Low carb

Villa Amore much more than a “restaurant associated with a hotel” | Magazine L

Villa Amore much more than a “restaurant associated with a hotel” |  Magazine L

HISTORY AND PHOTOS OF LARRY L. KUBERT FOR L MAGAZINE

While Albania and Italy are separated by the Adriatic Sea, that hasn’t stopped Florim “Florio” Ramadani from absorbing the methods and culture of Italian cooking, or his execution from creating his own personal interpretations of the classic Italian dishes.

Albanian by birth but raised in Italy, then emigrated to the United States, Ramadani came to Lincoln after operating two Italian restaurants in Grand Island and Hastings. In Lincoln, he and his nickname have been associated with several Italian restaurants, his most recent venture into fine Italian dining being the elegant Villa Amore Italian Eatery & Wine Bar.

Opening Nov. 1, 2019, on the south side of the Country Inn & Suites at 5353 N. 27th St., Villa Amore is a far different animal than most other hotel-attached restaurants.

Highlighting the vibe of Villa Amore, Ramadani says customers are surprised and shocked by his restaurant’s appearance and service – “It’s something they don’t expect from a restaurant associated with a hotel. “

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From its crisp, understated interior with white tablecloths to the attentive service and Frank Sinatra music channel, the restaurant is what an older demographic patron appreciates — calm, politeness, and good taste.

While Villa Amore’s lunch crowd is smaller, the evenings are still busy for Ramadani and his staff. Customers are generally travelers – “There are 11 hotels between Villa Amore and the Interstate, with people going to and from Colorado. And they are not interested in fast food or chain restaurants,” says Ramadani.

Dining at the restaurant also attracts customers from surrounding neighborhoods and businesses, and makes it a destination site for couples.

Villa Amore’s kitchen is a favorite hangout for Ramadani, who says he spends time in the kitchen almost every day. This would include his creation of the items on the restaurant menu. He says all of the menu items at Villa Amore are either his own recipe creations or his interpretation of classic dishes.

He cites the restaurant’s chicken piccata as an example of Ramadani flourishing with the addition of artichokes and red peppers for flavor and appearance. Villa Amore pizzas are also different, with low carb crusts that look “almost like crackers”.

From bread to pasta, everything from the kitchen is “hands-on, homemade,” says Ramadani. He adds that Villa Amore also provides an active catering business.

Bruschetta, antipasto, calamari, sliced ​​Italian sausages and mozzarella sticks ($8-$11.95) make up the appetizer choices, with house salad or Caesar salad costing $10.95.

A choice of baked or sautéed dishes are presented in the traditional Italian offerings. Baked choices are house meat lasagna, cannelloni or chicken parmesan ($14.95) and tour d’Italia (chicken parmesan breaded, cheese manicotti and four cheese ravioli, $15.95 ). Sub stir-fries include pasta and meatballs or spinach ravioli ($13.95), grilled eggplant ($14.95) and fettuccini Alfredo (chicken, $14.95/shrimp, $19.95 $).

Villa Amore specialties are 13 in number and range from $16.95 to $20.95. Choices include Cacciatore (chicken, $15.95/shrimp, $17.95/chicken and shrimp, $20.95); Tortellini ala Vodka (chicken or sausage, $15.95 / chicken and sausage, $18.95); Veal Marsala ($18.95) and Chicken or Veal Piccata (chicken, $16.95/veal, $18.95).

Four choices of salmon (Uno, Due, Tre and Quattro) are $20.95, with shrimp offerings including Prawn Scampi or Fra Diavolo Shrimp ($17.95), Shrimp and Lobster Ravioli ($19.95) and Seafood Alfredo or Shrimp and Scallop Pesto ($20.95).

Explore the Steak category to discover the 12 oz. Sirloin and fries ($21.95), 14 oz. Ribeye (28.95) and the 14 oz. New York Strip & Shrimp ($29.95). The restaurant’s 12-inch thin crust pizza options are 10 in number and range from $11.95 to $13.95.

Ramadani says the restaurant occasionally offers a specialty dish, which is promoted on Villa Amore’s Facebook page. He also says that every third Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the restaurant hosts a wine tasting with five different wines and a small appetizer for $10. He says the customers are really enjoying the event and most are also staying for dinner. The restaurant offers an extensive selection of national and international red and white wines to accompany meals.