Austin >Asti Trattoria
A cozy, classy Italian spot right in the middle of "downtown Hyde Park," i.e. the corner of Duval and 43rd Streets. The food here is elegant and unfussy, like the garganelli (my favorite), made with black truffle, leeks, radicchio, parmesan and cream.
great staff, awesome food. I love this place. I have been loving it for years. The food is awesome and the wine is great. I adore the beef carpaccio. My favorite meal so far was a pan seared striped sea bass with french fingerling potatoes with a truffle mayonnaise and fresh local herbs. This dish melted in my mouth. I always sit at the bar and watch the cooks and have always been amazed with my experience. I look forward to eating there again in the near future!!!
Nice selection, good food, great atmosphere. I'm not a big fish or meat eater, so I was pleasantly surprised by the number of appealing choices on the menu. Wine list was reasonable, and food was quite good. Our waiter was outstanding & the atmosphere is sophisticated casual, sort of reminded me of New York. Only negative - parking was a challenge.
Hyde Park's affordable, authentic Italian alternative..
The style is sleek and sophisticated, yet it's easy to get comfortable here. The impressive selection of wine, port and champagne can keep barflies occupied for hours. Homespun Italian-American meets the simple food of the Italian provinces The antipasti platter is a pleasant array of cold calamari salad, chilled egg frittata, semi-sun-dried tomatoes and house-made bread sticks. Pizza, pasta and risotto are on the menu alongside seasonal entrees like veal saltimbucca and pan-seared scallops with green olives. Dessert includes house-made gelato and sorbet and tiramisu.
"I'm a picky New Yorker who is generally disappointed by the quality of pizza and pasta in Austin and I love Asti. " (membeth, Citysearch user)
"The gelato (vanilla swirled with balsamic syrup and chocolate) was explosive with flavor. But the pinnacle of the evening for me was the espresso." (mccurtin, Citysearch user)
"The waitstaff is always very patient and helpful, and the wine is always definately a hit." (julmal, Citysearch user)
"Expensive for what you get. Dining frequently in NYC, I am accustomed to small portions, but please." (thedugman, Citysearch user)
"The tables are very close together, and the kitchen is too close to the diners for my liking, making it feel very crowded." (ellak78, Citysearch user)
Beautiful restaurant. Flavorful food. That's the good part.
Now...EXPENSIVE for what you get. Dining frequently in NYC, I am accustomed to small portions, but PLEASE. I ordered the pan seared scallops. For my $19.00 I got three (3) average size scallops on a small bed of white bean puree. That's it. THREE scallops. $19.00! Not good.
I went home and cooked dinner. After what amounted to a modest appetizer, I was starved.
If you have any kind of decent appetite, this is NOT the place for you.
Great pasta and risotto, romantic setting, reasonable prices. I'm a picky New Yorker who is generally disappointed by the quality of pizza and pasta in Austin and I love Asti. I've had the angel hair with shrimp, several risotto specials, and various pizzas. I've been consistently impressed with the food and gotten good service. The pasta is done perfectly--not soggy or mushy as it is many places. I've enjoyed various pasta specials and never been disappointed although I keep returning to the angel hair. I also quite like their stuffed mushrooms. The pizza is excellent gourmet pizza. The risotto is wonderful. I know another diner panned it, but really, whose opinion do you want on that--the New Yorker who grew up eating it in excellent restaurants and the homes of real live Italians, or somebody who admittedly had never tried it before? I was also bemused by some reviews, because Asti isn't remotely 50s diner. I assume it must have been redone before I moved here in mid-2005. It's romantic and nicely decorated without being stuffy. In general, for Friday or Saturday nights, I'd advise a reservation, but if you didn't make one and live close by it's worth checking in to see if you can get a table. I've been seated without a reservation during prime dining hours a few times when I've had a sudden desire for Italian.
Not for vegetarians.
We started off with what looked like a promising evening. Two of us in the group ordered the mushroom rissotto, after being assured that it could be made without meat. Halfway through the meal, we found out that they had served us the dish with meat. This is deeply disturbing- considering that I have been a vegetarian all my life - until last night.
Yes, the wait staff and the owner apologized for the error. Sure, they sounded sincere. Yes, they did not charge us for the 2 dishes out of 10 that were questionable. Disturbing, none the less.
