By Dylan Bailey
Located amidst the beautiful oaks of Amelia Island, Cucina South is a charming bistro that brings a unique fusion of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. This Italian-inspired destination is known for its remarkable service and unforgettable dining experience. And I can safely say it did not disappoint.
The moment you step inside, you’re transported to the Italian countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of the world. The quaint design, coupled with mood lighting, creates a serene and relaxed atmosphere. Whether you are planning a romantic date night, a family gathering, or a reunion with friends, the restaurant promises an intimate dining experience thanks to its two main dining rooms, a bar area, and a stunning patio accompanied by a fire pit.
At the helm of this Italian bistro is Tim Seyda, a restaurateur with a passion for creating unforgettable dining experiences. His dedication to serving good food is reflected not only in the delicious dishes but also in the warm hospitality extended to every patron.
At Cucina South, the menu is a testament to the love for Italian cuisine, enhanced by unique Mediterranean accents. However, a meal at Cucina South is not just about good food; it’s a journey that begins with appetizers while guiding you to the main course and ends with a sweet note of dessert.
I started with the fried ravioli. Stuffed with creamy mushrooms, the ravioli is deep-fried to perfection, giving it a nice crispy exterior and complementing the soft filling. They also topped it with a beautiful sauce that accented the creaminess of the filling.
Up next was the calamari, which is a favorite among many diners. The calamari is lightly breaded and fried, ensuring it’s tender and not rubbery. It’s then served with a house-made marinara sauce that has a tangy tomato flavor, making it a perfect accompaniment. I loved how the two flavors brought a unique flavor.
I moved on to the fettuccine Alfredo, and I’m glad I did. Made with roasted garlic, cream sauce, pecorino Romano, creamy mushrooms, and spinach, this dish is a treat for pasta lovers. The creaminess of the sauce, coupled with strong flavors of garlic and mushrooms, make it an absolute delight.
To finish off the night, the seared salmon with porcini risotto was the last dish. The salmon is perfectly cooked, and the risotto, porcini mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, saffron, and rosemary, are full of flavors. This dish, though slightly on the pricier side, is worth every penny.
I wanted to try a dessert, but my waistline begged me to stop. While the dessert menu is small, the bistro makes up for it with an extensive wine list, if that’s more your cup of tea. Or glass of wine, in this scenario.
Cucina South is not just a bistro; it’s a destination for those seeking a memorable dining experience. Everything about this place is designed to make your night out feel special, from the food and drinks to the ambiance and service.
Just don’t forget to nab a reservation, or you might not be able to find a seat
Address: 4828 First Coast Hwy #1, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Hours: Wed.-Sun. (5-9 p.m.)