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Ama Cocina: Sharing Food, Laughter and Love

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People often ask me how I choose the restaurants I’m going to review. Sometimes I find a place that intrigues me; sometimes a friend will recommend and sometimes the editorial staff picks. As soon as I heard about Ama Cocina, I looked at their menu of Modern Mexican Street Food and I couldn’t wait to go!

Ama Cocina is known for their margaritas and beer selection, but my companion and I both ordered a glass of tempranillo. We knew exactly where we wanted to start, with the 3 Dips. We selected the Bean Dip with Crispy Fried Onions, Ama Salsa and Jose’s Queso Dip. Each of the dips had a bit of a kick, but we were presented with an array of hot sauces to turn up the heat to suit our palates. The Queso was delicious, a little nutty, a little salty, but I wish it were a bit thicker; it ran off the house-made white corn chips a little too quickly. The Salsa was fresh and flavorful. I know a lot of people like a chunky salsa, but I prefer a fine chop and this salsa fit that bill. My clear favorite was the Bean Dip. It was a little smoky and the consistency was perfect. I found that if I combined the Bean Dip and the Queso on the same chip it made for an incredible bite! We also tried the Guacamole. Unlike my preference for salsa, I love my guacamole chunky. This one had large, succulent pieces of avocado and the dip was quite addictive. When our server came to clear the appetizers away, he almost lost an arm trying to clear the guacamole away!

We couldn’t decide what to have next. We wanted one of everything. I think we came pretty close. We had the Empanadas, both the duck and the mushroom and onion. The duck was out of this world; the mushroom and onion was good, but a little too mushroom forward. It overpowered the other flavors. We also tried the Squash and Rosemary Goat Cheese Flauta. The rosemary married the squash and goat cheese perfectly and the drizzle of agave put this dish over the top.

The Carnitas featured shredded pork with a smoky-flavored bean puree and pineapple salsa to add sweetness. It was the crispy jalapeños that really rounded out this taco. My favorite dish of the night was the Mexican Street Corn. I am very fussy about this dish. It has to be charred just right; the cheese has to stick to the corn and it has to be garnished with a generous squeeze of fresh lime. This corn checked all the boxes. I think I ate every kernel.

For dessert we sampled the Tres Leches. Each layer was soaked to perfection. After a meal of spicy foods, the cooling effect of the Tres Leches was just what we needed! We also sampled a Mini Flan. It had a similar cooling effect to the Tres Leches, but was much lighter and not as sweet.

We happened to go to Ama Cocina during Albany Restaurant Week. The restaurant was incredibly busy, yet service did not suffer at all. The team there seems to move seamlessly together.

The restaurant decor is quite eclectic. There is corrugated metal, graffiti and exposed brick, and it all works together to create a hip, urban vibe.

I always find parking in Albany challenging, but Ama Cocina has a public lot directly across the street for ease in parking. Since I dined there for this review, I have already recommended this restaurant three times. It was that good. You just have to go. ■

Ama Cocina is located at 4 Sheridan Avenue, Albany, New York. Visit for menu previews, or call 518-776-4550 for more information.

Written by: Joanne DiMarco


Joanne DiMarco lives most of her life living the Good Life in upstate New York.  She graduated from Paul Smith’s College with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.  She is known for her exceptional networking skills, fund raising and charitable works.  Check out her blog at