Yes, ordinarily «Vado al ristorante.» would be translated as “I am going to the restaurant.”
Italian does have a separate present progressive tense+aspect, formed with the auxiliary ‘stare’=“to be”, followed by the gerund of the main verb.
In Italian (as in Spanish), the progressive aspect is only used to emphasize that an action is ongoing, either right now, or as a background process.
In English, in contrast, the present progressive aspect is the default for action verbs, the simple present being used only for habitual or regular action or in narrative sequences.
The auxiliary ‘stare’ is conjugated in the present tense as:
• io sto
• tu stai
• lui|lei sta
• noi stiamo
• voi state
• loro stanno
The gerund can be formed from the infinitive by substituting the endings as follows:
• -are → -ando
• -ere → -endo
• -ire → -endo
For example «Sto andando al ristorante.» = “I'm [in the middle of] going to the restaurant.”.
i is for certain masculine plurals. "ristorante" is masculine but singular. If it were the plural "ristoranti", then it would be
On the internet. There are many of them - all you have to do is search for what you want to know in specific terms. Different sources have differing quality of articles on various topics, so one source is not always the best. Amazon.com probably has plenty of books on Italian grammar - just get one that was edited recently.
why does andare translate to so many words that don't seem to even correlate with it like va and vado? Most other words at least have a similar look when you are describing the party the word is describing like "We look" is "Guardiamo" which makes sense since to look is guardare yet I don't see any (v)s in andare.
"Andare" conjugates into different forms. English doesn't conjugate as thoroughly as other languages do, but for example we have "I go" and "he goes".
As for the conjugations not looking like the infinitive, English has "to be" and "am/is/are/was/were". Or the past tense of "to go", which is "went". Irregular verbs happen for historical reasons. Sometimes it's a whole bunch of sound change as the language evolves, but a lot of times it's something called suppletion, which basically just means the root inflects unpredictably, often because early in, a different word was brought in and they merged semantically.
Italian evolved from Latin, and this word was irregular in Latin.
Andare is "to go"; "I go" is "vado".
Vedere is "to see"; "I see" is "vedo".
Most -- not all, but most -- verbs in Italian are regular, which means that if you know the infinitive, you can apply a simple template and know the conjugation.
It has been explained on this page a few times, however, that andare is irregular, and the present indicative looks like this:
There's a bit of confusion in DuoLingo's head about the present simple 'I go to the restaurant' and present continuous "I am going to the restaurant.' Agreed, they both translate 'Vado al ristorante.'
I cannot, however remember ever in the last 60 years using the sentence 'I go to the restaurant' because it is only used when done regularly, habitually. E.g. 'I go the restaurant every Friday..'