Best Bites: Calamari at Amelia's, Forest Park

We hardly ever order calamari because it always tastes pretty much the same

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By David Hammond

Amelia's in Forest Park has been open for less than one year. I'd read on Amelia's website that they serve a fried salami sandwich, and that was all it took to draw me in.

We hardly ever order calamari because it seems to taste pretty much the same everywhere. It's usually fine, the kids like it, but it seems a repetitive and not very interesting appetizer.

The calamari at Amelia's was probably the most satisfying I've had. It's listed on the menu as "Port Judith, R.I., Wild Calamari," which sounds very exotic, and so made me, for some reason, suspicious – but it was fantastic.

The calamari clusters were almost lobster-like in their white seafood density, not in the least bit rubbery (a common problem with squid), and lightly breaded. They were served with rings of pickled banana pepper, which picked upon the circular theme of the seafood and also added a pleasant piquant note.

I did get the fried salami sandwich, and the salami was fine but I was a little disappointed by the squishy white bun from Turano (a place that offers some decent breads; this wasn't one of them). The menu said "toasted baguette," but it was more like a mushy roll, the kind you'd expect from Subway. The sausage seemed a little thicker than I'd expected, making it hard to bite through, which resulted in me gnawing the sandwich until it submitted, awkward.

Amelia's is an interesting restaurant with ambitions. On the current menu they have duck pasta, grass-fed hangar steak and a few other items that bespeak a vision that goes beyond bar food.  They source bacon from Dreymiller and Cray, ground chuck from Ed's Way, fruits and vegetables from Nichol's.

And they have a fine selection of beers and bourbon.

Though it's located on a somewhat depressing stretch of Harrison, Amelia's is good bet for casual dining and the menu promises to get better over time. 

Amelia's

7330 Harrison Street

Forest Park

708,366.6633

www.ameliasrestaurantandbar.com

Reader Comments

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Melissa from EmpoweredParent  

Posted: January 5th, 2013 3:00 PM

Thank you! I agree, most calamari is repetitive and not very interesting - so to know there is an outstanding calamari at Amelia's - I'll be stopping in.

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 2nd, 2013 5:01 PM

Decor was kind of wanting, FPFfFP, but I figured as they've been open only a few weeks that this will improve over time. Plus, I think of this place as a bar with a surprisingly ambitious menu, so my expectations re: furnishings were relatively low. Our service was very good, but service, especially in the first weeks of opening, is a highly variable variable.

Forest Park Foodie from Forest Park  

Posted: January 2nd, 2013 3:53 PM

I am so glad to see you review Amelia's, Dave. They are working really hard to do some stand out meals and not getting the love they deserve. We have had a few great meals there and will be back for more. Weekend breakfasts are great too. Love the beer selection and the pies are to die for. Service could be better, the decor is a little meh, but they are really working on great food at reasonable prices.

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