AUSTIN, Texas — Looks can be deceiving, so when you drive by an unassuming strip mall off Burnet and Rutland, be sure to stop. It has a fine Italian restaurant where the focus is serving authentic and tasty meals.
When customers step inside Andiamo Ristorante, they feel like they are back in Italy with the ambiance and aroma coming from the kitchen.
"What makes our food authentic? Simplicity is the secret and it's just like the way we would eat it back home," said Daniela Marcone of Andiamo.
A native of Naples, Marcone brings the flavors of the old country to North Austin. We begin with Insalata de finnochio.
"The fennel salad has been our signature salad since the beginning when we opened in 2004. It has shaved fennel, goat cheese, truffle oil and lots of lemon," added Marcone.
And you can eat all that goodness up with their amazing bread stuffed with spinach, leeks and melted mozzarella. It's a recipe they played around with one day.
"And the day after we end up having the line out the door so the bread became our signature bread as well."
Andiamo's dishes are tried and true. Marcone often consults with her mother in Italy when creating new recipes. Sometimes she consults with restaurant regulars.
"Lady Bird would always come with her daughter Luci and Luci's husband Ian," said Marcone.
Luci always ordered the linguini Andiamo – a pasta dish with shrimp, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and arugula.
"And one day she looked at me straight in the eyes and she would say 'you should really name this dish after me', with my own twist. That would be crushed red pepper," added Marcone.
A quick add and there you go! The dish was re-named linguini Luci Johnson. It is hard to refuse these delicious Italian flavors coupled with a wine list that features vino from very small Italian producers.
Vegans can enjoy options like zucchini pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and all sorts of veggies.
Oh and be sure to save room for their chocolate soup. It is a warm chocolate soup with some orange candy or ginger on top. In fact, every menu item is impressive.
Andiamo has a five-star feel.
"If they really want to know what Italian food is about or if they have been to Italy and they would like to have that experience and hospitality, then come and try us. We are nothing but Italian," said Marcone.
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