the service often far below that (on one visit, a waiter laughed when a neighboring table dropped a huge pitcher of alcohol that shot red liquid and shards of glass onto my neck and shirt and said "it wouldn't be a Greek restaurant without a spill, would it!?"  On another, a waitress was advised at the outset of the meal that we had to leave for a concert in 45 minutes and said no problem; 45 minutes later, after 3 follow-ups and a blatant lie that it was being plated at that very moment, there was still no food to be found. When we canceled our check, the waitress didn't apologize, but did insist that we pay $5 for the coffee.  Classy.)  The food, however, is lamentably good and one of the better meals you will have for the money. 

The unscripted remark was also revealing, for Amali is a pan-Mediterranean restaurant, with Italian, Spanish and even Turkish and Croatian cuisine.  But its primary animation is Greek, with light and refreshing dishes composed of seasonal vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, cheese, fish and lamb sourced from local purveyors.  Begin with slabs of eggplant, drizzled with a spicy Calabrian chili honey vinaigrette, a butcher board of artisanal salumi and a decadent lump of buffalo ricotta.  There are truly excellent pastas at Amali, the best of which on the regular menu is the linguine with smoked bacon, lump crab and sweet corn.  However, a special one evening of orecchiette with nduja sausage and apples was one of the very best pastas we've ever had.  A superb, biodynamically-inclined wine list, offers even more reason to pay Amali a visit.  Just be careful with your glass please.

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INFORMATION

Upper East Side
115 E. 60th St.
New York (nr. Park Ave.)
212-339-8363
Mon-Sat, noon-10:30pm; Sun, noon-10pm
    Rachel Goulet, Chef
    Matthew D'Ambroso, Chef de Cuisine
    Mike Mendel, Sommelier
    Francine Mace, Sommelier
    Anna Markow, Pastry Chef

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