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Apr 16, 2010 06:11 PM

Andiamo's in Michigan?

How good is this for Italian?

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  1. It's not. Avoid. If you really want good Italian cuisine in Michigan, try Giovanni's in Detroit, or Cafe Cortina in Farmington Hills. Both are at the top of the Italian ladder.

    Andiamo's is a chain, and a rather lackluster one in my opinion. Wince-inducingly expensive, why-botheresque food, and generally a let down on many fronts. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people in this area support (and/or think highly) of any of the Andiamo's locations around here. As a destination for high quality food, it's a failure.

    10 Replies
    1. re: boagman

      I am with you on this one, Boag. How hard is pasta to cook anyway? It's never worth the money.

      1. re: boagman

        Eh, I think people like it because it is a local enterprise and has a history here, particularly the Warren location. The 'local' feel didn't carry over in their expansion as a chain, however, and what's left is a rather nondescript dining experience.

        1. re: tokyo

          Okay, I can spot that the "loyalty to local stuff" might be a workable theory, but the quality just isn't there from the experience I've had with them. Besides, if you're really wanting to support the local places, wouldn't it behoove you to support Giovanni's and Cafe Cortina a bit more? It seems like every time you turn around, there's another Andiamo's going in somewhere, and it just makes my eyes roll. Really? It's becoming a bit much, *especially* with the ultra-silly names they're having to come up with.

          They're so proud of themselves for serving pasta imported from Italy...too bad they can't prepare it correctly, or serve it at the right temperature, much less make their own, like the truly good places do.

          1. re: boagman

            I'm (pleasantly) surprised to see these exposés on Andiamo's. I live in Warren and there are not a lot of edible choices other than Andiamo's, in city proper. I used to eat out very frequently, and Andiamo's was not a crap choice given the alternatives. But, their prices were on the high end just for food that was nothing more than "not crappy compared to other Warren places."

            In 2006, after having already spent hundreds of dollars there, over time, I went in (alone) and the waiter asked me if I might like the "fish of the day-- Dover Sole, with a side salad, steamed vegetable and side of starch (which I can't recall)." It sounded good and was pretty good and the portion was large. Then the bill arrived: $50.00 NOT including my drink, tax or tip! That fraud occured four years ago, and I am still bitter to this day.

            It's a good thing I didn't have rainsux or boagman with me, because we'd all have pumped each other up for doing something to land us in jail. Embarrassingly, the only recourse I took was to silently turn purple, resolve to always ask the price of off-menu items in advance, and then I paid the bill and simply never again went back or bought any of their grocery products.

            In the end, they were the bigger loser in the deal, because I'm now raising a family in Warren and may have been stupid enough to have OTHERWISE spend a couple more thousand dollars on their mediocre, overpriced food, over time, assuming the Warren dining scene wouldn't have improved to offer edible alternatives (which it hasn't, so far).

            Andiamo's has edible food (nothing to be proud of), bad value and unethical business people. And, if anyone from Andiamo's wants to question my account of this fraud, I'll gladly come over in person and rehash the facts with them.

            PS---Dear Itryalot, your post has an auto-link to an Andiamo in Illinois. This should be erased, since you are inquiring about Michigan places.

            1. re: vtombrown

              WOW! Fifty stinking dollars! That is absolutely out-and-outrageous. I think that the last time I had Dover Sole was at The Rugby Grill at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, and IIRC, it *may* have been $42, about a year ago. It's now priced at $44, and it was the best I've ever had. I cannot imagine any scenario, in this universe or any parallel to this one, wherein Andiamo could prepare better Dover Sole tableside than The Rugby Grill. That's just silly talk.

              It reminds me, though, of the time I went to Hong Hua in Farmington Hills. I've not been back since, but only because it left such a bitter taste in my mouth in the same way your experience did. I ordered the Market Price fish off the menu (I don't even remember what type of fish it was, but it wasn't anything exotic...something like trout or the like), and ordered it prepared sweet-and-sour style. It was supposed to be a tableside preparation. One of the biggest problems I experienced that night was a server who, for the life of him, did not understand (or speak) plain English. No matter what you did to speak slowly, annunciate, point to the freaking *menu*...this guy just didn't understand you. It got to the point where you wanted to thump the guy's skull to see if candy came out.

              So, the fish comes...and it's wrong, of course. They'd prepared it in a different style, because Brainiac the Magnificent didn't (couldn't?) understand my use of the English words "sweet and sour". He became *very* flustered and annoyed, and the manager ended up having to come over, with the waiter *insisting* that he'd brought me the right dish, and the manager being a bit gruff with me, but me standing my ground, saying, "SWEET AND SOUR! How hard *is that*? I said it, I pointed to it ON THE STINKING MENU, and he *still* didn't get it!" They gruffly ended up bringing another fish, sloppily serving it, there wasn't anything *at all* remarkable about it, and then, of course, the denouement: remember, kids, this is a "Market Price" dish, and I *never* bothered to ask what "Market Price" was.

