As you may have read in some of our last communications, we’re in the process of creating the first ITAL directory of all things Italian that we love in Texas.
Now, you may think that reviewing Texan-Italian restaurants is the best job that one could ever have - and you may be right about that! - however, it is a bit harder that one may think, especially after you have been to Italy a few times and you have tasted their version of Italian food and experienced their version of Italian hospitality.
In the U.S. most restaurants who claim to have “Italian food” - some of them going as far as to call it “authentic Italian food” - are for the most part really offering Italian-American cuisine. Now, let's be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Italian American cuisine; however it is very different from the food that you’ll find in Italy. Italian American food is typically heavy on proteins: big meatballs, tons of cheese, creamy dishes. Italian American food is actually the opposite of what “mediterranean cuisine” is all about, which is focused on a leaner and simpler style of cooking where Mr Cheese makes very rare appearances.
Typically Italians would never pair cheese with their seafood!
To complicate things even more, there are many restaurants who start with an Italian menu, but then are forced to “Americanize” their dishes so they can be appealing to the mainstream market. For example, “Pepperoni-Pizza” is very hard to find in Italy, especially since “Pepperoni” actually means “bell peppers”. However, given that most Americans love their pizza with that sausage called Pepperoni - to the point that it was even immortalized by the ninja turtles - Italian restaurants usually change their menu and include "pepperoni pizza" to adapt to the demand.
Most people agree that things are changing and the popularity of Neapolitan pizza in the US in recent years is a clear example that Americans are becoming more interested in trying new dishes that taste authentic. However, the question still lingers… Are there places in your location that actually serve truly, Authenthic Italian food?
Stay tuned for our upcoming newsletter as we will be creating a special segment about this topic of “searching for authentic Italian”. We will give you the basic tips to be able to spot true Italian offerings when you see them.
In the meantime, we’ll continue the hard job of reviewing Italian restaurants, so we can point you to the right direction. ; ) Which reminds us... a few days ago we had the chance to meet with different Italians and talk about their favorite Italian restaurants in Austin. Unfortunately, the list was quite small, and their reviews were definitely brutal at times. So, here are 7 popular Italian restaurants in Austin, Texas and a quick synopsis of what we heard about them:
1- Pieous: Great flavor, still not Neapolitan, but very similar. Only drawback is that it is very far.
2- Canne Rosso: Nice flavor and texture, it’s definitely worth going. Atmosphere/hospitality somewhat mediocre.
3.- Buffalina: Good pizza, nothing to write home about, but at least decent. It is also very expensive for what it really is.
4.- Numero 28: Pizza is very bad; Restaurant area received mixed reviews. The new expansion cafe/bakery area is actually quite nice but a bit expensive.
5.- Lucky’s Puccia: great for the puccia; pizza has improved since it opened but still not what you would find in Italy.
6.- L’Oca d'Oro: Apparently terrible and expensive, never go there.
7.- ManinPasta: It has its good days, but it is overall fairly “meh!”