- 126 College St, Burlington, VT, 05401
- (802) 863-5200
(Published in 7 NIghts 2006-07)
You hear a lot about famiglia in connection with eating Italian, but one Burlington ristorante really begs for a baby-sitter. Even without the beaded votive candle holders and white linen, L'Amante, which translates as "The Lover," may be Burlington's most romantic dining destination. Its creamy walls, green banquettes and dark wood furniture exude an elegant intimacy.
But the décor is the least of it; the food really seduces, starting with homemade bread served with ramekins of chicken liver paté and garlic hummus. A glass of pinot grigio from the almost-all-Italian wine list goes perfectly with the restaurant's popular starter: squash blossom fritters stuffed with taleggio cheese and drizzled with honey and truffle oil.
The "primi" pasta dishes come in two sizes: order small and share to get a taste of sage-seasoned ravioli of butternut squash and mascarpone, for example, or gnocchi with slow-roasted pork, dried cherries, rosemary and balsamic vinegar. The risotto with roasted garlic and shrimp is a meal in itself.
If you're counting on leftovers for lunch, though, best go for a bigger "secondo" entrée — artful preparations of fish, chicken, duck, pork and steak paired with polenta, broccoli rabe, potato tart and other inventive sides.
The good chemistry at L'Amante is attributable to hus-band-and-wife owners Kevin and Kathi Cleary. He's the chef; she oversees the expert waitstaff. From the coat check to the basil ice cream, you know you're in good hands.