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Chronicle Loves the Food, but Not the Prices, at ManinPasta

Austin Monthly shares a favorite dish at each Fareground stall

Pizza from ManinPasta
Nicolette M./Yelp

Chronicle critic Jessi Cape visited ManinPasta on South Lamar this week, and found Italian food that was “clearly legit.” Owner Davide Careri is Sicilian, she found each item was crafted with a nonna’s care (and, on a lunch visit, Italian was the dominant language spoken).

Cape started with drinks on the “tucked away” patio, and saluted the “solid” cocktail program. The first dish was the Dal Mare, sautéed mussels and clams in a “luscious” cherry tomato broth. However, her next dish, the classic Roman carbonara, earned high praise:

Here, the house-made noodles were excellent, and the pancetta was so perfect – a crispy, oven-baked exterior that retains its meaty bite – that I found myself distracted from the conversation, focusing instead on forking more pieces. The eggs were certainly fresh [...] and all hail the powerful pecorino.

However, at $18.50 for a regular portion size, she wondered if the dish was worth it.

On the pizza size of things, Cape enjoyed the pizza, particularly the crust which “married thin outside crunch with chewy interior,” but found it a bit subdued compared to the spicier Fuoco dell’Etna with sausage and peppers. However, she was unable to verify the restaurant’s claimed status as Verace Pizza Napoletana (authentic Neapolitan pizza).

Overall, Cape found the restaurant had “unexpected warmth and charm” and hopes a price adjustment will bring the restaurant more business.

At Austin Monthly, Jolène Bouchon visited each stall at Fareground to find its can’t-miss dish. Despite some quibbles about the concept (expensive parking, the small range of the buzzers that alert when food is ready, a confusing system for bussing tables), Bouchon asserts “it’s hard to beat the quality and variety of the food and the relaxed, communal atmosphere.”

Here were her picks from each stall:

  • Antonelli’s: Casatica di Bufala (“banh mi bun stuffed with smoked turkey, boozy cherries, and mozzarella”)
  • Contigo: Contigo burger
  • Dai Due Taqueria: Wild boar chorizo pambazo (“loaded with potatoes, avocado, and cabbage, juicy with a chile bone broth”)
  • Easy Tiger: “Any of the sandwiches on a pretzel bun.”
  • Henbit: Lemongrass shrimp bowl
  • Ni-Kome: “Shoyu ramen with a spicy kick”

ON THE BLOGS: So Much Life Blog declares Intero as one of the best Italian restaurants in Austin, thanks in part to “fluffy and pillowy” gnocchi; Sushi in the ATX sampled dishes at 101 By Tea Haus and highly recommends the “addicting” sweet potato fries.

ManinPasta [Closed]

3403 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78704 Visit Website

Fareground

111 Congress Avenue, , TX 78701 Visit Website

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