Central Sacramento, for all its many new restaurants, is short on mid-range places where one can get an Italian meal. Pizza places proliferate, but there are fewer restaurants that serve pasta as well.
Over the weekend, the new Amaro Bistro & Bar joined 6-month-old OBO’ Italian Table & Bar in helping fill this gap. The long-in-the-works project from the Shady Lady/Sail Inn/B-Side ownership team and Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham is finally up and running at 1100 R St, serving lunch and dinner in a historic, and now hugely stylish, setting.
Amaro offers several pizzas – including cheese, pepperoni, and mushroom with white-truffle oil – along with a pasta selection that includes seafood ravioli and orecchiette with sausage.
The eye-level focus of Amaro, located next to Warehouse Artist Lofts and a few blocks west of Shady Lady on R Street Corridor, is a highly open kitchen with a large pizza oven. Diners get a full view of cooks at work, who at lunchtime on Tuesday included Kevin Ritchie, head chef for the Shady Lady team’s ventures.
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But the real visual bounty lay above the heads of staff members and patrons. Beneath a ceiling of decorative tin tiles hang shelves of books whose covers pop in red, and House of Medici-esque paintings of Italian nobles and clergy. There are enough of the skull-capped latter that Amaro, in spots, looks like a living ad for the new HBO show “The Young Pope.” Gorgeous, old-school chandeliers complete the look.
Look for my First Impressions of Amaro in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.