Recommend best Alfredo/Parmesan cream/Garlic cream/White cream-based sauce dishes in Austin
I am a ravenous fanatic of alfredo/parmesan cream/white cream based sauce pasta dishes and I'm hoping for some new suggestions here.
I am particularly a fanatic of fettucine alfredo and I have tried probably a good 80-85% of all strictly Alfredo dishes that Austin has to offer, including but not limited to the following (I will list the restaurants where I tried fettucine alfredo or parmesan cream sauce pasta dishes):
Carrabba's Italian Grill - A chain but surprisingly I am a fan of their fettucine alfredo. There is some super savory component of their alfredo dish that keeps me coming back
Ciola's Italian-American Grill - Really great garlic fettucine alfredo with chicken. I was turned off by the abundance of cigarette smoking, though. The place is small so the smoke from the bar easily wafts over to the "non smoking" section. A real turn off - I like to smell my food when I eat it. this is the only reason I have not returned to ciola's, but for those of you who aren't bothered by this I would give it a shot.
Vespaio - An OK pasta dish. There were crispy bits of pancetta which were really great. However, the pasta (angel hair) and sauce itself were VERY reminiscent of Pasta Roni's angel hair pasta with parmesan cream sauce. The taste was almost exact. Granted, I am actually a fan of Pasta Roni products (call it a "cheap" palate but never judge food based on price. If it tastes good I will eat it). But, for a reasonably priced pasta dish I was not too satisfied. I could've gotten a similar result by making an 89 cent box of Pasta Roni.
Macaroni Grill - Fettucine alfredo with chicken is EXTREMELY inconsistent here. There are some days where the sauce will be really "sticky" and flavourful. On these occassions the alfredo dish is really great. Other times, though, there will be almost no sauce or the sauce will be too watery and it pretty much destroys the dish in my opinion. I will go here sometimes to
California PIzza Kitchen - Another chain. Don't bother getting the garlic cream fettucine with chicken. It is utter garbage in my opinion. One time I ordered this dish and about 1/5 of the dish consisted of a semi-cold BLOCK of pasta and "hard" sauce. Absolutely disgusting. It was very clear that all they do is heat up a block of premade FROZEN pasta already mixed with at least some components of sauce. Admittedly I used to enjoy this dish a lot. There came a day however, that the dish seemed to be completely revamped (maybe in terms of recipe, maybe in terms of preparation/how they package it).
Reale's pizza and cafe - was not really a fan of the fettucine alfredo. I've heard the fettucine primavera - where they add some olive oil and garlic - is better, but I'm not really jumping out of my seat to go back and try it again.
**Chez Zee - this is probably the best fettucine alfredo with chicken that I've had thus far. The chicken consistently has a "fresh" taste to it and the sauce is just perfect.
Cheesecake factory - This post has been chain central so far - I apologize. I used to enjoy their fettucine with garlic cream sauce with chicken (and no sundried tomatoes) but at some point they DRASTICALLY revamped their recipe. The garlic cream sauce that I used to know and enjoy has taken a turn for the worst in my opinion. I don't know enough about food to pinpoint exactly what it is, though.
Treehouse Italian Grill - Absolute...garbage. Everything about this place is garbage. NEVER NEVER NEVER go here, please. Save yourself a trip.
Romeo's - Fettucine alfredo here is really bland to be honest. Not good enough in my opinion.
Austin Land and Cattle - Again, bland and watery fettucine alfredo with mushrooms. Would not recommend
Olive Garden - Terrible terrible terrible. Probably the first case for me personally where a chain has lived up to the "chain" reputation of providing terrible food. I was actually amazed - when I order a typical fettucine alfredo here it is bad but edible. If, however, I specifically order the "unlimited pasta" (when it is available) - the fettucine alfredo goes from terrible to just horrendous.
Hyde Park Bar and Grill - Great french fries. Terrible fettucine alfredo.
TGI Fridays - I actually enjoy their fettucine alfredo-esque dish here. I believe it is fettucine with cajun cream sauce with chicken (or something similar). Really savory in my opinion.
Andiamo's - I have had their tortellini e piselli (spelling error?) and I think it is really GREAT. I really enjoy the flavour and have been here many times. The tiramisu is fantastic also in my opinion.
This is a small list of what I have tried so far. I'm hoping that some people can give me recommendations for other restaurants that serve alfredo-esque cream based pasta dishes. You don't have to recommend ONLY if you think the dish was good. Recommend anything not on the list that I gave, because as we all know one person's likes might be another person's dislikes (when it comes to food).
Thank you for your time.
