This is the BEST place to get Italian food in Austin. The atmosphere is very cozy and inviting. They serve everything from panninis to pizzas. Their gnocchi is the best I have ever had! In addition to their restaurant, they have a coffee bar with unique Italian pastries, great Gelato, and a market area with fresh olives, meat and spices. The staff is friendly and are great at pairing wines with your meal. The Italian bellini is a fun drink to get as well. The only negative can be parking, although the area is adding more free garages. Don't be scared away from the long lines. They usually go by fast and the food is well worth the wait!
I loved their italian food.
Stumbled on Mandola's visiting from Colorado (I'm originally from Brooklyn, NY of Italian heritage) Didn't eat in but purchased some of their prepared foods. The home made mozzarella was some of the best I have ever had, The eggplant caponata was alao excellent. The semolina bread was good just not the best . Skip the cannollis, they are pretty bad, pasty filling and soggy shells. Will return and sample additional fare.
Pros: Best home made mozzarella
Cons: terrible cannollis
Tried Mandola's and I personally don't see paying that much money to stand in line, order at the counter, sit in a cold atmosphere and not feel every welcome at all. The Gelato was alright but wasn't out of this world.
The have the best pizza in Austin. It is delicious and not greasy. Their market is also great if you like to cook.
Pros: Pizza, Market
Great food at reasonable prices. Love the thin pizzas and the fun little market inside.
Cons: Parking and crowds
I have tried this place a couple of time as well as the new place Trattoria Lisina and these places have to be the worst "Italian" food there is. I have read the other comments and am not sure if these people realize that food should have flavor. I was told that people think that a place is expensive that it is good even if they don?t like it. I am here to tell everybody that just because you pay a lot does not mean that the food is good, it should have flavor no matter how much you pay. This is well over price for what you get. Service is always slow and food tasteless.
Cons: food, service,
I highly recommend eating here. Ask them about their fancy restaurant in Driftwood, it's badass also. I am one picky AustinFoodGirl.
Mandola's Italian Market is a delightful restaurant located in the Triangle.
Although exceptionally "fratty" (and thus a tad unbearable) on the weekends, stop by any Tuesday night and relax while little Italy envelopes you. The huge wine selection, coupled with the extensive deli of fresh cheeses, meats, and pastries, leaves me to make several suggestions:
1. try the gorgonzola dolce,
2. when trying the gorgonzola dolce, remember to eat with a freind so that you aren't responsible for eating 1/2 - 1 1/2 pounds of exquisite cheese all by yourself,
3. try the Melini Chianti Borghi D'Elsa--voted best inexpensive red wine in 2005 by the New York Daily News, and
4. take your food outside and dine under the twinkly lights beside the concrete fountain.
Mandola's is a magical place--perfect for dinner with a date you're trying to woo into believing you're actually a foodie.
Pros: True Italian Cuisine with a little taste of Austin.
Cons: Beat the crowds--dine on a weeknight!
Mandola's is the place to be if you like a crowd. I went on a Saturday night, and as expected, the line was out the door. The place is definitely for wine lovers since every other person in line had a drink in hand (I wouldn't be able to rate the wine since I don't drink). The tables are pushed really close together, so I would not recommend bringing a baby stroller/carriage or to come in a group of more than 4 unless you're willing to sit outside. I tried the bruschetta, and it was heavy with garlic (to the point I was coughing after each bite) and low on olive oil. The great part about it was that they used cherry tomato halves, so it tasted fresh. I had the pesto pasta as my main meal, and it would have tasted just fine but was a little drier than recommended with the lack of sauce. Try the pizza though! Tomato sauce is not their main ingredient, so you're able to taste the fresh ingredients. If you haven't been here yet, I would definitely try it to get that city feel, but otherwise I would recommend you waiting on that sushi restaurant that will be opening up soon right across the center from them!
