Even if you can’t just pop over to Italy for a bite to eat, Austin has brought some of the best food right to your backyard.
Sometimes you just want to gorge on pasta, bread, and every carb in between - and there’s nothing wrong with that. In the state known for its Bar-B-Que and southern comfort food, though, you might think that Italian food is nearly impossible to find. Austin, however, is a world entirely its own, so there is no shortage of Italian restaurants to be found when your next craving hits. These are some of our favorites.
Address: 324 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
Neighborhood: Warehouse District
You haven’t lived until you’ve been able to enjoy an Italian meal with some ripe, juicy tomatoes and fresh greens mixed in with your dish. The best Italian restaurants incorporate the freshest ingredients possible into each and every dish - and that’s exactly what they do at La Traviata.
Well known for doing everything they can to bring ingredients directly from the farm to your table, the folks at La Traviata work closely with nearby farmers to bring in some of the freshest ingredients they can find to their restaurant.
From their appetizers to their entrees to their desserts, you won’t be able to get enough of everything they have to offer at La Traviata. Pair a pasta and seafood dish with a crisp white wine for the best end-of-the-week wind-down you’ve had in a while.
“This is by far my favorite Italian Restaurant in Austin. The Chicken Parm is fantastic, the atmosphere is romantic and intimate. The daily specials are always amazing and the wine is always italian.” - Yelp Review
Address: 2521 Rutland Dr, Ste 325, Austin, TX 78758
Neighborhood: North Burnet
Looking for an Italian restaurant with history as rich as Italy’s itself? Andiamo Ristorante has been through quite a bit over the years, but each change that it has undergone has helped to shape it into one of the best Italian restaurants in Austin today.
While it didn’t initially begin as an Italian restaurant in a truly authentic way, when it changed hands to become Daniela Marcone’s in 2009, Andiamo’s became one of the most authentic Italian restaurants in Austin.
Originally from Naples, Italy, Daniela brought along her knowledge and experiences with Italian cuisine and began incorporating them into all aspects of the restaurant. Though she has since moved on, she still works closely with today’s owner, Ann, to keep the Italian spirit alive in the restaurant through food and wine.
“This is our favorite Italian spot in Austin! Service is excellent and food is always amazing!! They also have the best complimentary (first basket) bread I have ever had at an Italian restaurant.” - Yelp Review
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Address: 303 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
Neighborhood: Warehouse District
The naming process is important to establishing any restaurant. While “Red Ash” may not seem like the name of an Italian restaurant at first glance, it is actually named for the red ash that is released from the wood burning fires that help to cook all of their meals.
Wood burning grills are one of the most traditional methods of cooking from Italy. They help to blacken fish and meat while keeping the insides juicy enough to maintain their flavor and they bring out some of the most flavorful vegetables as well.
At Red Ash, they make all of their pasta from scratch every day, so not only are you getting a meal made with some of the most uniquely cooked meats and veggies, but you’re also getting some fresh pasta tossed in the mix, as well.
“Outstanding in every way! From exceptional service to the BEST BREAD I've had in a year. From the decadent Gorgonzola gnocchi to the roasted sweet potatoes with maple and mascarpone!” - Yelp Review
Address: 1500 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
Neighborhood: South Austin
Literature nerds will love learning about the origins of Juliet Italian Kitchen. Located on Austin’s original restaurant row, Juliet actually replaced an old restaurant there called Romeo’s, and so the name is an homage to the Shakespeare classic “Romeo and Juliet,” which took place in Italy.
They have some delicious cuisine to match, which, when combined with the cozy, homey atmosphere they’ve created throughout the restaurant, makes it an excellent choice for an Italian date night.
From chicken piccata to mushroom manicotti, you can enjoy all of the beautiful flavors Italian cuisine has to offer at this restaurant. To top it all off, Juliet believes in giving back to the community, and partners with several local organizations to give donations on a regular basis.
“This may be a new favorite! Tons of gluten free options and they are very accommodating with allergies...Everything was great--service, ambience, food and drinks. I highly recommend coming here, you won't regret it!” - Yelp Review
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Address: 1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Neighborhood: South Congress
Some people like Italian food; some people like Italian wines. At Enoteca Vespaio, it’s all about the wine - with some delicious food pairings on a constantly changing menu that’ll offer something new for you to try each time you stop in.
Known as a wine bar first and a restaurant second, Enoteca Vespaio might not look like much besides a small cafe at first glance, but once you step inside, you’re in for a whole new world of authentic Italian wines and cuisines.
They change their menu seasonally here, each dish carefully crafted to pair well with one of the award-winning Italian wines they carry. You’re welcome to join them inside at their cafe for an espresso and some baked goods or out on their patio where you can enjoy a nice dinner.
“I'm never disappointed by Vespaio. Their casual restaurant has amazing appetizers that can be had as a meal as well as great brunch selections on Sunday.” - Yelp Review
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Address: 8000 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757
You haven’t experienced the best of Italian cuisine until you’ve eaten a pizza that’s been made in a traditional wood burning oven. Known as the origin of pizza making, the wood burning oven was what led us to be able to enjoy an American favorite in all of its forms today.
At DeSano Pizzeria Napoletana, they have brought the traditional wood burning oven along with them and their classic Italian pizza recipes to bring some Italian classics right to Austin. The oven allows them to bake up some pizzas that are truly unique - not to mention delicious!
Cooked in the fire, when your pizza comes out, it will have a crust with the crispy exterior you love, the light and chewy interior that’s like no other, and a slightly smoky flavor. Give it a try with one of their margarita pizzas or something with a bit of a kick, like their capricciosa specialty pizza.
“What makes or breaks a great pizza is the crust, and DeSano makes theirs just right - it's crispy on the outside, tender on the inside with just the right amount of chewiness and some good flavor.” - Yelp Review
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Address: 452 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701
Neighborhood: 2nd Street District
Not all Italian food is made the same way. Similarly to how there are different ways to speak Italian even within specific dialects, you would be hard-pressed to find an Italian who didn’t have a very specific way of cooking as well.
At Numero28, they’ve stuck with a very traditional southern style of Italian cooking (think Sicilian). From pastas to oven fired pizzas to a cold scoop of gelato for dessert, they’ve taken all of the Italian classics and given them a Sicilian spin here.
You can even enjoy a small plate here if you aren’t all that hungry but would still like to get a taste of the food they have to offer while you enjoy a glass of Italian wine or two. And if nothing else, their patio is a great place for you to people watch as others go about their days in Downtown Austin.
“Great pizza, greeeeat pizza. I thought that the slices were going to be bigger but then when you start eating it it fills you up. Sauce is rich, not too overwhelming.” - Yelp Review
Everyone loves a good carb every now and then, and nobody does carbs quite like the Italians. The next time you find yourself craving pizza, pasta, or anything in between, hit up one of Austin’s best. Let us know which restaurant is your favorite in the comments below.