From classic red sauce, checkerboard tablecloth joints to refined menus with modern takes, Italian fare is well represented here, and we have 10 solid examples to prove it. Here's where to find great Italian restaurants in Austin, Texas.
Vespaio. Credit CityJewell.
A long-time South Congress favorite, Vespaio buzzes with activity - after all, the name is Italian for hornet’s nest. But no aggressive insects here, just delicious fare from chef Ryan Samson, a short but sweet wine list, and professional yet friendly bartenders that can craft all the classics. The menu features staples like beef carpaccio, thin crust pizza, and house made pastas, but seasonal specials change almost daily.
Husband and wife duo chef Ian Thurwachter and chocolatier/pastry chef Krystal Craig opened this lovely eatery in East Austin in 2018, showcasing farm to table cuisine and whole animal butchery. The menu changes often to highlight the best of the season and includes homemade pastas and cheeses, paired with a thoughtful wine list and craft cocktails. Do not miss out on Craig’s gorgeous artisanal chocolates.
Courtesy of L'oca d'Oro.
This bright neighborhood eatery in the heart of the Mueller District serves modern takes on Italian classics courtesy of chef Fiore Tedesco and his capable staff. Expect house made everything - from pastas and condiments to bitters and amari for the bar - and seasonal menus that change almost daily. Chef Fiore also features a pasta club and a seasonal, prix fixe dinner series showcasing different Italian regions. Co-owner Adam Orman curates a thoughtful wine and spirits list behind the convivial bar.
Don’t let the strip mall location fool you - Andiamo is a true hidden jewel serving traditional Italian fare in a cozy, romantic atmosphere. Seasonal dishes are crafted with produce from area farmers’ markets, including house made pastas and gnocchi, signature bread, and fabulous desserts, paired with an all-Italian wine list. Check their website for monthly wine dinners, which are always a treat.
Red Ash. Credit Robert Jacob Lerma.
From the moment you walk into this handsome Downtown restaurant, you are enveloped by the smell of smoke emanating from the custom-built wood-burning grill that anchors the kitchen. Expect wood-fired prime cuts and seafood, seasonal veggies, fresh salads and handmade pastas, matched with a solid cocktail program and an excellent wine list. Red Ash is a hot ticket and reservations are a must, sometimes even weeks in advance so be sure to plan ahead.
A long time neighborhood favorite in Hyde Park, this quaint trattoria serves simple farm-to-table classics from a concise menu that includes handmade pizza and pastas, grilled fish, and the crispiest semolina fried calamari, with a variety of seasonal weekend specials and not-to-be-missed desserts. The wine list features bottles from different regions around the boot plus rotating wine-based cocktails.
Courtesy of Olive & June.
Named after the grandmothers of chef/owner Shawn Cirkiel and his wife, this three-story restaurant, built around a gorgeously huge heritage oak tree, features four comfortable dining areas, both inside and out. The seasonal menu is short but varied, and includes a splendid fritto misto, creative house made pasta preparations, and a 100% Italian wine list. Come early and grab a patio table for happy hour, which includes half off beer and house cocktails.
With locations on Barton Springs’ “restaurant row” and in The Arboretum, Juliet serves an ample menu of scratch-made dishes available in both single portions or larger ones perfect for sharing family-style. Highlights include a superb chicken piccata, hand-tossed pizza, and a 17 layer lasagna with house made ragu. Both locations boast large, dog-friendly patios with an outdoor bar serving a daily happy hour menu, with live jazz on Wednesday evenings.
Il Brutto. Credit Jody Horton.
A laid-back East Austin restaurant, featuring classic fare prepared by Italy-raised chef Erind Halilaj and paired with a curated Italian wine list and the most complete amari and vermouth list in the city from bar manager Charity Sadoy. Sit at the large bar and let her pick you a flight, or enjoy rotating martini specials every Tuesday and live jazz on Thursday evenings in the shady patio overlooking Sixth Street.
Executive Chef Harvey Harris has been cooking at this Tuscan-style villa in Northwest Austin for over 20 years, serving traditional dishes in an elegant space with stone walls and exposed wood beams. There’s also a cute patio perfect for romantic al fresco dinners when the weather is nice. From seasonal antipasti to homemade pasta with handcrafted sauces, Siena uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible to craft a menu of favorites matched by an award-winning wine list.
Contributed by Claudia Alarcón
Mexican by birth, Austinite by choice, Claudia has been immersed in the city’s food and beverage scene since her arrival in 1984. After years of working in restaurants she started writing about them in 2000, and has seen the growth transformation of the dining scene from the beginning. In her sparse spare time, she watches futbol, tends her garden, and is an active dog rescue advocate. She lives in South Austin with her fur babies, Benji and Eddie.