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ariggsby

[AUS] Mandola's Italian Market

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Has anyone else been to this place (4700 Guadaloupe) yet? I haven't even tried the restaurant operation yet, but the grocery/bakery/deli is amazing. This weekend I got squid ink, marinated anchovies, excellent canned tuna, and a new brand of spaghetti. It really felt like being in a little market in Italy.

Andrew


Andrew Riggsby

ariggsby@mail.utexas.edu

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Some friends of mine work there, and the market really is amazing. I have yet to try the restaurant, but all reports I've heard so far have been good.


-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Sounds great! It will be on my agenda on the next Austin trip. I am currently in South Florida and have visitied a couple of Italian "super markets" I am afraid they make Jimmy's in Dallas look quite pitiful.


Never trust a skinny chef

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So, I just had lunch at Mandola's. It was excellent, and the prices and portion sizes are very reasonable.

I had the Linguini Putanesca. For $8, it's a value that can't be beat. I am always worried about pasta being over-cooked in restaurants, but it was a really nice and tender al dente. The sauce had a great flavor, you could taste every component, but it wasn't over powering. It could have used maybe a touch more anchovy (but I REALLY like anchovy) and a little more salt. It had a nice, underlying heat to it that really brought out all the other flavors in the dish. The portion size was more along the European model, although still a little larger, but not the absurd quantities you get at most places. I am full, but not stuffed. All pasta plates are served with their homemade foccacia.

The pizzas looked quite good, and they have a very cool brand-spanking-new woodfired oven. I wish I had been with someone else so I could have tried a bite of the pizza. I also saw an antipasta platter come up in the window that I would have loved to dig into.

All in all, a very good meal for the money. Next time, I'm dragging someone else along so that I can try more stuff.


-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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gallery_394_349_80702.jpg

This is the Mandola sub, one of their signature cold sandwiches. It might be my favorite sandwich in Austin. It is huge, a meal for two easily.

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How does the retail section compare to Central Market's, e.g. charcuterie, pasta items?

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How does the retail section compare to Central Market's, e.g. charcuterie, pasta items?

Well, it's mainly imported from Italy, so while there it is much, MUCH smaller and the selection isn't nearly as large, you're more likely to find "ulitmate authentic" whatevers. I didn't get a good look at the charcuterie (they have the case situated right near the door and I'm neurotic about standing right in doorways - yeah I'm weird) but the pasta selection is all imported dried pastas. Honestly, I'm not sure if they brands they carry are the same as CM or not, but I did see a couple of things I don't remember seeing anywhere else. In fact, I'd really like to run a taste test on all these different pastas sometime, but that's neither here nor there.


-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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I went today.

I got the antipasti platter ($15) which included bruschetta, cheeses, salami and cured meats. A really generous quantity for $15 though most of the meats, especially the salami was sub-par. My friends had very large, tasty salads which I recall being fairly cheap. Mandola's is definitely a good value for mid-level Italian.

The charcuterie section is not nearly as good as Central Market's, nearly all Citterio brand products. Not like Citterio doesn't make any good charcuterie just that I'd like to be able to buy San Daniele, Zerto and Vismara products too.

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Not like Citterio doesn't make any good charcuterie just that I'd like to be able to buy San Daniele, Zerto and Vismara products too.

You should tell them. From what I understand, they want to become sort of the end-all-be-all in Italian purveyors in Austin. I'm sure they'd order some stuff if you suggested it.


-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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As promised, I made this my first stop in Austin visiting my family over Memorial Day weekend. I was on the whole greatly impressed with this place. They had a number of items I'd never seen in Texas places before: huge jars of preserved porcini in olive oil, also jars of whole tuna loin, little packets of squid ink that look like the soy sauce packets you get from Chinese carryout, powdered bottarga (though still expensive and probably too expensive given that it was pre-ground), and a good stock of various truffle oils, whole truffles, and truffle pastes. My wife had the same sandwich NYTexan has pictured above and it is amazing. I had the hot porchetta sandwich which was really good. Finished it off with a generous bowl of gelato that was sublime.

If there was any problem, I'd have to agree with Kent about the cured meat selection. Even more frustratingly, they have a display board of various meats listed that they don't actually carry; it was for decorative purposes. So, I read the board and see guanciale and lardo listed, eagerly ask the woman at the counter about them, and am greeted with an "Eww, no, do you know what's in those?". :angry:

But they do carry cotechino! Do yourself a favor and buy one next time.

