Five new reviews of family-friendly ethnic cafes and east coast-style pizza parlors
Reviewed by Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Nov. 15, 2002
Cafe Spiazzo5416 Parkcrest, 459-9960
Saturday, 4-11pm; Sunday, 4-10pm
The Center at Parkcrest is home to the Junior League of Austin as well as a few small businesses, one of which is the 12-year-old Cafe Spiazzo. Take a few steps down from the parking lot into this little trattoria, festively decorated with spatter-painted walls, cans of imported olive oil, and jars of multicolored pastas. Long a favorite in this neighborhood, the cafe's owners have also taken a couple of shots at West Lake Hills but now operate only this one outlet. The food is fairly standard Italian-American trattoria fare of antipasti, salads, wood-fired pizzas, pastas, and entrée specials, with a firm nod to Southwestern flavors, as well.
When we're just looking for a quick antipasti, we've enjoyed the pane e aglio ($5.45), thick slabs of wood-fired bread slathered with buttery roasted garlic as well as the caponata ($6.95), a Sicilian relish of eggplant, capers, olives, peppers, tomatoes, and onions that arrives with baked garlic, tangy goat cheese, and a bountiful basket of grilled bread. Either can make a light supper with the addition of the well-made house Caesar salad.
From the "Italy by Way of Texas" section of the menu, I'm particularly fond of the Spaghetti With Shiner Bock Meatballs ($7.95) in a sauce warmly accented with red pepper. One of my companions favored the Southwestern Roasted Pork Loin ($11.95) in spicy mustard sauce, a true feast served with a choice of house or Caesar salad, vegetables, roasted potatoes, or pasta. Thin-crust pizzas from the wood oven piqued our interest, which means a return visit.
Though they're more than happy to stuff you with bread, garlic, and pasta, the Spiazzo menu also offers a delightfully decadent dessert selection, so it's worthwhile to drop in some evening for espresso and coffee. If you've been particularly virtuous all day, you might want to share a slice of Chocolate and Hazelnut Pté ($5.95) or some tiramisu ($5.95). The somewhat lighter options include strawberries and cream ($4.95) or a delicate Moca Almond Cannoli ($4.95). Either way, you'll go home happy. Lunch, dinner, or dessert, the entire Spiazzo menu is available to eat in, take out, or order via EatOutIn.