|2521 Rutland Drive
Austin, TX 78758
As I’ve often lamented on radio and TV, north Austin is not exactly a hotbed of fine dining opportunities. But there are a few notable exceptions, one of them being the subject of today’s review. I refer of course to Andiamo, a nice little Italian restaurant at the corner of Rutland and Burnet.
I love the name Andiamo. It’s what they always say in Italian movies, and it’s the rough equivalent of saying, “Let’s get going.” So let’s indeed get going and take a look at what makes this place so special.
You have to start with owner Daniella Maracone who hails from Naples, Italy. She’s hospitable and passionate about her restaurant and customers.
And it’s hard to ignore the wonderfully prepared appetizers or “antipasti.” I love the Polenta al Forno. Polenta is essentially cornmeal and al forno means baked in the oven. It’s topped with mushrooms and a Gorgonzola cream sauce. Delizioso! Likewise the Calamari Fritti tossed with anchovies sea salt and fresh leeks. What I love about the flavor if this dish is that it comes entirely from its simple components. And isn’t that always the beauty of Italian cuisine: less is more?
And then there’s my personal favorite, a must-order on each visit. And that’s the Capesante dello Chef. This begins with seared sea scallops shallots, capers and a marvelous brandy cream sauce with a touch of balsamic vinegar. There’s way more than a touch of flavor in this dish. The brandy cream sauce lights it up, and the texture of the scallops is perfect.
The Primi Piatti or pasta dishes resonate with delightful tastes at Andiamo. The Gnocchi al Sugo de Noci has to be my favorite in the city since Will Packwood retired.
Gnocchi are little dumplings made from potatoes here at Andiamo and the killer sauce makes them irresistible. The other key is the texture. They can’t be too soft and they are spot on here. Another pasta dish that’s hard to pass on is the Ravioli alla Aragosta. Anyone got a problem with ravioili stuffed with minced lobster and served in a vodka cream sauce? Didn’t think so!
The Primi Secondi are the meat and fish dishes. And there are some stellar choices here as well. The Gamberi con Spinachi is a great dish featuring sauteed shrimp with saffron and perfectly wilted spinach. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that the various components of this dish connect, and man do they ever at Andiamo. I also like the Veal Porcini so much that they actually named it after me on the menu. Alas, it won’t be back until the fall so we shall have to wait. But the Scallopini al la Rosemarino is in! And highly recommended. The tender scallops of veal in a rosemary lemon butter sauce have a tremendous first bite flavor rush that later evolves in to more nuanced and subtle goodness.
They have a very reasonable and thoughtful wine list at Andiamo. I love the San Genovese selection, and they have some nice Chinati as well. They drink well in this comfortable and intimate environment, and I suspect you will eat and drink well here also.