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Armani's makeover gets high marks

Armani's, on the 14th floor of Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, unveiled its recent makeover in March. One of Tampa's top special-occasion destinations since 1986, the restaurant has again reinvented itself with polish and charm. Here's a look. Laura Reiley, Times food critic

Fresh look

Overseen by Anderson Miller in Chicago, the remodel includes all new furniture in the lounge and restaurant, new carpeting, new lighting, a fresh color scheme and a substantial menu overhaul to go along with all the changes. The result is a more masculine, contemporary look that elegantly frames the panoramic bay views and the 35-acre nature preserve below.

Go all out

Guests linger in Armani's Lounge watching the sun go down while listening to live piano music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before dinner. And later, it's off to stargaze on the breezy outdoor patio with an after-dinner digestive of housemade limoncello.

Bar none

New chef de cuisine Mike Von Burg, most recently sous chef at Oystercatchers downstairs, has tinkered a bit, shortening and streamlining the Northern Italian menu and lightening many dishes. The antipasti bar is still there in full force, with more than 30 options, and the Caesar salad is still made to order at a special station. But now the wild salmon has been stripped of its chardonnay cream sauce and paired with a gorgeous pan-fried risotto cake and a spunky, herbal salsa verde ($28); the housemade tagliatelle ($13 small, $25 full size) has forsaken its workhorse Bolognese sauce in favor of an intensely flavorful veal shank ragu with tiny dots of citrus zest. In both cases, the results are more sophisticated and punchy, with an eye toward healthy preparations.

Laura Reiley can be reached at lreiley@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2293. Her blog, the Mouth of Tampa Bay, is at blogs.tampabay.com/dining.

Armani's

Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa. (813) 207-6800.

Cuisine: Italian

Hours: 6-9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Details: Amex, V, MC; reservations suggested; jackets preferred; full bar

Prices: Dinner entrees $27-$33

Armani's makeover gets high marks 06/17/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 10:54am]

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