By the Gastronomes
Landini Brothers – Setting the Standard in Old Town!
The above moniker for one of Old Town’s most iconic restaurants has graced the pages of the Old Town Crier more than once over the past 29 plus years. Landini Brothers Restaurant opened their doors in 1979 and has been a favorite of the Gastronomes since the beginning. In fact, almost every new eatery that has opened over the course of the years has aspired to enticing the crowd that frequents LB’s. The place has a very loyal following. What has kept these loyal customers coming back for so many years? In our opinion, it boils down to three very simple reasons: A great drink pour, consistently good Tuscan and American cuisine and great service.
The first time I dined at Landini Brothers was about 30 years ago and I ordered Veal Landini for dinner. A few weeks ago I ordered it again as I dined with friends. I remembered how much I enjoyed this meal the first time around, but it seemed to have gotten better. This is the legacy of Franco and Noe Landini and their iconic restaurant…consistency in the kitchen has never wavered.
Landini’s is always a pleasant place to dine or join the locals at the bar. This is where the signature “Landini Pour” adult beverages are concocted. As one would expect, they serve a lot of traditional, upscale cocktails – one would be hard pressed to find another place that serves a better Manhattan, Martini or Old Fashioned. If these “old” standards aren’t your cup of tea, the bar staff are very proficient at those still popular Cosmos and Lemon Drops. Manning the bar for the most part of the week are Susan Hergenrather and Mitch Hughes – they have finely honed their craft over the years. It is amazing to watch them on a busy night. They truly are professionals.
The atmosphere and decor are unmatched for a restaurant of this caliber. Dark wood and stonewalls add a warm and secure feeling to the dimly lit dining room. There are three separate dining areas on the first floor and each room has its own personality. The restaurant is one of the most successful in Old Town and for good reason. Although they can be extremely busy, particularly on a Friday or Saturday night, the service is quick and very professional, as they serve up the best in Italian cuisine reminiscent of Tuscany. Like Susan and Mitch, several members of the wait staff have been with the Landini family for many years and it shows.
Let’s talk about the food. As mentioned above, one of their secrets to success is being consistent. Neither of us can remember when we ordered anything off of the menu because it is tough to get past the daily specials. In fact, there has been more than one occasion when someone sitting next to us orders something that looks fantastic and I’ve asked why I didn’t know the restaurant had “that” and was told, “It’s on the menu”.
Here is a sampling of said menu. The antipasti consist of 14 choices ranging from Prosciutto and Melon to Clams Casino to Grilled Squid. They also offer seven soups and often there is a soup of the day. The six pasta offerings range from my favorites of Penne alla Romana and Linguine alle Vongole to Fettucine Alfredo. These pasta dishes are also available in half orders if your appetite does not require a full order.
The seafood choices range from a variety of shellfish to the fresh catch of the day. If you like Calamari, the Landini offerings are delicious. The Veal Landini and Veal Calabrese anchor the veal offerings. The Veal Landini is milk fed veal scaloppini sautéed in butter, white wine, homemade brown sauce, mushrooms, melted mozzarella cheese and asparagus. This offering is so good that you will be counting the days till you return. The Veal Calabrese is thinly sliced milk fed veal sautéed in butter, white whine, capers and a touch of tomato, topped with ham and mozzarella cheese.
The remainder of the menu choices includes two chicken offerings, five steak choices and Rack of Lamb. Even though this is an Italian restaurant, the steaks rank right up there with anyone. Hand cut and grilled to perfection, these cuts of beef will melt in your mouth. There are some great dessert options here that will satisfy your sweet tooth if you are so inclined.
If you haven’t frequented this Old Town icon or haven’t been there in a while, you might want to put it on your holiday list of things to do. It is a fantastic place to take a lunch or dinner break while shopping in Old Town and if you need an adult beverage to get you in a shopping kind of mood, this is the place!