Angelina’s Italian Restaurant
To Susan Amato, where there’s food, there’s family.
“In an Italian family you are brought up at the kitchen table with the food and wine and the whole family. On Sundays, we used to have 20-25 people at the dinner table. It’s it’s what Italians are used to. So I thought when I opened my restaurant, I want it to be all about the food and the feelings and just everything we grew up with as an Italian. And there’s many times people will come in and they’ll say, I feel like I’m at in someone’s home having dinner. And that’s exactly what I wanted to feel like.
So to open a restaurant and to name it after my grandmother just brings it full circle.”
And you’ll fell like part her family when you dine at Angelina’s Italian Restaurant.
Located in Tewksbury, Angelina’s is a comfortable eatery where Susan makes you feel at home starting early to make sure everything is done right.
“I usually get here early in the morning, and I’ll work the kitchen. And then as soon as dinner time comes, it’s almost like the stage opens up. And then I walk around and I greet my people. People love coming in, they feel comfortable. They feel like they’re in my home. I have a lot of people that will come in and just say thank you. People will leave and they’ll say thank you for for giving this to us. It sounds crazy, or even corny. But it happens a lot. There’s some nights when people leave, I feel like I’m in a reception line and I get all these hugs. You know it’s like it’s like family just coming out to my house for dinner. It’s no different. I feel the same way here as I do at home.”
And she’s decked the place out much like her own home, with pictures of her family.
“The main dining room is filled with black and whites of my family. That’s me and my sisters on Easter. That’s Angelina, my grandmother and Bernard, my grandfather. It’s my grandparents, my cousins. This is my mother, my father, my grandmother, my auntie Jenny, my uncle Nick, auntie Helen. It’s all built around my life. My childhood growing up and which is all food, food and wine.”
And the menu is built around all of the classic recipes Susan grew up on.
So there’s appetizers like the Shrimp Bruschetta smothered in a tomato cream sauce with fresh shrimp, diced tomato, basil and spinach. Or the softball sized arrancini crispy on the outside with perfectly cooked risotto, meat and peas in the center. But the large stuffed meatball is a must order- and has a surprise inside.
“So the large stuffed meatballs. You take all your fresh ingredients your parsley, your basil, your cheese, bread crumbs You mix it all up you you have your eggs, and they’re not hard boiled eggs because you want them to be a little bit runny. When you open up that egg you want to see that the yolk just run just a little bit. It’s an experience.”
Since we’re talking authentic Italian, you can imagine pasta is prevalent. There’s the Frutti di Mare overloaded with scallops, clams, haddock, shrimp, mussels and calamari over linguini.Slow cooked bolognese presented over thick tagliatelle and something called the Pasta Roma which combines prosciutto, peas and mushrooms in a sinfully good cream sauce.
“The Pasta Roma, that’s a real comfort dish. People love that cream and cheese. It’s fantastic and especially if you like you know the combination of peas and prosciutto and cheese. It’s fantastic.”
But the short ribs are soul satisfying, slow simmered in a red wine sauce over gnocchi.
“We simmer the short ribs on the bone for hours. And by the time we’re done with cooking that, it just almost falls off the bone. It’s amazing and then we take that meat and that’s what we use with the gnocchis. It’s amazing.”
The entree section of Angelina’s menu features a little something for everyone.
There are perfectly seared scallops in a honey dijon sauce with spinach and prosciutto over risotto. Or the Chicken Elissa- a panko breaded cutlet served over pasta in a garlic cream sauce with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. And for a twist on a classic, order the Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers; amped up with the addition of Hot Cherry Peppers.
“It just kicks it up a notch. You know when you when you bite into the pork chop, and you have all those flavors going on. It’s amazing.”
But if you really want to get something special, get the 16 ounce French Cut Veal Chop. Served only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, this massive meal is made simply with a vermouth pan sauce.
“It’s the simple things that you add to a dish to make it taste better. And with our veal chop, it’s the pan sauce that we use the with vermouth and the size of the veal chop, the tenderness of the veal chop it it’s definitely worth it.”
And it will be worth your white to save room for dessert, where the customer fave is the profiterole- sauced at the table which usually causes a stir in the dining room.
“It is a show because people at another table will look and say oh, what are they doing? Because you know, they’re all going through as you’re pouring it. So everyone’s trying to figure out what is that? I want one of those.”
And when you leave Angelina’s, you’ll leave full, happy, and most likely with a hug.
“We’ll see you tomorrow night!. OK. Take care.”