Pros: Great pizza, Fresh ingredients
Cons: Crowded, Uncomfortable chairs
My Review is of this map.....1 star at best. Mandola's that is being reviewed by most reviewers here is on Lamar between 45th and 51st Streets. Map shows it down by River....Don't know what is there, but its not the market.
The food at Mandola's market is outstanding, and their new restaurant Trattoria Lisina in Driftwood is also outstanding. It's so nice to finally have great Italian food options in Austin. I wish we had a market in SW Austin. Keep up the great work!!
Pros: Quality of food, great for kids.
I enjoyed the attractive decor--wall murals, brick, wood--but the place is really loud...not least because they've got tables upon tables--no elbow room to speak of--and it's often really busy. The sandwiches (panini) are good, but the pasta dishes were too garlicky and not very authentic (I grew up in an Italian neighborhood in NJ and, both at home and when eating out, Italian food was the "default," so I think I know Italian food!). For what it is, the food menu is a little overpriced. The bakery selections, on the other hand, are worth it: chocolate-dipped espresso cookies are fantastic. The service is just OK, and the lines can get very long at mealtimes. We've walked out before because getting a table and our meal within 45 minutes looked hopeless. Basically, this is a quaint themed restaurant--not bad, but not all that it's cracked up to be either. Come weekdays in the mid-afternoon and try the baked goods; they are unique among Austin bakeries.
Pros: great bakery, wifi, nice decor
Cons: mediocre entrees, tables too close together, very loud, long lines at mealtimes
Being a native New Yorker, reminds me of a Balducci coupled with a bistro like quality...nice wine selction, good food, and helpful staff. I loved seeing brands of foodstuffs that I remember from NYC...
Every time I have been here I have had a wonderful, unique experience. The set-up and decor make you feel like you are in Italy itself. The staff is more than happy to help with much attention to detail. The last time I went was on Christmas Eve, Mandola's was in the process of closing early, but they still allowed us in with a smile. It was surreal as we had the most romantic dinner - we were the only ones in the entire place, we took our time and savored every delectable bit, not once being rushed. There was something special about seeing such an often busy place, so quiet and family-like. And, I have seen it busy there - VERY busy at peak times, with long lines - but somehow even when it's crowded, the ambience overtakes it.
Pros: Ambience. Ambience. Ambience.
Cons: Can be crowded at times - but very well worth it.
Long wait for over-priced, mediorcre food. Always over-crowded and staff is less than happy to assist. If you want to have a conversation with any of the people you are eating with- forget about sitting inside because it is way too loud. We have given this place several tries because it is so convienent (right downsatirs) and after the latest eperience we would rather drive to another restaurant.
The first time I ate at Mandola's I wasn't impressed at all. However, I've done restaurant reviews on a professional basis long enough to know that you have to visit a place a few times to give it a fair shake. Just about every place, including four star restaurants, have bad days.
Since my first try I have been back seven times and I love it more and more each time. I've had everything from the Ravioli with meat sauces, to the signature pizzas, and am a true believer now. I've been to the north end (italian district in Boston) and Little Italy in NYC and this place equals them all. Well sorentos italian gourmet in beantown beats everyone, but this place is still nicely done
Pros: Great food, no need to tip, free refills on sodas
Cons: noisey as heck, usually very crowded
I raved about the coffee and desert. I am a New Yorker from Little Italy in NYC. I am Italian and appreciate
authentic Italiano ...I was there last monday and ordered a spaghetti that should ahve been cooked in Garlic and Olive oil. I ordered with a red wine and salad and bread.
Much to my dsappointment the pasta was a little too al dente, there was no garlic taste and the olive oil barely visible. The red wine was $8.50 and was okay, not any better than gallo. The bread was served in a basket and it did not come with any butter, no plive oil, no vinegar
The salad is wysiwyg, no kidding, no pepper, no seasoning on table, The waiter delived the order and no water and was never to be seen from again. I was very disappointed, I brought a friend who had the marinara pasta and it was lukewarm at serving time at best. She at about 5 bites.
