Traditional Italian cuisine in Amarone

In a convenient downtown location with plenty of parking nearby, Amarone Italian Restaurant in Ringwood is a delicious place to eat.

Although Amarone has been established in Ringwood for many years, it has been owned by Turi – who is also a chef – and his family for 18 months.

Decor is busy, but not intrusive, with quintessentially Italian features. Dim lighting creates a warm atmosphere that lends itself equally well to a casual meal with friends, a romantic dinner or a family reunion.

The service is the perfect mix of laid-back and efficient – there’s no pressure to order quickly, and our waitress, Anna, gave us time to enjoy our evening while being attentive when needed.

Drinks were served quickly – a Peroni for Luke, while I had a Diet Coke – and then there was plenty of time to choose from the food available.

Amarone’s menu offers traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine. Entrees include the usual garlic bread pizza and bruschetta along with a selection of salad, meat and seafood dishes.

I chose the garlic bread – mainly because I wanted something other than pizza for my main course, but I find it hard to top anything bread-based. It was hot and crispy with chewy crusts, just how I like it. Luke chose seared tiger prawns with a white wine, garlic and chilli sauce, which he found delicious, if a little tricky to eat. For main courses, you have a choice of pizza, pasta or a la carte dishes, with options of chicken, veal or steak.

I ditched my usual tomato-based pasta and tried the vegetarian risotto, which was made with mushrooms, carrots, eggplant, and zucchini. It was very tasty, but light at the same time, leaving plenty of room for dessert. Luke opted for an eight-ounce sirloin steak with pepper sauce, which comes with fries or a mixed salad – he chose the fries. The meat was well cooked and, as requested, medium rare.

To finish, Luke chose the tiramisu, served with cream, while I had the chocolate fudge cake, which came with vanilla ice cream. The tiramisu was whipped to perfection with just the right balance of coffee and alcohol. Usually one with a preference for salty over sweet, Luke said his dessert topped the main – high praise indeed. The chocolate cake came warm and was a real treat, although I couldn’t manage it all. Regardless – Luke was more than happy to finish my pudding too!

Without realizing it, we had spent a few hours relaxing over a very enjoyable dinner – such a treat in our usually very busy lives.

Amarone is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner daily from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Take-out meals are also available, with the possibility of ordering online. Reservation is recommended but not essential.

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