There is old-school, and then there is old-school. and stepping into Andino's, an Italian restaurant just west of downtown Providence, is a bit like stepping back into the 1940s or 1950s. Performers such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra are staples on the sound system, and the moody lighting of this classic little eatery combined with the red and white wine, the animated conversations, and the pasta and red sauce dishes might make one feel like this could be Brooklyn or perhaps New York's Little Italy many, many decades ago.
The owner and waitstaff of Andino's quite simply put other places to shame. The owner actually walks from table to table to see how the patrons are doing. This is a special touch that seems forgotten in the 21st century. The professionalism of staff is not the only special quality here, though; the Southern Italian food served at Andino's is better than most restaurants found in Boston. Those who know Providence realize that the food scene in this terrific city rivals, if not surpasses other New England cities. Andino's follows this pattern quite nicely.
Andino's lies in the heart of Federal Hill, which is Providence's Italian neighborhood. Think of this area as the North End of Boston with (some) parking. For some reason, while Bostonians know many of the eating places on Federal Hill, Andino's is relatively unknown. Odd, since this diner considers it among the best in the city. But don't let its relative obscurity lull you into arriving without a reservation. The locals love Andino's, so call in advance. You'll be glad you did, because this restaurant is a true treasure of Providence.
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