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Restaurant lunch highlights:



A Five Star approach to lunch

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

AmeliasSFThis lunch stop is one of the oldest in Gainesville, and some of the best Italian cuisine in Gainesville. Owner, operator, and Chef Andy Fass is recognized as one of the best chefs in Gainesville. Do you kneed more reasons to try this cozy Italian lunch stop? I have plenty of reasons!

Hidden behind the Hippodrome Building in Downtown Gainesville Chef Andy can play an excellent Saxophone on request. The brick lined courtyard around the Hippodrome is the setting for several fine restaurants with Amelias Italian Cuisine taking second to no one.

I'm not sure but I think Chef Andy is the only Chef in Gainesville that will come to your table and play his favorite musical selections on his Saxophone.



The Amelia's Italian Cuisine Menu has all the Italain cuisine favorites incluiding sections of Pollo, Anti Past, Minestri, Vitello dishes listed for your consumption. There is a link to the complete Amelias Menu at the bottom of this page.



The GLOB Master isn't a big Italian cuisine eater but lunch at this lunch stop has so many special qualities even I can overlook the fact that I'm not supposed to east pasta. Amelia's Restaurant has been serving Gainesville's finest Italian cuisine for more than 20 years. Gainesville residents and visitors consistently vote Amelia's to the top of every "Best Of" list when it comes to traditional Italian dining.


Former GLOB staffer Lynn Dirk now works right next door to Amelia's at the downtown VA Offices. Lunch at this tried and true lunch stop has become a regular occuriernce for her and I was happy to assist her in her Italian lunch desires the other day.


Lynn is still trying to be an everyday vegetarian but she will often give into her old ways of a good meat entree at special times. This Amelias lunch hours was one of those experiences.

We decided to share the Supreme di Pollo Inverno, $22. Boneless chicken breast with Artichokes, Capers, white wine and lemon. We also ordered a side of pasta and meat sauce and Lynn included a Roma Salad with Romaine Lettuce, Diced Roma Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic, Fresh Mozzarells, parmesan Cheese and olive oil. $9.95.

I did have a small taste of the pasta and meat sauce. It was superb! Lynn's salad was a sight to be hold. The Chicken and Artichokes was spectacular with oozing white wine. caper, and lemon flavors. Sharing the plate was a good idea as there was plenty of the entree for both Lynn and I with a significant amount for Lynn to take home for another meal.



I think if I was going to make a list of Five Star dining experiences Amelias would be on the list. It's a small, intimate Dining room with professional services and a quaint, old world feeling. On good weather days the covered patio on the front of the restaurant is a treat with so many people walking by checking out the stores that line the brick sidewalk.



I'm not really sure if it is good or bad that I am extolling the virtues of one of Gainesville's better restaurant. I couldn't think of may things worse that this quaint, personal restaurant exploding into some kind of BIG BOX lunch experince.

The Pluses and Minuses of Amelia's:

Amelia's + indicators: Uniquely standard Italion menu.  Five start elegance in surrounding and cuisine.

Amelia's - indicators: None noted. This was a perfect lunch with good food and excellent company.



AmeliasEggplantA Former former friend that wishes to remain nameless thinks Amelia's Italian Cuisine in Downtown Gainesville is one her favorite lunch stops. "Chef Andy does a magnificent job of preparation, professional presentation and really good Italian food."  Chef Andy greeted us this lunch hour with a cordial smile and the suggestion I should try the Shrimp Fra Diavolo. The Chef was quick to point out the Fra Diavolo was on the spicier side of the menu. That's all right with the GLOB Master, my lunch consisted of fresh jumbo shrimp sauteed with garlic and spicy marinara sauce, served over linguini. The shrimp and the sauce were spicy, and they melded for a piquant, full. hearty flavor and crunch. My lunch was a three spotter lunch. Well I did have three nice tomato stains on my shirt after noon day meal. My lunch partner always gets the Eggplant Parmesan, image at right. Her lunch was a very nice presentation of thinly sliced eggplant layered and baked with Amelia's house sauce and cheeses. The lunch was excellent but with a little too much of the house sauce. BTW Zucherro's 'Diavolo in me' is an interesting music compliment to the Shrimp Fra Diavolo.

- GLOB Master


Friends, Italian cuisine create fun lunch!

zzGLOBbullet The GLOB's Eating Adventurer's Family comes to Gainesville and she is excted about showing off Amelia's popular Italiano menu to her mother.

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

My roots in Gainesville go way back in time to when the Gainesville Sun was actually located in the buildings where the Sun Center downtown resides. So when someone makes a suggestion about lunch in that very location, I jump at the opportunity.

With Amelia's Cucina Casalinga in the Sun Center behind the Hippodrome would be our lunch spot, my lunch mate let me  know in no uncertain terms that Amelia's knows how to cook Italian cuisine.

AmeliasSFAmbience, good conversation, and a friendly setting are a large part of a good lunch outing in the GLOB Master's book. So for the sake of those advantages, I was ready to look another plate of tomato sauce, cheese, and penne pasta square in the eye.

Executive Chef and owner Chef Andy Fass has been overseeing what is considered one of Gainesville's flagship restaurants since 2007.

After finishing law school at the University of Florida, Chef Andy decided concocting culinary delights was his forte, not stewing over lengthy legal proceedings. Andy the proceeded to enroll in the New England Culinary Institute.

As the executive Chef of Amelia's, Chef Andy was excited about interpreting classic Italian dishes with his own cooking style, which consists of adding freshness and a healthier meatless approach to a casually elegant dining atmosphere.  The Amelia's menu can viewed at the restaurant link below this feature.



With fans circulating the air comfortably on Amelia's front patio, we decided to lunch outside and observe folks meandering around the sidewalk that circles around the Hippodrome theater.



