A Taste of Italy in Every Bite

Amari’s in Sandwich features new chef, top service and imported ingredients

By Katie Lofblad

I am very glad when I see a lot of empty plates coming back,” says Chef Gennaro Sferrazzr of  Amari Bar and Ristorante in Sandwich.

Sferrazzr joined the Amari family in March, and ever since, Amari’s has raised the culinary bar. Born in Naples, Italy, Sferrazzr attended culinary school on the Italian island of Ischia, near Capri, before moving to America in 1988. Since then, he has built a loyal following for Italian cuisine lovers across the Cape.

Amari_MG_3803Authenticity and attention to detail are the key components to Amari’s success.

“I care about the people who come in the restaurant,” says Sferrazzr. “The first step is the service. The second step is very good bread. The first bite of bread must be delicious, because if the bread is no good, you’ve already made up your mind,” says Sferrazzr. “I care about the first bite.”

Amari’s certainly doesn’t cut corners on flavor. Tomatoes, meats, and cheeses are imported directly from Italy, so true Italian flavors are never compromised. Fresh ingredients are at the heart of Sferrazzr’s dishes.

Amari’s is constantly improving its menu, based on customer feedback and new recipes Sferrazzr brings back from his yearly pilgrimages to Italy.

“When I visit my family, they cook those traditional dishes and they take their time,” says Sferrazzr. “Some dishes take long to cook, but in Italy, people take their time. We appreciate it more.”

Immediately upon entering Amari’s, you feel as though you’ve been transported to the Italian countryside. The rich aroma of sautéed tomatoes and garlic waft from the restaurant’s open kitchen. The Tuscan-style decor creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. Enjoy a glass of wine next to Amari’s stone fireplace while seated on one of the restaurant’s comfortable leather chairs. Murals painted by a Falmouth artist are inspired by photos from the Mediterranean that owner Bob Hixon took on a trip to Italy.

Diners have a range of choices from the restaurant’s large menu, which features a variety of Italian classics. My journey began with the rollatini di melanzane as an appetizer. Pan-fried eggplant is rolled and stuffed with roasted red peppers, grilled zucchini, spinach, ricotta cheese and topped with melted buffalo mozzarella and marinara sauce. Each ingredient could be appreciated distinctly and together they create a harmonious mixture—unlike anything I have ever tried before.

I also sampled one of Amari’s most popular entrees, the clams a’la calabrese, which features sautéed fresh whole clams, Italian sausage, caramelized sweet onions, roasted red peppers, white wine, Italian parsley, and a touch of hot peppers over linguini. The seasonings only complemented the perfect seaside Italian dish.

After my meal, I was presented with the restaurant’s most popular dessert: the chocolate ecstasy. A house-baked chocolate cake layered with a mocha mousse and encased with chocolate ganache—it lived up to its name! Big enough to share, each bite (which I repeatedly claimed would be my last) was more luxurious and indulgent than the one before it.

Although July and August are its busiest months, Amari’s is open year-round and serves dinner daily. Friday and Saturday evening entertainment make Amari’s a destination for many celebrations.

Owner Bob Hixon describes Amari’s as “your local, neighborhood Italian restaurant, where everybody congregates to have dinner once a week. That’s what this is,” says Hixon, who has owned Amari’s for three years. “Everybody loves Italian.”

Amari Bar and Ristorante
674 Route 6A, Sandwich, 508-375-0011, www.amarirestaurant.com

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