Andiamo in Italia, let’s go to Italy! My love affair with Italian food has grown exponentially over the past year and a recent trip to Italy solidified the cuisine in my heart.
So, when the opportunity to write about the best Italian eats in Austin arose for the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance 2013 City Guide, I jumped at the chance. Eating more Italian food- count me in!
Since moving to Austin last June I have visited quite a few Italian joints in town. This year for my birthday my mom came into town from Houston and took my friend Casey and I to an incredible dinner at Olive and June. We started things off with cocktails and from the Piccoli Piatti (small plate) menu we indulged in the semolina gnocchi; it was the perfect bite to start the evening off. We also started with the meat and cheese plate containing an assortment of salami, rabbit pâté, manchego cheese along with other tasty jams and treats. For my entreé I had the Rigatoni made with Grandma’s ragu, cherries, ricotta salata and pine nuts. My mom enjoyed the special ravioli and Casey had Capellini with gluten free pasta. We all thouroughly enjoyed the experience at Olive and June- standing ovation for Chef Shawn. While we are on Olive and June, Chef Shawn Cirkiel also has a pizza joint called Backspace that is definitely worth checking out.
Next up is the new kid in town, Winflo Osteria. Winflo opened in January, located in the historic Clarksville neighborhood. This past Tuesday, my friend and culinary classmate, Jen, and I went to check out the little bungalow restaurant under the old oak tree.
We started off with martinis and the artichoke fritti- crispy artichoke hearts with a creamy peppercorn sauce.
These little babies were delicious!
For my entrée I enjoyed the Spaghetti con le Cozze- Prince Edward Island muscles, chopped tomatoes, white anchovies, capers and white wine. It was quite tasty and reminded me of my trip to Cinque Terre.
As for my friend Jen, if there is pork belly on the menu- or any pork rather- she WILL order it. So Jen went with Porchetta- herbed pork belly with sautéed spinach and rosemary marbled potatoes.
Welcome to the neighborhood Winflo, I’ll definitely be back to see ya for a happy hour pizza soon.
I love stopping into my favorite restaurants time and time again, but working in the culinary world I also love to get restaurant suggestions from friends. So I asked colleagues and friends Chefs Brandy and Yasmine of Fine Home Dining what their favorite Italian spots in Austin are and they noted Asti in East Austin, Vespaio and Enoteca on South Congress, and La Traviata in downtown Austin.
I hope the next time you are looking for a new spot to dine you check out some of the mentioned Italian joints and enjoy some of the best Austin has to offer. I have loved every bite so far and I know you will too.