Amici’s Brick Oven & Italian Bistro is located at one of Myrtle Beach’s prime attractions, the fabulous “Broadway at the Beach.” Now, Broadway at the Beach is also home to about a dozen other restaurants, so why should you bypass the steak place, the rib place, the Japanese place, the Mexican place, and the places to which the big stars lend their names and marketing influence? One word: “quality.”
Okay, you could be one of those people who actually likes chain eateries because everything tastes the same whether you’re in Alameda or Zanesville. If that’s the case, stop at one of those places. The fare is the same at the Myrtle Beach location as it is in any other city in the country. But if you’re hungry for something you won’t forget as soon as you pass through the exit door, Amici’s is the place to go.
It’s no secret that I have a penchant and passion for Italian food places. And I also disdain rubber-stamp Italian restaurants. Whenever I travel, I always seek out the small, locally owned Italian eateries, simply because they always have the freshest, highest quality and most authentic food. That, my friends, is Amici’s Brick Oven & Italian Bistro in a nutshell.
There were four in our party on a busy Saturday night. We were seated promptly and the wait staff was at once polite, efficient and friendly, something of a rarity in resort dining establishments. Drinks were ordered and delivered quickly, as were our appetizers. We chose the sampler platter of fried ravioli, fried mozzarella and shrimp marinara. We were also served a delicious plate of breaded scallops in an orange jalapeno sauce. Raves all around, especially for the scallops. Nobody in our group is much for hot, spicy foods, so we had trepidations about the jalapeno, but they were unfounded. The sauce was simply meraviglioso, the hint of jalapeno serving to enhance the orange rather than to overpower it. And the scallops – a difficult dish in unskilled hands -- were cooked perfectly.
The entrees were equally perfetto. My fettuccine Alfredo was outstanding. I was tempted to peek into the kitchen to see if old Sig. di Lello himself had been resurrected and was happily stirring the sauce. It was that good. Rich and buttery, just the way it should be. And when I asked, I was told that the sauce is not only made fresh, it is made fresh per order. This was not some sauce that had been made earlier in the day, refrigerated and warmed up. Bring on the chain restaurant that can make that claim. The pasta itself was al dente and deliziosi.
My wife was still recovering from the euphoria induced by the scallops, but she had no trouble settling down to devour her beef ravioli, one of the nightly specials. The other couple in our party was similarly engaged with plates of traditional Italian lasagna and baked ziti. Ultimately, the portion size defeated us all. But as a further testament to the quality of the food, we asked for all the leftovers to be packaged up. We then took them back to our hotel room refrigerators, where they spent the night before being carefully wrapped in insulating material for the ride home, to be enjoyed for a quick but delicious dinner after a long drive.
But the cruelest part of the evening was yet to come: dessert. As we sat groaning and contemplating the need for hand trucks to remove us from our table, the waitress brought out possibly the finest cannoli I’ve ever tasted. I was later told by a neighboring shopkeeper that one of the proprietors at Amici’s brought his mother in to make the cannoli. If that’s true, all I can say is, “Oh Mamma, lei dovrebbe essere benedetto..” (Oh Mamma, you should be blessed.)
And don’t forget the pizza! Perfect, fresh made hand tossed crust, baked in a traditional brick oven and topped with a variety of fresh ingredients. While we didn’t have pizza on this occasion, we have enjoyed it on previous visits and recommend it as among the very best in an overly crowded pizza market.
A comprehensive wine menu completes a memorable dining package.
Appropriately, the word amici is Italian for “friends.” And you’d be hard pressed to find a friendlier place at the Beach and equally hard pressed to find a better place to go to eat with your friends. Now, I’m not going to pull your leg and tell you that Amici’s is going to get five stars for atmosphere. It’s a big, busy place attached to a big, busy place that crawls with tourists nine months of the year. Don’t go in with expectations of candlelight and soft Italian music. That said, they do have a nice seating area in the back that’s a bit more secluded and has a lovely view of the waters of Lake Broadway. That area is available on request. During peak season, Amici’s does not accept reservations for nightly dining. But if you do want a little nicer atmosphere, ask for a table in the back. That space, which seats around fifty people, is also available for special events. If I were looking for a place to host a wedding rehearsal dinner or a big birthday party, I’d definitely be looking to Amici’s.
Partners Roland Sciotto and Angelo Bertolozzi have been serving delicious, fresh, authentic Italian food to tourists and locals alike from their Broadway at the Beach location for seven years. Between them, they own four other Italian restaurants in North and South Carolina. At Amici’s Brick Oven & Italian Bistro, they have created the perfect blend of authentic Italian cooking, fresh ingredients, friendly service, casual dining and reasonable prices. That sentence is partially lifted from their website, but I couldn’t think of a better way to say it myself.
Amici’s is open seven days a week for dine-in or carryout, with a full lunch menu served from 11 AM to 3:30 PM.
Experience Amici’s with your famiglia, your amore – or your amici. Mangiare e godere! (Eat and enjoy!)
Amici’s Brick Oven & Italian Bistro
Broadway at the Beach
1310 Celebrity Circle
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577