Though I’d recommend continuing to eat and drink through the weekend if you haven’t done so already, my stop at Nando Milano on Wednesday night was my final night of Restaurant Week meals. A midweek stop at Nando felt like a nice way to round things out, eating Italian food and sliding into a food coma afterwards. Our group had a cocktail before looking over the menu, which featured a variety of options for your choosing. I was impressed right away with what Nando was doing, which was a $39 dinner menu that featured mostly $20-$40 entrees and appetizers and desserts falling below that price point. All told, this was a really good deal for the upscale Italian restaurant. You could legitimately order a $38 steak as a part of your $39 three-course meal — so only $1 more for a full appetizer and dessert — which is impressive. Though we didn’t go that route, it was nice to see the individually priced items to showcase the deal we were getting for this year’s menu. We went with some Nando staples as a part of our adventure through this meal.

Image: Red plate sits on top of another white plate, three crispy brown fried risotto balls sit on a plate of white cheese. There's silverware in the background. Photo by Anna Longworth.
Image: Red plate sits on top of another white plate, three crispy brown fried risotto balls sit on a plate of white cheese. There's silverware in the background. Photo by Anna Longworth.

I started with the soupli ai funghi, which was three fried risotto balls on a plate of saffron fondue. Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The flavors were rich because of the cheese fondue, but not overwhelming enough to stop me from scooping up every last bit of the cheese on the plate with the crispy pieces of risotto goodness. Nando is the only place I’ve ever eaten risotto in this form — fried! — so this was a unique dish that I look forward to eating again in future visits.

Image: White plate of yellow pasta sits on top of a brown wooden table. There are green peas and grown mushrooms and sausage in the dish. There's a light brown basket in the back right of the photo. Photo by Anna Longworth.
Image: White plate of yellow pasta sits on top of a brown wooden table. There are green peas and grown mushrooms and sausage in the dish. There's a light brown basket in the back right of the photo. Photo by Anna Longworth.

The main entree I ended up going with was the rigatoni alla norcina, which was rigatoni with Italian crumbled sausage, peas, mushrooms, and parmesan truffle sauce. That, plus more parmesan cheese to cover it all up — and how can you say no to that when the wait staff asks? I do not have the self control to say no, so of course I said “please” when they asked. Though the dish did take a little bit longer to land on the table than we hoped, we were drinking cocktails and chatting, so it wasn’t too much of a concern in the grand scheme of things. I was expecting the peas to take a little more control of the overall flavor in the dish, but was glad to have it not take over entirely, but balance nicely with the mushrooms and sausage crumbles. The serving size was on point for a single person, though if you were planning to split this with another person, you might consider another dish, because this was gone before we knew it. A good sign, ultimately.

Image: White plate sits on a brown wooden table. Small white dessert sits right of a brown streak of chocolate shaped like a cresent moon. There's a silver spoon right of the plate. Photo by Anna Longworth.
Image: White plate sits on a brown wooden table. Small white dessert sits right of a brown streak of chocolate shaped like a cresent moon. There's a silver spoon right of the plate. Photo by Anna Longworth.

I finished my trio of dishes with the panna cotta alla lavanda, which was so warm and gooey, once you cracked open the fluffy outside, it just poured out and you could soak it up with the pastry portion (which wasn’t too dissimilar to flan, but had more thickness to it which I liked). The texture was great, more of a consistency of a yogurt than anything else, while the warmth of it made it that much better. It wasn’t overly sweet, and ended up being a nice balance to the end of the meal. Though I didn’t eat any of the cannoli our friends ordered, I thought it would be a nice thing to showcase here in case you’re interested in giving that one a spin.

Image: White plate with a brown streak of chocolate down the middle. A brown cannoli sits on top of it, left is a red sliced strawberry. Photo by Anna Longworth.
Image: White plate with a brown streak of chocolate down the middle. A brown cannoli sits on top of it, left is a red sliced strawberry. Photo by Anna Longworth.

Overall, we enjoyed our time at Nando, and if you're looking to dive in by way of the Restaurant Menu, you can explore some menu staples for the next time you visit.

Nando Milano 
204 N Neil St
Champaign
M-Th 5 to 10 p.m.
F + Sa 5 to 11 p.m.
Su 4 to 9 p.m.