The moon hit the sky like a big pizza pie in Sarasota when Amore Restaurant opened its doors. Authentic Portuguese dishes and Italian are the theme of this one-of-a-kind restaurant, re-located in Colonial Village Shopping Mall off Fruitville and Lime.

It isn’t the first time this exquisite restaurant made its debut in Sarasota. For years, they operated on Longboat Key and then migrated to the historic district at Burns Court, occupying a two story, historical building on Pineapple where they grew to be one of the top favorites for Sarasotans, especially for its superb live music roster that features a piano bar where local, well known music artists perform such as Lounge Legend Eddie Tobin (keyboardist and singer who’s played with some of the great musicians as backup, including Engelbert Humperdinck)  and Jon Rinell (a Sarasota resident headliner who jumped from Westbury Music Fair on L.I. where he spent years in a showroom opening up for household names, to playing at top venues on the Gulf coast.

Then Covid hit. The music stopped, the doors closed (despite an ambitious attempt for drive by take-out meals), and they spent a year during quarantine like so many other restaurateurs, figuring out ways to plan their future and strategize a course of action. The result is a scaled down version of their former business, with a new Portuguese twist. Their new location and a creative menu boasts dishes from their roots in Portugal, offering delicacies called Cataplana – a word that refers to one of Portugal’s most famous dishes, as well as the cookware used to make it. A cataplana is an enormous copper and stainless-steel pot that is airtight shut and heated over a flame. It can include a medley of meats and seafoods that can’t be found elsewhere on the Gulf Coast. Appetizers include Alheira sausage, Salted Cod Fritters, Sardinhas de Peniche, and other mouth-watering dishes that can be paired with Portuguese wines.

Tito and Liana Vitorino are the husband/wife team of this wildly popular, casual eatery, and continue to offer patrons traditional Italian food options, including homemade pasta with Bolognese sauce, Salmon Piccata, Veal Marsala, Grouper & Shrimp Oreganata, and (an all-time favorite), Spaghetti & Meatballs. Chef Tito wears many hats, including Chief Construction Officer, and renovated the restaurant to provide comfort, ambience and an authentic European atmosphere. Liana added her decorating and refinishing skills to make Amore one of the most charming dining experiences that includes 13 tables as well as a large piano bar with seating for those who want to eat, drink and sing along with live musicians. Outside dining available.

There are great deals going on at Amore and other participating Sarasota restaurants called “ Savor Sarasota” that offers a $35 three-course, price-fixe menu through Dec. 22 of this year.

For more information about Amore visit the restaurant’s website. Visit Amore’s Facebook page for special offer and restaurant events.

If You Go:

180 N. Lime Ave, Sarasota FL 34237

Call for Reservations: 941-383-1111 Piano Bar Dining & Live music Wednesdays through Sunday. Ed Tobin plays Thursdays, Fridays and Sunday and draws a large crowd.

Amore has an intimate, casual atmosphere with a sprawling piano bar and live music Chef Tito is proud of his Portuguese heritage

~Andrea Martone, SarasotaEventsCalendar Executive Editor