The time has come to enjoy summer and all it offers. We who are fortunate to live near the ocean know that this time of the year is best spent kicking up sand on the beach and jumping into pools, all of which can create an appetite. When you wash off the sand, relive your surfside day with a fabulous view and a fine dinner at Café Amalfi.
Tucked away on the mezzanine level of the Hilton, Café Amalfi serves up an amazing view of the pool and the endless Atlantic year-round as well as a unique sophisticated and award-winning menu. The dining room is decorated in soothing shades of sand and blue perfectly echoing the vista out the wall-to-wall windows. The wine list is extensive, or you can sip an icy summertime cocktail as you watch the waves. The stomach rumbles, however, and attention soon turns to the menu.
As befits a seaside restaurant, seafood is front and center on Café Amalfi’s menu. Sadly, I’m not a fish eater but I thoroughly enjoyed the Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon—my husband especially appreciates the discarded Salmon part. As a native New Yawka, I had been unfamiliar with fried green tomatoes and a few attempts had left me unconvinced until the crispy tomatoes with bacon relish and avocado mayonnaise at Amalfi made me a convert. You can never go wrong with a classic either, especially one with a twist like the Chilled Shrimp and Avocado Cocktail with a tomato compote.
The sea-centric entrees include Southern favorite Shrimp and Grits in tasso gravy, Cioppino a fish stew brimming with scallops, fresh fish, clams in a tomato broth and Pan-Seared Flounder served with a tasty ham hash. Mahi-Mahi is, according to those who know, deservedly award winning and served with corn maque choux (translation: a delightful vegetable medley).
The menu offers plenty of options for those of us not of the fish persuasion too, including my husband’s go-to choice of either a 10- or 14-ounce prime rib or my favorite filet with roasted potatoes. Even my vegetarian daughter can savor the views while she savors Penne Primavera or rich Mac and Five Cheese, minus the optional scallops or shrimp, of course. Daily specials are also available. We have never made it through dessert as the beach always seemed even more inviting after admiring it through dinner and we were anxious to get back. Maybe we’ll go on a rainy day and try the Key Lime Pie, Red Velvet Cake or any of the other sweet temptations.
As nearby part-time residents, my husband and I take advantage of Café Amalfi for a special night out or showing off our ‘hood to visiting friends and family. We’re always impressed with the consistently professional and very friendly service of our waiters, in particular Sophia and George. In fact, all the staff really seems to love their jobs and with an “office” that special, who can blame them? A private oceanfront dining room is also available for groups of 10-20 people. The prices are moderate to high but include the ambiance, excellent service and – one more time – that view. The restaurant is also open for breakfast and lunch.