Austin >Food & Dining > Tony's Vineyard
2828 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX | Directions 7870530.295789 -97.744267
Sun 5pm-11pm; Mon 11am-1:30pm; Mon 5pm-10pm; Tue 11am-1:30pm; Tue 5pm-10pm; Wed 11am-1:30pm; Wed 5pm-10pm; Thu 11am-1:30pm; Thu 5pm-10pm; Fri 11am-1:30pm; Fri 5pm-10pm; Sat 5pm-11pm
Neighborhoods: West University, Central Austin
A Local Favorite! – Wow! I'm surprised that some reviews claim Tony's has bad food or service. I've eaten there many, many times, and I've always had a delicious, filling meal and prompt, attentive service (although, yes, there is one waiter who can be a bit harried).
I used to live in Italy, and although I would say this is not as good as some of the food I ate there, it's one of the better affordable Italian restaurants in Austin. I have no idea how people can prefer someplace like Buca Di Beppo over Tony's. Really. That's crazy. As for authentic Italian, I would say it's far closer than most places, but yes, the dishes are catered to an American audience. Still, far better than your typical Italian joint.
The bread is always warm and tasty, served with an olive oil herb mix, to which I add salt as that is how it was served and eaten when I was in Italy - I prefer it that way. Perhaps it's just a regional custom. I also never saw folks dip their bread in oil in Italy. They poured it on the bread directly, but in the states they dip, so whatever.
The insalata mista is pretty dead on to what I had overseas. I order it with the house vinaigrette, which is very good, but sometimes applied a bit too liberally.
The wine selection is good. They carry Vernaccia Di San Gimignano - one of my favorite Italian wines, which I do not find available all too often.
I love to order the chicken picatta, which is always fresh, flavorful and delicious. For my side pasta, I typically order a pasta with pesto sauce. On occasion, the pesto has been a bit off (overly garlic-y, once it tasted a bit smokey), but the last few visits it has been very good.
I do not care for tomato sauces, so I have never tried any marinara or tomato based sauces or dishes. My SO has, and the verdict has always been that they are very good.The atmosphere is pretty chill. We love it, and like I said, it is a local favorite. We will continue eating there for filling, tasty food at a reasonable price.
Still a winner – I had not been to Tony's in several months but when it came time to take my staff out to lunch I suggested Tony's. We were there only ones there at lunch which made me a little nervous but when we went in they had our table ready and the attentive server was great. We had over 10 different entrees and all came out at the same time and cooked to perfection. The bread was wonderful and kept coming, everyone left full and very happy. This place is a gem!
Best italian in Austin – I've lived in Austin for many years and am from Chicago and had almost given up on Italian food here until I stumbled into Tony's Vineyard. This is great pizza and the Marinara sauce is by far the best I've had anywhere add to this the fresh homemade bread that is served with seasoned extra virgin olive and well I am now a regular.
Worst Service and Rude Manager – This was by far the worst service and meal I have had since residing in Austin. Where should I start? First it takes 10 minutes to get just our waters, I asked for a straw and my friend ordered a coke. he forgets completely and finally checked up on us after 15 minutes where we had to ask him for the same thing again. He kept leaving before we even finished talking, having to wait again and again for him to come to our table. Our waters were empty, no one came to refill them, the drinks we ordered were watery because he decided to bring out our salads and drinks, but took orders from another table while flies flew around our salad and our drinks got watered down. And here's what topped it off. I looked at my watch and realized it had been over an our since we put our orders in and still our food didnt come out. When he passed out our bread plates, half of them had yellow crust/residue on it and we had to get new plates. I finally had enough and complained to the manager explaining we had waited over an hour for our food, instead of being apologetic he rudely snaps at me and says our food is on the counter and walked away. We finally get our food, yes the food we waited over an hour for, to find that one order was completely wrong and all of the food was cold. The sauce was watery the shrimp tasted like it was spoiled, it was absolutely repulsive. Everything was dirty, i tried to sprinkle salt on my pasta since it was so bland only to find that the salt was completely stuck inside the bottle.
