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Mike had to be in Bellevue, Washington, for work, on our 14th wedding anniversary - which was terrible. When, with all those ups and downs, you've made it for 14 years, you want to celebrate. So we decided that I'd go to Bellevue with him and we'd at least spend our anniversary together. I looked for restaurants in the area, and decided upon Andiamo as a likely romantic place. I was pretty far off.

It's not that Andiamo is not nice; the small restaurant has a welcoming atmosphere and it's somewhat elegantly decorated with soft-colored walls, subdued lighting and a semi-open kitchen. The problem was not the ambiance, but the singer, who attempted to delight us with Italian songs throughout the meal to pre-recorded music. He didn't necessarily have a bad voice, but the whole effect was like karaoke, and it was incredibly annoying. Whatever romantic prospects the restaurant could have had, were deadened by the show. Yes, we should have walked out as soon as we heard it, but we didn't and so it was.

Andiamo's menu offers standard Italian fare, with entree prices in the high teens. We skipped the appetizers as we weren't terribly hungry, and instead went directly to the entrees. I had the pear and Gorgonzola ravioli ($18) while Mike had the osso bucco, one of the night's specials. The pear and Gorgonzola ravioli were out of this world, even though I committed the cardinal sin of acquiescing to grated cheese, which the delicate cream sauce could not support. Still, brushing the Parmesan cheese aside, this dish was delicious. The Gorgonzola and pear combined perfectly and had just the right amount of sweetness, and the light sauce was delectable in itself. I enjoyed every bite and would highly recommend you get this if you visit.

The osso buco, on the other hand, was a complete failure. First, the veal shank was cold. It had clearly been made beforehand (what you'd expect with a slow cooking dish), allowed to cool down and then heated up on the sauce. Except that it's probably too thick to heat up that quickly, and it remained cold. The sauce itself was nondescript, the flavors had been homogenized and it lacked the expected acidity of the tomatoes and pretty much any other characteristic. It was OK, but not very tasty. The accompanying saffron risotto was nice, however.

I had a glass of the house cabernet and really enjoyed it. Mike had the sangiovese and we both felt it was bitter and lacked body - we definitely would not order it again.

For dessert we shared the cannoli ($7). The ricotta cheese filling was delicious, it had a rich flavor with a light texture. The pastry, however, seemed slightly stale, as if it had been sitting around for a while.

Service was nice and friendly, and we have no complaints in that department.

In all, this was a disappointing anniversary dinner, and at $85 (after tax and tip) it wasn't cheap. I don't think that I would go back again. While the ravioli could tempt me, the Italian singer would definitely keep me away.

938 110th Ave NE # 1
Bellevue, WA
(425) 452-9602