Friday, October 19, 2007

Vegetarian dining at Andiamo Italia

This week I was fortunate enough to have dinner with a friend visiting from out-of-state. We chose to dine at the more upscale Andiamo Italia restaurant.

I had not visited this restaurant since going vegetarian, so the online dinner menu was a big help in determining ahead of time what I might or might not be able to eat. As lacto-ovo vegetarians know, Italian restaurants usually are not a problem for dining. However, lately I've been trying to eat as vegan as possible for several reasons, which I won't get into at the moment so I don't detract from this review. ;)

The service at more upscale restaurants is often top notch, and this location was no exception. Our waitress was very attentive and helpful, with one flaw -- she thought vegetarians ate seafood. :( After I informed her that I did not, she quickly indicated that the chef often will prepare a non-menu pasta primavera, which sounded absolutely delicious by her description. However, the downside was that I ate pasta for lunch, so I really didn't want to have pasta again. I'm getting married in 378 days so I've decided I need to start watching my portions more carefully in an effort to get in better shape. Since the restaurant seemed so eager to accommodate me by whipping up a non-menu item, I felt it was safe to ask for the Insalata d' Autonno (mixed greens tossed with balsamic vinaigrette, topped with apples, walnuts, dried cherries, turkey and fried chevre cheese) without the turkey and cheese, and maybe some extra walnuts and dried cherries. :) Our server was happy to oblige, but when my salad came out, it did have the fried cheese. Thankfully, it was in the shape of a ball so I just left it there and ate around it.

The salad was good, but I usually prefer my dressing on the side and I totally forgot to ask them if I could order it that way. So, the mixed greens were drenched in the balsamic vinaigrette, which was just a bit too much for me. I'm not sure if I would order this salad again. In terms of more upscale salads, I'd rather have something like the gorgeous salad I had at the Henry Ford Estate this summer. It was cheaper too! Andiamo's Insalata d' Autonno will put you back $11. In the future, I'll make sure to plan better so I can order the spaghetti with marinara sauce.

Overall, it was a great dining experience. The service is outstanding and efforts were made to accommodate my veg*n eating preference.

In a situation like this, though, it's not really about the food. The night was about catching up with a friend, and boy did we do that! Our reservation was for 6:15 p.m. and we didn't leave until after 11 p.m. What can I say, we like to talk! :) And, my friend was gracious enough to pick up the tab. Thanks, Sue, for a wonderful dinner. It was so great to see you again. Let's hope our next talk fest will be sooner than later!


Rural Vegan said...

I can't tell you how many spaghetti with marinara dinners I've had at restaurants, out of desperation! I do appreciate when the staff tries to accommodate special diets though, that's worth something.

Jason said...

I run into that a lot when eating out, too. In an effort to know ahead of time when the wait staff isn't very attentive, I always ask for water without ice. If they bring me water *with* ice, I know to describe my order slowly, in small words, with lots of enunciation and repeats. Sounds mean, but they should be paying attention! It's their job. :D

Vegan_Noodle said...

Isn't is frustrating when people assume vegetarianism includes eating fish? I just have to laugh at it now, because my list continues now with all animal products. A shock to many waiters I have tried ordering from.
I have had so many problems with salads and cheese. I always order it without the cheese and it mysteriously shows up! I usually send it back....once I could tell that they just picked it off because there were bits of cheese left....then I just sent it back for good.
Sorry for the rant. Glad you kept up your movement towards veganism and didn't eat the cheese :-)