              It was THIRTY-FIVE STINKING DOLLARS. This was a bare minimum of 15 years ago, and I still remember it to this day. I about fell on the floor. I didn't have the gumption back then that I do these days, because today if a place tried pulling something like this, they'd be sorely unhappy that they had. I paid it, tipped a grand total of *zero* (which my fellow diner totally agreed with and understood), and walked out of there forever.

              They got me...*one time*. They'll never get me again. Believe me, VTB: I know your pain only too well.

              Hong Hua
              27925 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington Hills, MI 48334

              1. re: vtombrown

                Warren is my hometown! Have you tried that Thai place on 12 & Hoover called Amarin? It's very good - better than any Thai restaurant in my current town of Ann Arbor. I visit my folks most every weekend in Warren and I try to eat there as often as I can.

                7022 Miami Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45243

          2. re: boagman

            i am not a fan of andiamo either, but the place does have some worthwhile roots. joe vicari started andiamo in warren and it was a very good, upscale italian place. one of the keys to his early success was that he hired aldo ottaviani, who had a renowned place of his own, aldo's, on seven mile on the east side (harper?).

            the original andiamo's on 14 mile between van dyke and mound was a go to place for lunch and dinner, particularly for gm tech center workers and a slew of east side auto suppliers. these days of free-wheel spending lasted until gm hired iggy lopez in the late 1990's to run worldwide purchasing and he banned all of his buyers from accepting anything that could be construed as a bribe/kickback/gift, including meals & drinks. but original menu developed by chef aldo was very good as was the service.

            andiamo flourished and he outlasted his main competitor, ariva (on twelve mile), which failed. he was left as one of the only upscale places in warren. and his success fed his entreprenurial spirit and he decided to expand. and expand. and expand. a big step for him was opening the very upscale andiamo west in the old machus red fox. for a while, it was an "it" place to seee and be seen. ultimately, he grew to about 15 places around the city, including the more casual osterias and the short-lived andiamo pizza pie in clinton twsp. all the while, the michigan economy and his base business clientel eroded further and further. now he is down to 11 locations.

            faced with economic challenges and having a big overhead to support his empire and a big advertising budget, he has had to close under-performing stores, cut costs, and drive revenue. personally, i think the quality of the food has suffered due to cost pressures. combine that with raising prices, and andiamo has evolved into an expensive adventure in cunlinary mediocrity.

            i give joe vicari props for starting out strong and for lasting 20 years, but i agree, that they are just plain mediocre at best and way too expensive for what you get.

            1. re: xman887

              Food aside, one of the two best Gin Martinis I've ever experienced is poured at Andiamo Lakeside in St Clair Shores.

              1. re: RedTop

                Fair enough. I can honestly say that I've never tested the bar at any of the Andiamo locations, so their tenders could very well be extraordinary. For me, though, the draw of a great bar just isn't enough to get me into a place. I have a cocktail on occasion, but it's nothing of significance, and I'm usually done after one...two at the very most.

                1. re: boagman

                  boagman, thank you for the commiseration. Interesting history from xman887, too. Not sure how he knew all those good details. Though, I should point out that GM's famous Lopez reign was in the very early 90's rather than the late 90's. An additional tidbit about Lopez was that he wrote guidelines for his employees, regarding how to eat. It was entitled "Feeding the Warrior Spirit," though most of his employees probably paid it no attention. Golden Harvest nearly was a victim of that "No Business Lunches" era, but the City of Warren happened to need Golden Harvest's site for the new City Hall grounds, so they paid the restaurant a fortune (in trade) to move over to 12 Mile.

          3. Bucci, on Mack Avenue, in Grosse Pointe Woods.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RedTop

              The first time I ever ate at Bucci, the food was excellent, and I left there incredibly satisfied, but without being able to put my finger on exactly what was so enjoyable about it.

              As I've been back many times since then, I've realized that they have incredible service,but it's not overbearing, as so many restaurants can be. It seems effortless. Their staff is truly first class, and I highly recommend this place to anyone for an enjoyable night out

              1. re: itryalot

                That's because you're intelligent. I hope that you can find another restaurant, Italian or otherwise, that will be able to delight you. Let us know if we can help you with anything more specific.

              2. We went to the Novi location on Friday. The term under whelmed comes to mind. My pasta and seafood dish was overcooked. Shrimp and calamri over cooked is rubbery. The lobster bisque was too salty. For $250 for 5 people I expect more. I had better at Olive Garden.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mm23red

                  I take it that you didn't get to have any say in choosing the restaurant? I hate it when that happens.

                2. Andiamo? No, thank you.

                  I like Giovanni's, Pasta Fagioli and Bacco.

                  Something 'bout Cafe Cortina just doesn't resonate with me.

                  I still need to visit Guilio's.

                  204 S 6th St, Springfield, IL 62701

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rainsux

                    No to Andiamo for sure! And rain, I know what you mean about Cafe Cortina. We went there last year for our Anniversary(#31) and expected a special experience. Didn't happen. Very disappointing. Service was pretty good though kind of old school if you ask me. Won't be back there.

                    204 S 6th St, Springfield, IL 62701