I will never go back again, nor would i recommend it to anyone. Not only was the restaurant dirty, but the food was bland, the service was horrible, and the manager/owner was a complete tool.
Bland food – The salads were mediocre. The main course, chicken marsala had no flavor one so ever. It was edible but tasted as if no sauce at all was in the recipe. The chicken cabarina (sp?) was equally bland. It all was edible but completely lacked any flavor in anything except the salads. Even the bread had no taste.
Nothing Italian in Tony's Vineyard – Finding true Italian food in Austin is a challenge. Indeed Texas is not a typical Italian immigrant destination, and therefore the local Italian food is often modeled upon hand me down obscure recipes designed to appeal to the mainstream American palate. Tony's is a prime example of this phenomenon: it is a stereotypical "Italian" venue that has nothing in it from Italy. Start with the numerous misspellings in the menu, and continue on to the Antipasto appetizer plate that features... low grade supermarket cold cuts. The bread is freshly made in the oven... but there is no salt in the recipe. The tomato sauce is to an Italian meal what the piers are to the Lamar bridge... well the sauce here is a naive combination of cheap tomato paste and water. Positively and absolutely no flavor, even the stale Di Giorno parmigiano surrogate could not make up for that. The wait staff on the other hand was kind and attentive, but the kitchen slow to deliver even though there were only three tables going. We thought of drowning our sorrow in a glass of wine but only half glasses were delivered for the price of full ones...
Wonderful food and impeccable service – My friends and I had been to this restaurant twice before, and we returned to Tony's for the Four-Star quality service and the tasty food. The escargo was dreamy in a seasoned butter sauce. The calamari was cooked with a light, fluffy batter. I loved that the Fettucine Alfredo with shrimp that I ordered had noodles that were cooked al dente. Al Dente! I was in heaven. I tried my friend's spaghetti and meatballs and the sauce was thick and flavorful. My other friend ordered the special of the evening, the Tortellini. Although he wasn't crazy over it, he let the waiter know; and the waiter was pleasantly attentive and courteous. It added to the gracious dining experience.
This restaurant is nestled off Guadalupe and 29th where the old Piccolo's restaurant once resided. The restaurant is opened late, which is why we went to Tony's for one of our prior visits. We once showed up with 23 people after 9 pm, and Tony's quickly accommodated our large group. We were duly impressed with this alone. In addition, we had the great service I noted above. Yes, the desserts are not made in house, but they are still delicious, rich, and fulfilling cakes.
I highly recommend Tony's Vineyard. And, as an FYI, last time I was there, I did not notice any entrees over $20. Can't beat it.
Finally, great italian in Austin! – I was more than pleasantly surprised with this charming little Italian restaurant! Our waitress was very friendly and knowledgeable of the menu, the food was excellent and the bill was extremely reasonable. The appetizer (calamari and fresh tomato and mozzarella) came quickly and was delish. The cream sauce on my pasta was amazing. The pizzas were great- the "tony's favorite" pizza was awesome, very cheesy and spicy, and the pizza vegitali had tons of fresh veggies. Tony himself recommended a wonderful Chianti for our meal. Friday and Saturday nights are busy, so coming a little earlier or later (or on a week night) makes the service a bit faster. The menu has tons of options so I will definitely be back many, many times!
Why isn't there any good cheap Italian food in this town! – We went here on a whim and it stunk. We are in search for an inexpensive Italian restaurant that is actually good in the heart of Austin. The fruita de mar (spelling?) was one of the worst versions ever...full of squid and not much else - not a clam in sight even though that was listed on the menu. The bread was overcooked hard bricks and the Italian dressing was Kraft for sure. You would assume that if you order the Italian dressing at an Italian restaurant that it would be from scratch...not here! I still don't understand why it received a 9.1 overall rating...not in my book.
Awesome on an Off night – The bruschetta was awesome, the service was fast and personal, and the place was practically empty. Quiet enough to have a good conversation but not sterile or uninviting. Great Place on a Tuesday around 9 pm.
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