South Austin Italian Spot Milano Cafe Celebrates 10 Years

An authentic meal in a tucked-away Southwest Parkway strip mall

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Milano Cafe's tucked-away spot in a Southwest Park­way strip mall is often blurred by whirring rush-hour traffic, so it may not be an obvious choice for an authentic Italian meal, but it should be. Co-owner Sami Demi draws inspiration from the flavors of central and southern Italy, and since opening Milano Cafe in April of 2009, he's been serving up comfort food with a side of old country charm and quality service. It's no wonder he's created such a bevy of loyal customers.

During the day, the cafe is a fairly quiet, delightfully quaint place, perfect for lunch meetings or leisurely meals with a glass of pinot noir (or two) and great for families to revel in child-approved plates like a simple penne with butter and Parmesan. When the sun goes down and the rowdy Downtown crowd revs things up, Milano boasts an alternative choice for live music in the larger of its two main dining rooms. It's just about as romantic as it gets.

The exterior provides a stark contrast to the restaurant's intimate atmosphere, but it's the homemade pasta dishes at a reasonable price – fettuccine carbonara with pancetta and caramelized onions, traditional penne Bolognese, chicken piccata – that are the real surprise at this family-owned spot. They've also got vegetarian and gluten-free options galore, and, naturally, pizza. Start with the bruschetta or the cucumber salad (with tomatoes, red onions, dried cranberries, walnuts, and goat cheese, tossed in house dressing) and then dig into a chicken panini or the shrimp-and-artichoke ravioli.

Milano Cafe
4601 Southwest Parkway

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