Considered an upscale and trendy restaurant, Asti Trattoria has hip decor and ambiance best described as fun. This perky establishment attracts a wide range of dining personalities. But all have one thing in common: A love of Italian food! Diners enjoy a wonderful selection of pizzas (build your own with toppings such as white anchovies, farm eggs and salami toscana. If seafood is your thing, check out the rainbow trout coated with raisins, pine nuts and breadcrumbs. Save some room for dessert because after dinner, you'll want to sample warm beignets with vanilla gelato. Wash it down with a leisurely cup of expresso.
Local Expert tip: Asti Trattoria accepts reservations online and also hosts special events so be sure to check online first. You may be in town at just the right time for one of their special dinners.
Andiamo is decorated simply with an eye towards quaint. It is located in a strip mall but do not let that deter you. Many diners refer to it as romantic but foodies in the know will tell you that the food here is the closest you'll get to 'real' Italian food. Bread is served before your meal and is delicious on its own. If you are a vegetarian or have gluten free dietary needs, Andiamo has a selection of menu items just for you. Andiamo changes up their menu according to the seasons so when you are there be sure to look for featured dishes. For example, in the fall they serve their homemade pumpkin ravioli in a homemade brown butter sage sauce. Seafood, beef, and chicken selections do not disappoint.
Local Expert tip: Don't let Andiamo's location turn you away. Andiamo receives high praise from Austinites because of its excellent cuisine even though many will tell you it is located in one of the most UN-scenic areas of Austin.
For over a decade, La Traviata has been serving the Austin area with genuine Italian comfort food. For those with lighter appetites they serve a wonderful selection of salads. Fancy a great pasta? Ask what the homemade ravioli of the day is. Many satisfied diners recommend the Spaghetti alla Carbonara as 'to die for.' Among many mouthwatering pasta entrees, you'll also find seafood, chicken and beef dishes. La Traviata is set up like a busy, bustling cafe with the tables placed closely to each other. Reservations are a must on the weekends as it gets crowded. Service is excellent and gets top marks.
Local Expert tip: Great for a date night or fun evening with friends but due to its busy ambiance and the proximity of fellow diners, not for that night where you want to have quiet, intimate conversation.
Constructed to closely resemble an Italian Tuscan villa, Siena begins with amazing ambiance and a serving staff that truly KNOWS what they are doing. Customers consistently comment on the quality of service received during their dining experience. Siena offers a wine selection worth talking about and for those that prefer wine by the glass, they have at least 20 different options to choose from. Prefer unique entrees? Try Coniglio alla Cacciatora, a mouth watering concoction of young rabbit braised in Chiant with pancetta, potatoes, fresh sage,thyme, porcini and stewed tomatoes. Some of us prefer a meatless dish and Siena doesn' disappoint. One excellent suggestion is the Ravioli Ripieni con Spinaci e Carciofi. This is a tantalizing recipe that features fresh pasta stuffed with artichokes, spinach and goat cheese in a fresh basil, roasted tomato butter sauce. Delizioso! They say that cooking in Italy is a passion. Siena embodies this passion!
Local Expert tip: Siena offers periodic specials and the ability to make reservations online for your convenience.
Enoteca Vespaio is a smaller version of the fabulous (and previously mentioned)Vespaio. It's a cafe and wine bar that offers more casual and budget friendly dining than its counterpart. Enoteca offers a busy atmosphere and people are in and out all day. You'll find pastries, coffee,pastas, pizzas, and more. Enoteca boasts fresh ingredients in every dish. The prices are agreeable to most and they offer an excellent selection of wines. Another cool perk: The cafe sells grocery items so you could also take some things to and make your own tasty meal. For gluten free diners,the cafe also provides a gluten free pasta option.
Local Expert tip: Gluten free diners say that Enoteca staff is knowledge and friendly about gluten free dietary needs.
Andrew and Matt Botticelli are the owners of this establishment that shines with pride. Botticelli's features a restaurant and an outdoor beer garden. Live music and happy hours take place most days of the week. Guests wear satisfied smiles as they sample culinary delights like the Mussels alla Trota, a concoction made with fresh Prince Edward Island mussels. They steam the mussels with brown butter, capers, lemon, and top it all off with bread crumbs. Other delights include their homemade Botticelli Bread, and homemade ravioli. The dish, Ravioli di Zucca Gialla, is made with locally grown organic butternut squash. The service at Botticelli's gets great reviews from just about everyone and the outdoor patio is great during warmer weather. It's a great restaurant either for a quiet romantic evening or fun evening with friends.
Local Expert tip: Be prepared: Botticelli's is known for serving very generous portions.
Vespaio is one of those places that automatically gets a thumbs up when you mention their name. You'll hear things like "Always a go-to for a good meal" and "We love this place" and "Try the lasagna." Described as bustling and boisterous, Vespaio can sometimes be crowded and a bit noisy but the food is served in a slower paced style. The staff and chefs work to make the meal a success and try not to rush you. The portions are quite large, the restaurant is spotless and your server will start you off with fresh bread and olive oil. The restaurant has a decent selection of wines to go with your meal and the restaurant is known for having a staff that is attentive but not overly attentive.
Local Expert tip: This is Austin, but you probably want to change out of your T-Shirt, shorts, and flip flops before visiting Vespaio.
This warm, inviting restaurant has three locations and Austin is lucky to have one of them. The restaurant prides itself on a range of northern Italian dishes and a flagship dish, Risotto. The restaurant is described simultaneously as 'quaint and like an old church' by some and still others refer to it as 'chic and hip.' Taverna creates an ambiance that encourages building relationships and hanging out. The food is prepared in a simple but fantastic way. Enjoy wonderful pasta filled with ingredients like walnuts and Gargonzola. Revel in ultrathin crust pizzas. Happy hour provides $1 mimosas and bellini's. Taverna boasts Italian cuisine to delight your palate but they don't stop there. They also serve up an award winning brunch on Sundays from 10am-3:00 pm. Feast on Shrimp with Asparagus Omelets or their Chorizo sausage and manchego cheese omelet. If you are in the mood for something sweet, try the Vanilla French Toast. It's served with mascarpone and fruit. Taverna is also friendly to diners with gluten free dietary needs and offers a gluten free menu.
Local Expert tip: Don't forget to check the website for monthly wine dinners and a recipe of the month.