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Best Italian Restaurant

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New Yorker looking for the best Italian Restaurant in Albuquerque. It's my birthday. Please advise.

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  1. OK, this native NYer [been in ABQ for 10 years now] can point you in the right direction, but you have to head to Santa Fe. Andiamo! has what you are looking for and is well worth the trip. This one has the best ambiance for a birthday celebation.

    http://andiamosantafe.com/menu/dinner

    In ABQ, these are not fancy but good, solid food:
    Paisano's
    http://www.paisanosabq.com/images/Pai...

    Mario's
    http://sanpedro.mariospizzaabq.com/zg...

    NONE of these will be NY Italian, but hey, this IS New Mexico!

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    Andiamo
    322 Garfield Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    Paisano's
    1935 Eubank Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87112

    Mario's
    2401 San Pedro Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110

    6 Replies
    1. re: DebitNM

      Thanks. I split my time between NYC and Albuquerque. I've been here a month and have another before I go home. I use Utube to check out my favorite NYC restaurants. Di Fara Pizza, Katz Deli
      And Peter Lugar's. Pizza, Pastrami and steak to die for.

      1. re: jfmirabella

        When in Rome....When in ABQ..... 'nuff said!

        1. re: jfmirabella

          +1 on DebitNM's rec to go to Santa Fe for your Italian birthday dinner.

        2. re: DebitNM

          If you do wind up in Santa Fe, Andiamo is tasty, but I think the food at Trattoria Nostrani is vastly better; with some effort, I can cook Andiamo's dishes at home, I can't touch Nostrani's.

          Andiamo has a pleasant, affordable wine list; Nostrani has a stellar, exorbitant one. Nostrani also has a bit of an off-putting attitude, but if taste is your main driver, it's reasonably easy to look past.

          -----
          Andiamo
          322 Garfield Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

          Trattoria Nostrani
          304 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

          1. re: finlero

            Nostrani is great . . . but the anticipation of attitude issues (reported by many) that have yet to arise has been keeping the place off my steady list. Honestly, it's not even somewhere that I consider anymore, tho it's always a rec for people who ask (with the big caveat attached). I'm not sure it's the red-sauce kinda joint the the OP seems to have been craving, tho.

            But thanks for bringing it back up, amigo - I'm going to be up that way on the day my wife retires, and that might be a good place to eat afterward. :-) I would not have thought of it but for your mention this morning, and I think it would be a great fit.

            1. re: Erich

              Also, to be clear, I've personally really never had much trouble with their attitude. I've only lived in town for two years, it's possible they've mellowed.

              Yes, the no-scent policy is a little strange. Yes, there can be some wine snobbery. Yes, the service can be a little more formal than a lot of other NM restaurants. But as long as you go in with this being understood, it's really nothing to worry about.

              And again, the chow is really operating on a different plane from any other Italian I've tried in the state.

        3. Well here we go. Considering all valued recommendations I went with three friends. As I am a guest in your beautiful town, all I can say is that my experience was a near miss. Every thing I tried was close and recognizable. If I didn't have my heritage I would have said excellent.
          I think the devil was in the details. I don't know who was the chef or where he was trained but I think he should spend a sabbatical just learning presentation and finish.
          We started with Caprese and fried Calamari. The Caprese was just a salad that needed dressing.
          When I asked for vinegar, I was given rice vinegar. I requested and was given Balsamic. Once applied the dish was fine. The Calamari was small and very greasy. I think the cooking oil was not hot enough. No decent chef would have allowed it to leave the kitchen.
          Next, linguini with white clam sauce and baked lasagna. To my surprise they used little neck clams but not linguini I think the pasta was home made so they used onesize fits all. theta was an excessive amount of pasta in ratio to sauce some of the pasta was uncoated. Where properly coated the dish would have been great. The lasagna had great taste but did not have sauce within the layers. It was top coated and dry inside. Once again it would have been notable if not for minor flaws. We finished with Chicken Marsala. It was a $18.00 dish with one piece of chicken a few mushrooms and inadequate sauce. Also on the dish was a dry serving of what appeared to be linguini. This dish was clearly not worth the price.
          Desert was tiramisu and a cannoli. The cannoli was plain fried with no red wine in the pastry.
          Needless to say my experience was as my good Chowhound friends had advised me. But I had a great bottle of wine. Aqua fa male, ma vino fa contare. (water gets you sick, but wine makes you sing). This restaurant needs some Italian music. The chef needs a little polishing. Maybe the owner should check all the dishes before they are served. The service was good and friendlly. It would Not take much to bring this place up to standards. My wine and friendship was good. So I really had an Italian meal. Next time I'll tell them what I expect and I'm sure with advise we can get Paisano's there. Buon appetito.

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          Paisano's
          1935 Eubank Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87112