Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mandola's Italian Market

My husband asked me today how I would describe Mandola's. I said "yummy". Then I asked him what he meant. He said, "well is it a market where you can get food, or a restaurant where you can buy stuff?" Hmm. I never thought about it. But, my conclusion is that it's a restaurant where I feel comfortable going anytime for a good Italian meal. Tuesday night? Sure. I'm in jeans and a t-shirt? No problem. It's just easy. There are Italian places you go for a special night out, then there's Mandola's. Good food. Nothing fancy. Go anytime. You won't spend a lot and you'll leave happy. I would like to find more neighborhood Mom and Pop Italian places in Austin, but there's a dearth of those. And I want to be able to have Italian food when it's not my birthday or anniversary (granted, I don't eat pasta as much in Austin as I did before I moved here. It's not hundred-degree-weather food, but I'm a pasta fiend).

I've been to all three Mandola's locations and they are all very similar. I've actually gone to the market and bought special pepperoni for homemade pizza there, but more often I'm there for a meal. You order at the counter and get a number for your table. They will bring complimentary bread to your table and will bring your food. They may ask if you need refills, but they aren't full service wait staff and there is a drink station where you can get your own refills. I like this setup, because it keeps dinner prices down, and if I'm eating pasta, I don't need to be too lazy to get my own drink refill, now do I? 

I may have already admitted this, but I'm kind of a sucker for kitschy decor. I find Mandola's bright and happy. I'm thinking of decorating my whole house in Italian gourmet food products. It's cheerful. Ok, just kidding about decorating my house like this, I'd end up eating the decor eventually. My grandmother swore we had no Italian genes in our family. Maybe I'm adopted. This kind of place feels homey to me. 

I've had several dishes at Mandola's. My favorites are the spaghetti carbonara, tortellini moda mia and the Parma pizza. My husband, the grumpy fat man has repeatedly ordered the Diavola pizza, so he must like it. 

Parma Pizza
Interior of the Mandola's at the Galleria, Bee Cave

We love the mural of the large nosed old ladies sniffing cheese. They have this at the Bee Cave and William Cannon locations. I can't remember if it's at the original at the Triangle. 

Complimentary bread at the William Cannon location. We didn't like it much. It's texture was like a sponge that had a hard exterior. But, it was free, so we're not complaining. 

Interior of the William Cannon location. Rustic bread as knick knacks. Edible design. 

Hubby's go-to pizza. The Diavola. 

Tortellini Moda Mia. I am picky, but I ate most of my mushrooms and exactly four of the peas. I'll never understand ruining good pasta with peas. 

The exterior of the William Cannon location.

Mandola's Italian Market on Urbanspoon Mandola's Italian Market on Urbanspoon Mandola's Italian Market on Urbanspoon

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