At Reale's, one of us always orders this:
Chicken sautéed with sliced tomatoes and mushrooms in a basil-pesto cream sauce. Served over fettuccine.
I really enjoy it. It's comfort food with a lot of flavor.
I usually don't go for the creamy sauces, but I can't resist the Shrimp Romeo at Romeo's with pesto cream sauce. You mostly mentioned fettucine alfredo (and theirs as being bland - I won't argue with that). The Shrimp Romeo has a bunch of stuff in it though, so that might be why I didn't think of it as bland - mushrooms, artichokes, etc.
re: Allison L.
Yes you are correct. To clarify, I only tried the PLAIN fettucine alfredo at romeo's - pasta and sauce, nothing else.
I have once tried it with chicken but the chicken does not add much flavour to the entire dish.
I will take your word for it that the mushrooms/artichokes/etc. add more flavour to it. Seems pretty reasonable to me.
I've never had any smoke problems at Ciola's but then we always sit in the back. Have you tried the Pasta Della Dario? It's chicken, penne, portobellos, asparagus in a gorganzola (the online menu spells it "gargonzola" haha, Austin) sauce. It's very rich but tasty. One of my favorites.
Thanks for the your post; good stuff. I've been craving a good pasta cream/chicken dish for some time.
Alfredo sauce... a subject near and dear to my heart! And so hard to find here in Austin. The best I've found is Gino's, by a mile. They're in RR on Mays St. It's a nice thick sauce, not watery at all. It's perfectly creamy, and definitely made with all the good bad stuff, butter, heavy cream, lots of parm. I go all out decadent and get it over cheese tortellini for my special occasion treat (It was my birthday meal, and I'm trying to make up another excuse to have it again now.). They aren't an upscale restaurant. Just a neighborhood restaurant with really good food. I think you'll thank me if you try it!
Awesome I will give it a shot. Just to make sure, the Gino's you are thinking of is the one located at this address, right?:
730 W. Stassney
Thanks again. This is one restaurant that is not featured on this one website I visit when I want to search for a specific type of food. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, here is the website:
You can even search for a food/sauce/whatever you want. It's really great. I've pretty much exhausted all variations of "alfredo" "parmesan cream" and "sauce" in the search list and tried them all, but of course I know there have to be a few alfredo gems around austin that aren't featured on that website.
Also I will give the Pasta Della Dario and the Chicken Genovese a try one of these days as well.
Thanks for the suggestions.
I recently ordered Romeo's fettucine alfredo via dine on demand. I realized something - the fettucine alfredo alone may be bland (as indicated in my original post) but if you simply add some of the grated parmesean cheese they give you, the end result is quite good I'd say.
I would recommend the fettucine alfredo from romeo's provided that you add your own grated parmesan cheese. The "base" alfredo sauce is well-prepared.
I'm like you. I love white sauce and only order pasta with creamy sauce.
Have you tried CPK's Portobello Mushroom Ravioli w/ garlic-Parmesan cream sauce? It's quite good (you have to specify this sauce). In fact, I like it better than pasta dishes at most Italian restaurants in Texas. My friend who used to live in Italy loves it, too. You'll find many threads on CPK on the Chain board here and many people rave about this ravioli (some ppl like different sauces).
The only thing is we think CPKs in CA serve better food than CPKs in TX (We've been to 3 locations in Dallas. Might try one in Austin this week.)
I definitely agree with your assertion that some CPKs serve better, seemingly higher quality food than others.
I was first introduced to CPK while visiting my relatives in chicago, and I loved the pasta so much that I ordered up a second round (and at 6'0" 155 lbs I'm not what one would call the "big man on campus" either).
A year or so later, a CPK opened at Barton Creek Mall and for the first year or so I was very pleased with the pasta dishes. I went there frequently. Then, one day, it all changed.
I received literally a block of frozen pasta/sauce for my dish and was thoroughly turned off. Ok, so that's all well and good, but really that was just the beginning. What really turned me off was the fact that I really felt that they somehow changed the recipe for their sauce. The sauce had this odd aftertaste for some reason on pretty much every subsequent visit.
Then again, with many chains I have found that often their cream sauces are not terribly consistent in terms of preparation. Macaroni grill's fettucine alfredo is a perfect example of this. One occassion, the fettucine alfredo sauce from Macaroni Grill is prepared just perfectly - a rich, sharp taste and the sauce is full and "sticky." Other times, the dish is not only lacking a lot of sauce, but the sauce itself is extremely thin and almost flavorless.
If you want to try a CPK in Austin, I highly suggest that you do NOT go to the one in Barton Creek Mall. I would suggest trying the one in The Domain.