Amali: Mediterranean Elegance

Amidst a bustling city filled with cuisine of all kinds, the Upper East Side's Amali caters to those who love the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean. A mixture of many cuisines including Italian, Spanish and Greek, the menu offers a variety of healthy, delicious menu items crafted using simple, sustainable products and ingredients.

The name of the restaurant, Amali, was inspired by a term for lands shared by the countries of Italy, Greece and Turkey, furthering the restaurant's commitment to authentic Mediterranean cuisine. The menu changes frequently, reflecting dishes with only the best in-season ingredients from local farms and vineyards. The restaurant also caters to those with food allergies, or those who happen to be vegan or vegetarian.

The menu is ideal for sharing small plates or it can easily be created to suit a three-course menu with an appetizer, main and dessert. My dining companions and I decided we'd like to share several small plates to get a flavor for the menu crafted by executive chef Nilton "Junior" Borges, who hails from Brazil.

We sampled an impressive cheese plate accompanied by a hazelnut honey that had us wanting seconds. Next, we tried an exquisite eggplant appetizer with Calabrian chili honey vinaigrette, sesame, cilantro, and yogurt. The Merguez sausage was quite a showstopper, was packed with flavor and spice. The sausage was paired perfectly with cannellini beans, a sunny side up egg, and sofrito.

What astounded me was the fact that each dish had its own flavor profile while still representing the simplicity of the ingredients.

And with food, comes wine. Amali has an extensive wine list of over 400 selections that has received awards from Wine Spectator. The friendly yet very knowledgeable staff suggested a Rosé by the glass to pair with my meal.

If you are searching for a meal that is truly Mediterranean-inspired, and that's also healthy and flavorful, then Amali is certainly going to be your perfect choice.