Pros: new yorky type of environment, good desert
Cons: bad service, bland food, over priced
Mandola's has the best atmosphere! Busy at lunchtime but worth the wait! Pastries and gelato are excellent! Damian Sr. and Jr. are personable, helpful and attentive! The food is amazing and I love the market area! Austin needed an adorable restaurant like this!
The layout is terrible, the staff doesn't respond to customers, and the food isn't worth the hassle.
Sure it would be a great place if it were the 40's and really a neighborhood market. But is 07 and this isn't how you run a contemporary version. Lot's of room for improvement.
If the Big Man is invovled in the day to day operation it doesn't show.
Pros: Good Idea
Cons: Not Well Executed, Sounds like a good idea but the expereince is very poor.
My husband and I had shopped at the store inside this restaurant & tried some of the bakery breads & pastries, and since we were quite impressed with the quality and selection there, we thought the restaurant was worth a try. We were wrong. We know & love good Italian food - we cook family Italian recipes from scratch, and we enjoy Austin's great Italian restaurants such as Vespaio - and this is NOT it. What we ordered: bruschetta, which would have been good except that it was overloaded with salt; gnocchi, a bunch of gummy gnocchi pastas which arrived in a tomato sauce that tasted slightly less flavorful (although quite similar to) Chef Boyardee's, and had one odd chunk of meat sitting on top of it; tagliatelle bolognese, a mound of very overcooked noodles in a bland "sauce" that contained a heap of meat, but very little tomato or liquid sauce of any kind. The one highlight was the Sicilican tomato salad, which was fresh & flavorful. On top of that, the prices are quite expensive for the style of restaurant (you order at the counter & don't get a waiter) and for the overall low quality of the food. We won't be eating here again. I highly recommend avoiding this place and going to Enoteca Vespaio instead; the prices are about the same, but the food quality, taste, etc. is much better (I would rate it excellent), and you even get sit-down service with a waiter.
Pros: Market, bakery
Cons: Bad food in the restaurant, expensive
they make their own cheese, desserts, breads, and gelatto. they sample wine like nobody's business, right at the counter so you can make the best decision on what wine you want. the ambience is terrific and you can do a little grocery shopping while you wait or sample the gellatto, olives, cheeses or breads. the proscuitto and arugula pizza is divine as is the veggie panini. i love going there just to get a loaf of olive bread, some parmesan cheese, and a bottle of wine to make my own delicious snack. i suggest coming on the early or late end of meal times because the place is packed around noon and 7:00.
Pros: samples, freshness
Cons: can get pretty crowded
We LOVED dining here. I had the stuffed zucchini special, my husband had the cannelloni. Both were EXCELLENT and although not inexpensive, much less expensive than if we ate the same caliber of food at a regular sit down restaurant.
We didn't stay for dessert, but did get some to go. I was not as impressed with the cannoli, nor the cookies my husband selected, but next time I will try the tirimisu which has been recommended to us.
The ambiance is quite nice, and reminds me a little of the North End in Boston (where I'm from originally).
Now I have to admit I've only eaten one thing off the menu but I've gotten it twice and it was to die for! It was the Canelni by the way and my husband had the Spaghetti and he liked he - which is a huge complimen since he is one of the pickiest eaters I know. Oh and I definitely recommend the Lemonade! On my first visit one of the waiters informed me it takes 250 lemons and 4.5 hours to make the batch of lemonade and it shows! It far surpasses the minute maid lemonade in my fridge out of the water. There's also a market with eerything you could ever need from Italy - they have my favorite prosciutto and mozzerela not to mention my favorite dessert - Tiramisu AND the wonderful Italian Gelato. I'm making myself want to go back. They have a parking lot and is part of The Triangle. Also kid friendly. Only complaint is that they need storage there is a big stack of boxes that has been there for months but that is my only complaint about a wonderful Italian addition to Austin.
Pros: Parking, Food, Friendliness
Cons: those boxes