a lavish Italian experience at Andrea

I was invited to preview the Autumn menu at Andrea Ristorante a few weeks ago where not only were we treated to delicious fare, but also, introduced to the restaurant’s new chef, Luigi Fineo, a native of Gioia.

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We began with cocktails on the terrace before moving into the dining room’s patio area. The sun was just setting and the glorious pink and orange hues were visible on the horizon as we sat down to sample an array of what the season has to offer.

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Bread service of three different types of bread arrived with foccacia, a whole wheat roll, and another with scallion. I’m told all breads are made in-house.

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** please note photos depict tasting portions **

We started with House Cured Duck Breast Carpaccio, “Cervia” rock salt, mild gorgonzola dressing ($18) — so delicate, so packed with flavor, OH SO GOOD! I could’ve eaten another plate of this!

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Sicilian Pistachio Pappardelle with braised lamb ragu ($23) was next. I haven’t had pasta this good since being in NYC several months ago. All pasta is made in-house and the difference is immediately evident when you taste it. The pappardelle has the perfect texture and the lamb ragu is rich and unctuous.

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A wheel of parmesan reggiano was brought tableside to showcase the next dish. Porcini Mushroom Risotto ($29) was poured into the wheel and mixed together so the cheese can coat the risotto before it is spooned into a pan and served to us.

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Fresh porcinis are delicate and subtle — not as intense in flavor as the dried version — while the rice was just perfectly executed. There was a hint of cheese, not overpowering whatsoever. Note that the table-side presentation requires a minimum of two orders.

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Our next home made pasta was a ricotta Cavatelli with langoustine, chanterelle mushrooms and brown butter ($25). When you come to Andrea, I highly recommend getting any pasta dish because you won’t be disappointed. The cavatelli were delightfully toothy and the langoustine so sublime. I would have a huge problem when I return because I won’t know which to order, this or the pappardelle!

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I didn’t have much room left for the Greg Norman Wagyu Tenderloin Grade 9 with roasted vegetables, cipollini onions, and bone marrow (8oz/$70) but it was a perfect medium rare and I couldn’t resist. If you’re an avid meat eater, this is definitely the dish for you!

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Chef Luigi couldn’t have known that zabaglione was my absolute favorite dessert of all time, so Vanilla Sabayon with Passito Wine Baba ($15) balsamic fig compote and whipped cream was really hard to pass up. I love sabayon, or, zabaglione, and this was like eating little bits of puffy clouds.

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My giveaway this week is  for Andrea’s Pranzo Veloce, the quick lunch which runs from Wednesdays through Sundays. The two-course menu espresso (express menu) is served in 45 minutes or less. The giveaway includes this lunch for two at Andrea Ristorante valued at $60. Leave me a comment as to why you should win this delightful prize. Please see below for restrictions.

The gift voucher expires December 31, 2013 and reservations are based on availability. Dining credit for Andrea only, does not include alcohol, tax or gratuities – not to exceed $60. Cancellations or changes to reservations must be made 7 days prior to arrival to avoid forfeiting your certificate. Certificate must be rendered upon presentation of final bill. Certificate has no cash value, is non-transferable and may not be combined with any other offers or promotions.  Some restrictions and blackout dates may apply with major restrictions during summer months.  Not valid during special events, holidays or holiday weekends. Strictly not eligible for extension.  May not be replaced if lost or stolen.

Andrea Ristorante
22701 South Pelican Hill Road
Newport Coast, CA 92657
Tel: 949-467-6800

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15 thoughts on “a lavish Italian experience at Andrea

  1. i would love the chance to relax & unwind with my husband away from the kids & responsibilities. thanks

  2. I have a reservation for Sunday to celebrate my birthday. I am excited to try it. Everything looks amazing!

  3. This place looks like a relaxing joint after a hard day of shopping down the street! So needed after the holidays, perhaps with the wife.

  4. I would love to take my mom here for a special lunch. She will be visiting this month and I know she would love to dine at a restaurant that shares a name with her favorite child (maybe not favorite, but she did pick my name!).

  5. Why should I win this lunch? I am a big fan of your blog, and dutifully read each of our review. Faithfulness should be rewarded.

  6. My husband has been driving back & forth to LA for work. It has been so hard on his body sitting in traffic that he has really terrible back pain. I would love to take him there!

  7. I would love to take my dad there! As I was growing up, he introduced me to so many amazing culinary experiences. He sparked my passion for the culinary world and is the most inspiring person in my life. I would love to be able to return the favor!

  8. I would love to just try a different restaurant! It’s hard to get my hubby out of his same ol’ same ol’ stuff but if i can win a contest, i’m sure he’ll go!

  9. i would love to win this contest to break my husband of his routines! I love trying something new and if this makes it affordable to dine in, then he’ll be okay with it!

  10. I just read that this restaurant got in the Top 100 restaurants for 2012 through Open Table. I’ve read about it all year and since I fail as a wife and gave my husband nothing for his 50th birthday this week, I think a nice romantic lunch is the least he deserves. thanks.

  11. I would love to go out and treat my boyfriend to a nice meal. He’s been so stressed with the holidays coming up and some time out and amazing food would be a good de-stresser

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