Here are our picks for the best Austin restaurant destinations for authentic Italian food this side of Italy. These eight spots are on our list not just because of great reviews from the community or our personal opinion, but most importantly because of their authentic cultural attributes.
These eight Italian restaurants made our list because they are either owned and operated by Italian-Americans or by folks who value the history, culture and genuine preparation of Italian cuisine. Here you’ll find real-deal Italian food and drink for what can truly be the best Italian experience you can have in Austin.
It may have been fate that kept Daniela Marcone in Austin when she worked her way up from hostess to the owner of Andiamo Ristorante after contemplating whether to stay in Austin or return to her native city of Naples, Italy. Known for it’s fine authentic and classic Italian cuisine, the restaurant uses locally-sourced pasta in its plates and serves salads, fish and meat dishes that pair beautifully with Italian wines. Marcone’s restaurant is one that makes no compromise when it comes to authenticity—every dish is served as it would be in Italy, making the eatery a beacon of true Italian culture.
Address: 2521 Rutland Dr # 325, Austin, TX 78758
2. Numero 28
As both a veteran and connoisseur of fine Italian food culture, Bernardo Nolfo and his business partner opened Numero 28 in Austin in 2014—a ‘cousin,’ as he described of a family-owned establishment born in New York City. The restaurant offers a warm gathering place and specializes in southern Italian dishes and wood-fired southern-Italian style pizza, and especially prides itself on the use of fresh ingredients daily because it’s essential in authentic Italian cooking. The team that runs the eatery are more like an Italian family than coworkers. “Everyone here, from Marco to Rudy, Marchino, and Andres, for example, we’re a big family,” Nolfo said in our previous article about the eatery. The team also recently opened an Italian food market and cafe next door called Alimentari 28.
Address: 452 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701
When Italian breadmaster Lucky Sibilla started his wood-fired Italian sandwich food trailer when he came to Austin in 2007, he brought with him the art of the puccia (pronounced poo-chah). He learned the art of making these rustic sandwiches which use old Italian recipes past down through the generations while in the city of Taranto in southern Italy. Recently, he opened a brick and mortar eatery offering his fresh sandwiches as well as wood-fired pizza all made to order. His deep passion for authentic Italian flavors and food is sure to bring you a true taste of these beloved Italian street foods in Austin.
Address: 1611 W 5th St #175, Austin, TX 78703
Italian food and wine expert Al Fini is a native of the Piedmont region of Italy and grew up on a vineyard before coming to Austin and offering the city several ways to experience the culture of northern Italy over the last twenty plus years. We wrote about his authentic Florentine-style panino sandwiches in this article a few months back. It’s Italian Cucina is his newest restaurant which will open in early September to feature the northern Italian cuisine Fini has been known for over the years, plus a wine bar, and it will serve South Austin patrons lunch, brunch, and dinner.
Address: 1500 S Lamar Blvd #110, Austin, TX 78704
If you want to dine somewhere reminiscent of a romantic Tuscan honeymoon destination then this is the place to go in Austin. Dubed “The most romantic restaurant in Austin,” Siena Ristorante is known for its upscale, seasonal and classic Tuscan cuisine from executive chef Harvey Harris, including Tuscan wild game plates like wild boar bruschetta. Before opening the restaurant over 10 years ago, he immersed himself in Italian culture while at a restaurant called Il Pino in the medieval Tuscan city of San Gimignano, six days a week and eleven hours a day perfecting the craft he studied in culinary school.
Address: 6203 N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78731
When you walk into Gino Reale’s Italian eatery, even the door that greets you into this Italian family-run neighborhood restaurant reads “Your Home Away from Rome!” The first-generation Italian-American owner of Reale’s Pizza & Cafe got his start in hospitality working in his father’s family-run Italian pizzeria in New York City over 30 years ago, and today with fond memories of working with his brothers, sister, mother, and uncle, he started his own NYC-style pizzeria and cafe serving classic dishes in north Austin. Typically Italian, his brother, mother and father still work with him. As he writes on the restaurant’s website, “My mom always says, we got a lot of love, and love is what we put into everything we do.” We believe you’ll be a part of the family at this local Trattoria.
Address: 13450 US-183, Austin, TX 78729
For second-generation Italian-Americans Matt and Nic Patrizi, their family’s legacy in Italian cooking started in the 1940s when their grandfather and his brothers opened Patrizi’s Restaurant in Beaumont, Texas. His grandmothers made meatballs by hand, and other family members worked the line and bused tables back then. They write on the eatery’s website that they feel lucky to be born into this family—one of loud Italians and handmade pasta sauces. “Food is an expression of cultural and personal history,” they also share on the site. The food truck with the same name sake today stands outside the Vortex theatre in Austin, as a way to pay hommage to the old family restaurant, old-school family recipes, and housemade pasta.
Address: 2307 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722
Second generation Italian-American’s Andrew and his brother Matt Botticelli opened the south Austin Italian restaurant together with their longtime friend Timmy Brown as a way to bring the Italian comfort foods that Andrew remembers growing up with in Chicago between his mother and his grandmother’s home cooking. Featuring both indoor and airy outdoor dining, the restaurant serves fresh Italian food even featuring handmade pasta, combining old family recipes with new, innovative ones. With both an intimate Trattoria in the front of the house, and a large beer garden in the back that features live, local music some days, the eatery bring Austinites into the fold of Italian tradition.
Address: 1321 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704