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Food from the lunch buffet at Amelia’s Pizzeria & Restaurant located at 1130 Cambria St. N.E. in Christiansburg. Featured item this day was eggplant parmesan, baked lasagna, cheese steak, pasta, house salad and a drink, included.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Amelia’s Pizzeria & Restaurant , which is located in what was once a convenience store in Christiansburg, always seems to be busy. After several visits, it was obvious to us that Amelia’s has become a favorite gathering place for friends and families.
The huge, sparsely decorated dining area is filled with tables that can be pulled together to accommodate large groups. The tables do not sport tablecloths, which contributes to the general noise level in the dining area. But this is a place to sit and visit, so conversation is expected.
The service staff at Amelia’s is friendly, quick to seat guests and eager to help with the extensive menu. We think it is a real plus when servers seem to enjoy their job and want to make your visit pleasant.
The menu at Amelia’s begins with appetizers, including Buffalo wings, potato skins, cheese fries, jalapeno poppers, caprese salad, fried calamari and mussels capitano, or mussels sauteed with lemon, garlic, butter and wine . The menu also has sections for salads, subs, burgers, soups, pasta classics, seafood, chicken dishes, hand-tossed pizza, calzones, stromboli, kids’ choices and desserts. Dinner entrees include a salad and bread.
We started with beer-battered fried mushrooms ($3.75) and enjoyed the crispy shelld and hot, juicy mushrooms within. The bruschetta ($5.75) was a crisp, round pizza crust generously topped with chopped tomato, basil and garlic, but the kitchen staff was too generous with the olive oil and the garlic was bitter.
The house salad was cool and crisp . A Caesar salad was ordered but a house salad appeared, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and served with a plastic cup of Caesar dressing. The small loaf of house-baked bread was consistently fresh and hot .
One dinner guest ordered the pasta sampler with lasagna, chicken Parmesan and eggplant Parmesan ($10.95). When the food arrived, he could not distinguish between the dishes because they were smothered with marinara sauce. Another sampler with stuffed shells, cheese tortellini and sausage Parmesan had the same appearance. The portions were generous, but the cover of marinara made everything taste the same .
Lobster ravioli ($14.25) with jumbo shrimp and broccoli in a rose sauce could have been a star attraction. The ravioli were green-striped and full of a creamy lobster mixture. The sauce was a light red, which, applied sparingly, could have made the ravioli, shrimp and broccoli pop on the plate. Instead, the tasty sauce covered the other vibrant colors on the plate. In addition, the shrimp were undercooked, making the dish a disappointment.
Chicken eggplant Florentine ($12.95) consisted of breaded eggplant under a grilled chicken breast , all smothered with sauteed spinach and cheese. But the eggplant had a sweet flavor (Marsala wine, perhaps?) that clashed with the chicken and spinach.
One night we took home a pizza and chocolate-covered cannoli. By the time we opened the box in our kitchen, the pizza crust was soggy and had to be eaten with a fork. The cannoli filling was rich and sweet, but the shell was hard and difficult to manage.
Amelia’s definitely has fans, as proven by the many people who crowd the dining room each night. The generous portions and friendly service are a plus , but the food left us hoping it would be better next time.
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