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Amici

The 'It List'

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Amici
3343 W. Cary St. 353-4700

These days, you can order pasta just about anywhere but only a few restaurants offer the best Italian. This intimate Italian bistro located in the heart of Carytown is one of the leaders.

At Amici, the chef serves you dishes with nary a red sauce in sight. This kitchen knows its way around pasta and classical presentations, but you'll also find eggplant and roasted peppers respected; playful and serious use of capers, rosemary and lemon; and more precious ingredients like sun-dried black olives, Dijon (in a cream sauce) and pine nuts. Dining here is civilized and the service aloof and efficient.

Every time, we simply must try the homemade ravioli and choose the succulent and peppery fennel salad, one of the signatures. The sauces here are complex and uniformly excellent, but the kitchen has a light hand whether working with cream or lemon. The ingredients are always the freshest.

Ever faithful to the classics, Amici prepares an excellent focaccia and has the city's best tiramisu — almost ethereal, redolent with a coffee-Marsala flavor and sweet with

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