We started off lunch by sharing a Pompeii Salad, which consisted of romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives, marinated vegetables. The salad was bright, fresh and seasoned perfectly with a light Italian vinaigrette. There was just enough dressing left on my salad plate, that I could enjoy it on some of the different breads and rolls in our bread basket. In particular, there were toasted sundried tomato bread slices in the basket that worked splendidly for mopping up the remaining dressing.

I recognized the entrees on Amelia's menu as many of the same entrees I have experienced in past Italian cafes. My nameless lunch partner selected the Eggplant Parmigiana: Thinly sliced eggplant layered and baked with house sauce and cheeses.



Noticing that the focus of the Chicken Parmigiana , bottom left in photo at right, was a large breast of chicken breaded and baked with house sauce, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese, I decided to give this chicken and house sauce a try.

I think I picked a winner here at ACL. The house sauce was very good – the flavor of the tomatoes was distinct and the red orb's acidic juices nicely married with the accent of herbs. The bread basket again provided assistance as I used another piece of bread to clean around the edges of my plate. The star of my lunch was the very plump, tender, juicy chicken breast that seemed to have absorbed the flavors of the house sauce.

The eggplant parm won the award for VILE, as in "Visually Impressive Lunch Entree." You could see the lightly fried eggplant layered between cheese and house sauce in a beautiful impressionistic image of what an Italian lunch should be all about.

We shared our entrees. The eggplant was really good; I could taste the flavor of the eggplant and the crispiness of the battered crust.

The chicken breast, however, won the Italian taste test for me. All the flavors blended into a experience that had me shouting . . . bellamissio!



Chef Andy joined us and we had a good discussion about the Gainesville food world from the perspective of food people living the business of creating epicurean wonders.  My lunch partner's mother must have not explained the 'don't play with your food' rule to her because she visually displayed her idea of a perfect cucumber sandwich to us with her leftovers.

I might have talked Chef Andy into gracing the pages of the GLOB with a story from time to time about how his impression of the Gainesville food scene. That would be a plus for the GLOB, and GLOBers.

This was an excellent lunch. The food was excellently prepared. Amelia's house sauce and bread basket were a most excellent accompaniment to some very well done Italian lunch entrees.

The Pluses and Minuses of Amelia's:

Amelia's + indicators: Attention to detail, fresh ingredients and a contemporary approach to excellent cuisine.

Amelia's - indicators: None noted. This was a perfect lunch with good food and excellent company.



Celebrating with an Italian dinner & movie

It was a birthday celebration for Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Staffer, Lynn Dirk, and her choice was dinner and a movie downtown. It was Amelia's Fine Italian Cuisine for dinner on the patio where the GLOB Content Editor dined on Suprema di Pollo Inverno (boneless checken breast with artichokes, capers, white wine, and lemon). Good friend and Cinema Verde Film Festival Director Trish Riley joined in the festivities and dined on Fettuccini Alfredo (fettuccini with parmesan cream sauce). The GLOB Master enjoyed a delicious Scaloppine Pizzaiola (veal scaloppini, peppers, mushrooms, and olives in an extraordinarily flavorful tomato and red pepper sauce). The dinner was topped off with a birthday surprise of Amelia's Chef Andy presenting the birthday GLOBer with a slice of birthday pumpkin cheesecake and a solo saxophone serenade of Happy Birthday. After dinner this birthday bunch adjourned to the Hippodrome State Theater to watch Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, and Jeremy Irons in the Wall Street disaster movie Margin Call, a compelling fictionalized portrayal of internal discovery of self made disaster and the subsequent salvage scramble, you could say it was a case of "If it's broke, let the brokers fix it by breaking it some more." The "Occupiers" might actually be on to something.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Amelia's.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKSAmeliasTOPPERmay13

Last modified onWednesday, 04 March 2020 02:59

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: 351 373-1919
  • Address: 235 S. Main Street #107, Gainesville, FL
  • Urban GLOB Location: Downtown
  • Latitude: 29.648765
  • Longitude: -82.323914
More in this category: « Dragonfly The Queen's Arms »


  • angie
    angie Tuesday, 15 October 2013 10:10 Comment Link

    Just the thought of Amelia's makes my mouth water! I have never had anything less than marvelous at Amelia's. Always fresh and full of flavor, and the bread...oh my, awesome!! My all time favorite dish is the Gamberi alla Bettina which is sautéed shrimp with mushrooms, red peppers, and artichoke hearts in sherry over linguini. And, not to forget the Rollatni di Melenzane (eggplant rollitini) one does it better than Amelia's!!!

    Angie ;)

  • Tom Miller
    Tom Miller Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:09 Comment Link

    On point. Very nice write-up. If it's your birthday, Chef Andy plays happy birthday on the sax. That's personal attention to detail. You can not miss with the Suprema di Pollo Sorrentino. And to start, the Prosciutto e Mozzarella will blow your socks off. Chef Andy alone carves and serves this dish to perfection using fresh Mozzarella and the finest prosciutto de parma. Amelia's webpage offers menus, history, and even demonstrations of cooking techniques used by Chef Andy. Highly recommended.

  • Adele
    Adele Tuesday, 15 November 2011 23:23 Comment Link

    I am a fan of GLOB's Lynn Dirk, Staff Writer, Content Editor.
    I was pleased to read that she was able to really enjoy her birthday outing. The article has made me quite curious about trying Amelia's.

  • Jules
    Jules Thursday, 15 September 2011 16:06 Comment Link

    Amelia's was fabulous yesterday.
    I admit I am stuck in a rut with the eggplant parm.When the weather cools off I will switch back to my Escarole soup.

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