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Italian Food in Austin?

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I just moved to Austin a few weeks ago and am looking for some decent italian food recommendations.

I live up in North Austin (Parmer/MoPac) but am willing to drive anywhere for good food!

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  1. Welcome to Austin! Where did you move here from?

    What do you like in Italian food... red sauces or alfredo/cream sauces? Pastas or other dishes? Fine dining or more casual neighborhood places?

    To be honest, I still miss the places I used to go to before I moved here. You can find "decent" Italian in Austin, but you may not find anything that just blows you away. I've resorted to cooking Italian at home when I get the craving (which happens often).

    To get you started, everyone will recommend you go to Vespaio. I've only been to the less expensive sister Enoteca Vespaio, and have enjoyed everything I've had there. It's bistro-y in atmosphere and on South Congress, so nowhere near you, but very good. One thing to know, if you check their menu, half of the pastas are served with the arrabbiata sauce, and they use the arrabbiata as a base for their bolognese, so if you're not a fan of the arrabbiata, your choices will be limited (or you can have them sub another sauce). Their website is www.austinvespaio.com

      1. ciolas has good italian food and andiamos does too.It all depends on your taste,

        1. I like Andiamo (Burnet and Kramer area).
          I also recommend Mandola's in the Triangle. The sauce for the gnocchi al sugo tastes exactly like the sauce that my mom would slow cook braciole in.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rusty_s

            I'll second that notion. Everything I've had at Andiamo is excellent; especially recommend the light and delicious calamari. Definitely make a reservation (even if you make it that afternoon) because I've been turned away at the door before when i came on a Friday night without one.

          2. Well, I may be an old south Austin boy, but when I want to treat the wife for a special occasion and want Italian, I go to Carmelo's which is downtown. I have never been disappointed there.

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            Carmelo's Italian Restaurant
            504 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78701

            1. I would recommend Sagra. I know it has gotten a bad rap in the past but I think they must have a new chef/management/something. We have eaten there several times in the last two months and referred three sets of friends. All of our experiences and theirs have been superb. Their mussels are fabulous, some of the biggest and tastiest I have had in Austin. Tuesday is all-you-can eat mussel night for $12.95 (I believe). I have had the mushroom risotto and the spicy seafood pasta and both were perfectly cooked. The risotto did not seem to have the consistency of most where it has been cooked halfway and finished off for the order. I think the time delay in ordering and delivery allows them to cook to order. My husband has had pizza three times and always been very happy with the combinations, including his favorite which has truffle oil and an egg over easy.

              Enoteca is excellent for a casual, cafe vibe. Vespaio is my absolute favorite but the price prevents it from being a regular on rotation. Primizie Osteria on East 11th is fabulous and uses a lot of local producers for produce, meats, and cheese. Asti in Hyde Park is another favorite that has consistently served excellent food for at least ten years.

              1. Vespaio/Enoteca Vespai is absolutely a must. I'm sure you will love it.

                1. If you are really ready to drive anywhere for good food- try Trattoria Lisina in Driftwood- amazing food and amazing setting- in the middle of nowhere but well worth the drive. Winery next door and vineyard out front. Ciola's and Asti also get the nod.