Armando’s Restaurant is an authentic Italian restaurant serving i cibi Napolitani (food from Napoli, Italy) and a wide variety of wine. Located on 70 State St. in Portsmouth, Armando’s is easily accessible to UNH students.
I went to Armando’s on a Saturday night at 6 p.m., and I made a reservation on the app “Open Table” at about 5:15 for two people, so when we arrived, the restaurant had a table open for us immediately. However, there were a fair number of tables open, so if one were to go to Armando’s without a reservation on a Saturday night, I wouldn’t necessarily anticipate a huge wait.
The atmosphere is fit for a variety of occasions. It’s not too loud, but not too quiet. A pleasant scent of Italian food fills the air, complemented by soft lighting. The vibe in Armando’s is suitable for family dinners, work dinners, birthday celebrations and more. When looking around, I saw a variety of people dining who fit these descriptions.
To my right, there were a group of adults wearing business casual. In front of me, there was a mom and her toddler having a mother-daughter date. To my left, there was a large group of people of varying ages dressed in street clothes. Armando’s seems to accommodate a multitude of groups for several types of occasions, whether it’s a romantic date, a business meeting or grabbing a bite with family.
The service was quick and satisfactory. The hostess sat us down right away, and our waitress checked in on the table regularly and brought out food and drinks quicker than we were expecting. Guests receive a warm bread basket before dinner, which is always a bonus. Right as my date and I finished up the bread, our food came out, which left us with little time to be sad that we ate all our bread.
We both ordered “Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina,” a dish of potato dumplings with plum tomato sauce topped with mozzarella. A single side dish of broccoli was enough for my date and I to share, and it was truthfully some of the best broccoli I’ve ever had. The texture and taste were of excellent quality. The gnocchi, meanwhile, filled us both up very quickly and was cooked to a perfect consistency. The melty mozzarella balls and mouth-watering plum tomato sauce took the dish to the next level in regard to taste and overall experience.
I also ordered an Italian soda in the flavor “Tuscan Twist,” which had a strong note of pomegranate. It had the perfect amount of sweetness and carbonation; my date described it as being comparable to sparkling lemonade.
I would recommend Armando’s to any Italian-food lover who is looking for something a little more authentic than a chain Italian restaurant, but wants food options that are budget-friendly. While Armando’s does have menu items that are pricier than most things at Olive Garden, there are also dishes that are in the $10-$20 range, which is perfect for college students who want to go out without breaking the bank. Although my date and I didn’t purchase any wine, the extensive menu of alcoholic beverages implies that an of-age guest is sure to find something that suits their tastes.
Armando’s suits many types of parties, from couples to families to coworkers. Chances are, if you find yourself wanting to celebrate an event or meet with people while indulging on authentic Italian cuisine, Armando’s is more than able to accommodate you.