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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A friend of mine, Phil Howort, recommended this place to us so we gave it a shot one Sunday afternoon. Like us, Phil had been to Italy and said this was the "real deal." Sure enough he was right. By the way, Arte is Italian for Art and it's pronounced: are-TAY.
This is a very small, unassuming kind of place. I think most would just keep driving right past it if they didn't know that good eats were just inside the door. There are only a few tables inside and a handful outside. The kitchen is tiny and cramped. The building appears to have been constructed out of some interesting cement or coral with shells imbedded in it.
Immediately as we approached after parking on the lawn outside
the restaurant (!) we were greeted at the door by an extremely friendly chap and
we were told to sit anywhere. We placed our Diet Pepsi orders and checked
out the fairly small menu. In addition to the menu, they had some specials
listed on the chalk board.
We ordered a salad and a Margherita pizza. That's a simple pie made with the three colors of Italy---red (sauce), white (cheese) and green (basil).
Some bread sticks arrived at the table and shortly thereafter came the salad. It was a good size salad consisting of romaine lettuce, fresh corn kernels, fresh avocado, fresh artichoke hearts (they actually had dozens of real artichokes in a bowl waiting to be prepared--pretty impressive for a little, tiny, place), really, really fresh tomato wedges and a pleasant Italian dressing. For me it was just a bit too sweet but certainly acceptable.
The pizza came and it was great. Just like we had enjoyed in Italy. It might not be to everybody's taste. It was not loaded with ingredients but it was very, very good. They drizzled some extra virgin olive oil over it just before they sliced it and brought it to the table.
They have various pasta dishes and some nice looking appetizers. Choose from several standard pizzas or build your own with some unique toppings.
Our server told us that Arte was owned by a guy named---yup---Arte and that he came here from Capri, Italy.
As best I can tell, they do not have a web site. But you'll find Arte Pizza at 109 North 3rd Street in Fernandina Beach. MapQuest it or get into the area and just ask someone. Their phone number is (904) 277-1515.
You'll enjoy Arte, especially if you've been to Italy and appreciate those great, thin crust pizzas. And their wood fired oven adds character.