Favorite Italian Restaurants in Austin

What makes a good Italian restaurant? Like at any restaurant, food, service, and ambiance are what define a restaurant’s quality, but these seem to be particularly important in an Italian restaurant. Of the three, the food is the most important. An Italian restaurant can still be good if it has great food but less-than-stellar service and atmosphere. A great restaurant, however, excels in all three areas.

If you’re looking for good Italian food, you can certainly find it in Austin. Places with perfectly prepared pasta, fresh ingredients, and homemade sauces. With professional, attentive service and a warm, inviting atmosphere.

It’s just that, like other ethnic cuisines, you won’t find a wide selection of outstanding Italian places like you’d find in large cities on the east or west coast. Just a few favorite places that you’ll keep going back to. Below is our list of favorite Italian restaurants in Austin.

By the way, what’s the connection between this page and the pizza restaurants page? Some of the Italian restaurants on this page serve pizza, and so they also appear on the pizza page. But many pizza restaurants serve only pizza; those restaurants are not listed here.

Our Favorites

Enoteca Vespaio
1610 S. Congress Ave., Austin TX 78704
(512) 441-7672
map website

Enoteca Vespaio

An Italian grocery store and cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. Excellent Italian dishes at a reasonable price. Most everything on the menu is worth recommending. Especially popular are the various types of panini, such as sausage and mozarella, with outstanding homemade sauces. The pasta is also well made. The Tagliatelle with al dente pasta is recommended. The garlic fries are suggested as a good side. Be sure to leave room for dessert – the cheesecake or chocolate mousse are great choices. Good wine selection. The service staff is knowledgeable and very attentive.

The Backspace
507 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin TX 78701
(512) 474-9899
map website

A small, intimate, well-decorated restaurant conveniently located on Austin’s famed 6th Street (although the entrance is on San Jacinto). They have good, brick-oven-baked pizza; recommended is the bianca with fresh arugula. The pepperoni is also a good choice here. The pasta, beet salad, and appetizers are also worth trying; suggest the prosciutto wrapped mozzarella or meatballs. Desserts are also excellent (try the cheesecake). You can sit at the bar, ask the friendly bartender for appetizer recommendations, and watch the chefs at work. Good wine list. Half price specials on drinks and appetizers during happy hour.

Milano Cafe
4601 Southwest Pkwy. Ste. 109, Austin TX 78735
(512) 428-6076
map website

Some people say this has the best Italian cuisine in Austin (though some say it’s actually Sicilian food, and others call it Italian-American). We just say it's delicious. Pasta dishes are excellent (especially fetuccini carbonara), as is the lobster ravioli, lasagna, Sun dried tomato, blue cheese and prosciutto bruschetta, and chicken parmesan. Tiramisu is a great dessert. Free iced tea and lemonade. Intimate atmosphere, like a small Italian cafe in New York. Owners and staff are very friendly and helpful.

La Traviata Italian Bistro
314 Congress Ave., Austin TX 78701
(512) 479-8131
map website

Another intimate, well-appointed restaurant located in downtown Austin. The carbonara, hot and fresh, is the most popular item here. Try the Spaghetti alla Carbonara, or else the Rigatoni with Spicy Lamb Meatballs. Service is helpful and attentive. Prices are actually quite reasonable considering the location and quality.

Andiamo Ristorante
2521 Rutland Dr. Ste 325, Austin TX 78758
(512) 719-3377
map website

A somewhat pricer place located in north Austin, but worth the drive for some of the best Italian food in town. Some have used a restaurant.com coupon for a significant discount. Appetizers are good; we happen to love calamari and the calamari polenta is excellent here. For entrees, suggestions are the fettuccini ragu, vitello porcini (veal in cream sauce) with fresh pasta, or the seafood ravioli. Desserts are good, including the bocconotti (apple pie ravioli).

11506 Century Oaks Terrace Suite 124, Austin TX 78758
(512) 339-4400
map website

A modern, trendy place with glass walls, located in the Domain, a trendy shopping mall. Decor is simple and understated. Outdoor patio seating is available. Friendly, efficient waitstaff and good food. The restaurant says it serves “modern Italian” food, which means it’s nontraditional and less filling than the pastas and pennes of other Italian restaurants. Very delicious nonetheless. Suggest the chicken parmesan and osso bucco braised short ribs, as well as the pork tenderloin. Pizzas are also good here.

Need more choices?

View the map below for other Italian restaurant choices in and around Austin.

Click here for a list and map of Austin Italian restaurants (opens in a new tab).

Austin Italian restaurant News

Italian fine dining in South Austin

Regal Ravioli, the "ravioli king of Austin", relocated in summer 2014 to South First St. and Elizabeth Ave., the space vacated when LA Barbecue moved to east Austin. Regal Ravioli is one of the upscale restaurants moving to South Austin to complement the casual restaurants and trailers that area is known for.

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