Great Service, Even Better Food. A dear friend took me to lunch at Asti today and it was quite a treat for both of us. I had the grilled portabello mushroom & eggplant polenta bowl (something I generally would not order, but the menu inspired me to try something different) and I found the dish to be an interesting combination of tastes and textures, but also, simply, delicious. The portion was rather generous and I was unable to finish it. My friend had the special, which included freshly made pasta, to which she made several adjustments and changes (basically creating her own unique dish). Both the server and the chef accommodated her on all her choices and she enjoyed the meal immensely. She felt the service could have been more attentive (she had hot tea, but no refills were forthcoming), plus she ordered bread which was only so-so. Overall, though, the server was knowledgeable about the intricacies of all the dishes, the prices were reasonable and the food--delicious. If we had more time we definitely would have stayed for dessert.
Outstanding carnival of flavor.
Stopped in for lunch after checking them out here. I went in at 11:00 am as they were just opening so I'd have time to talk with my waiter. This guy knew his stuff, he was well versed in the dishes offered, and even told me he could serve off the dinner menu instead (one of my questions) but may need to sub the starch or something. He brought to the table the 2 lunch specials, steaming, for me to view. They both looked good but I was hung on two menu items. At his urging I got the rigatoni. Outstanding dish! I ordered adding the house sausage. This was one of the best pasta dishes I've had ever. The sauce and sausage was very mild but flavorfull. What made it special was the sliced roasted garlic, and the choice of cheese shaved into it. Most would have used a parm regg, not here. The cheese added a tang and almost bite to it that provided a contrast in flavor. While I didn't take the time to dissect it, it had a great tangy/smoky/fresh appeal.
Being a pretty darn cook myself I judge a fine dining establishment on how I can improve the dish. If I think it needs major improvement I'm disappointed in them. I told my waiter that I really didn't think I could improve this dish. Great place, will be going back as often as I can. BTW, my secret is to go early and beat the crowds. You can't ALWAYS expect top notch service if the place is a mad house during the peak service hours.
Fragrant food, close quarters. I have a mixed review on Asti. The food was very good. I had the salmon with taragon cream sauce and quinoa salad with mandarin orange slices. Perfectly cooked fish, and what a wonderful combination- the fresh taragon made the dish! The Marscapone Cheesecake was worth a trip unto itself- a more sophisticated interpretation of the typical sugary cheesecake! However, the atmosphere could be improved. The tables were so close together that the couple behind us had to move to allow me room to sit at the table (and I'm considered thin!) The waiter was friendly, even letting us taste two wines before ordering a glass, however he hovered over us, and even at one point said "I noticed you hadn't taken a bite in a few minutes... are you done with that?" The place was empty--- why the rush to get us out of there?! So, overall--- go for the food, but don't expect much from the ambiance.
Very good food in an unpretentious setting.
We've been twice now in less than 2 months. Both times very enjoyable.
You walk in and it's a very nice feel that you get. Not pretenTious at all. Asti has the feel of a quaint bistro. (NOT a 50s diner, as someone else mentions. Red barstools alone do not a diner make.)
The small tables for two are nice. Ask for the one around the corner from the door. None of the other tables offer any sense of privacy, but it's still a nice feel.
The first time there I had the risotto. I find it humorous that another reviewer, having never had risotto, still proferred that it was bad. If you don't know what it is, maybe it's best not to order it. It was only something they did not like; it is not bad at all. It is very good. I suggest asking to add their sausage. It was great. Classic risotto is supposed to take about 20 minutes to take, so I wondered how they would make it work in less time. I didn't have to wonder too long, though. It really was good.
Our service was excellent. Our waitress was fun and made excellent suggestions.
The second time we went was after watching a softball game, so we weren't exactly dressed for it. But still, in shorts and flip-flops, we were seated promptly and were given good service. Our waiter, though, was not nearly as vibrant as our previous server. I think this had more to do with the length of his shift than our dress.
This time I had the salmon. It was very good. Not dry, but nice and moist. The sauce was excellent.
The wine list is very good. We had a nice Pinot Gris that matched up well with the food; but, remember, when it comes to wine order what you like. The color of the food (red or white) doesn't have to dictate the color of the wine.
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