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I stopped in Mandola's last Monday for the first time. It's an attractive, pleasant place with a congenial staff. The wall with framed photos of tens of historic Italian markets in the US sets the stage as you walk in the door to the cafe area.

I too was a little disappointed in the meats. Domestic mortadella rather than the imported Italian I get in Dallas at the Sigel's Deli, for example. But there are some real bargains in the condiments section. Though the staff does not always know what is what. I asked if a bottle of balsamico with a huge 12 emblazoned on the box could possibly really be 12 year old at that price. The guy said yes indeed. I did some research this week and it is not, indeed, but I don't think he was trying to deceive. I absolutely think that he was mislead by the labeling as much as I was. On the other hand, the stuff is still useful (vanilla ice cream with sliced strawberries and drizzled with this 12 whatever, not bad), and it is a lot less than it costs on Amazon. A lot less.

For a late lunch I had bruschetta topped with arugala, goat cheese, salami and perhaps a few other items, drizzled with olive oil. Very tasty. My luncheon companion had a cold cooked vegetable salad. I tried it and it was very good too. I would gladly order either one again.

I'll stop in again next time I'm in Austin.

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i'm not into it. besides the decor being horrendous, i find some of their food a bit bland. the pizza isn't bad though, but i'm a sucker for thin crust. i've yet to try any of their pasta dishes. i also think it's a little overpriced when you can get better for less at other places in town.


Edited by yimay (log)

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i'm not into it. besides the decor being horrendous, i find some of their food a bit bland. the pizza isn't bad though, but i'm a sucker for thin crust. i've yet to try any of their pasta dishes. i also think it's a little overpriced when you can get better for less at other places in town.

Where can you get better Italian food for less? Even the large chains, with their Americanized cream-sauce-on-everything and giganitc portions aren't cheaper than Mandolas. Places like Vinny's may be cheaper, but the food certainly isn't better. Really good Italian places like Andiamo and Asti may be better, but the prices certainly reflect that. I'm genuinely asking where you are finding Italian food that is cheaper and better than Mandola's. I'm really, really curious.


-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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i'm not into it. besides the decor being horrendous, i find some of their food a bit bland. the pizza isn't bad though, but i'm a sucker for thin crust. i've yet to try any of their pasta dishes. i also think it's a little overpriced when you can get better for less at other places in town.

Where can you get better Italian food for less? Even the large chains, with their Americanized cream-sauce-on-everything and giganitc portions aren't cheaper than Mandolas. Places like Vinny's may be cheaper, but the food certainly isn't better. Really good Italian places like Andiamo and Asti may be better, but the prices certainly reflect that. I'm genuinely asking where you are finding Italian food that is cheaper and better than Mandola's. I'm really, really curious.

I was specifically thinking of lunch at La Traviata, Enoteca and Siena. Also their gelato prices are outrageous, although their pistachio flavor is pretty good. But i'm partial to Gelato's dark chocolate gelato. I also would group Mandola's with the Americanized Italian restaurants. It's owned by Carrabba's.

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Haven't had lunch at La Traviata, but yeah, lunch at Siena is a steal. It's a few bucks more expensive than Mandola's but the quality difference is immense. But remember, this is only for lunch. Dinner gets to be about $50-60 per person.

For reference, see Italian restaurant round-up.

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Actually, it's not owned by Carrabba's. In fact, Damian Mandola (the owner and co-founder of Carrabba's) no longer owns Carrabba's. I belive Carrabba's is now owned by Outback steakhouse or something. Mandola's Italian Market is actually owned by Mr. Mandola.

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Actually, it's not owned by Carrabba's.  In fact, Damian Mandola (the owner and co-founder of Carrabba's) no longer owns Carrabba's.  I belive Carrabba's is now owned by Outback steakhouse or something.  Mandola's Italian Market is actually owned by Mr. Mandola.

If I recall, the only Carrabba's that Johnny and Damian currently own are the one on Kirby right off of 59 and the one on S. Voss on the west side.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


Gear nerd and hash slinger

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This has now become my "must return" spot when I'm in Austin. We split the awe-inspiring antipasto platter and an order of bruschetta with finnochiona salami and goat cheese. More than enough to feed 6.

But I will say I was disappointed to see that they've considerably shrunk their groceries and Italian goods down to three shelves. I can't blame them since the place was hopping and they did need the extra space, but was sad to see the more limited availability.

I've also heard that Damien's opening a winery and Tuscan-style restaurant up in the hills, which has me very intrigued. Anyone have more details?

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