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Mandola’s is to Italian as…

21 November 2008 2,201 views 5 Comments

Like most people, I enjoy reading reviews on sites like Yelp after visiting a restaurant from people who had similar experiences and opinions. In the case of Yelp’s 93 reviewers of Mandola’s at the Triangle, that was a small minority. I’ve been to Mandola’s 3 times and tried pizza, pasta, a sandwich, and gelato. I’ve included excerpts of some of the comments I read that I think are spot on:

meal_003Another one of those fake italian restaurants- maybe its a theme park ride version of an italian market. Although it’s a step up from Canoli Joes, it’s still a thinly veiled American upscale fast food joint. uppity whitebread folk love it. Central Market has about the same selection of “italian-ish” food.
Expensive for counter service — the food here is ok, its not something to shout about. There are better Italian places in town for the money you will pay at this place.
I think they work some crazy voodoo on a lot of you folks and trick you into thinking this place is really authentic. Splash some cold water on your face and look around! Taste your food! Something isn’t quite right. You’re surrounded by yuppies! Holy crap, you’re becoming one yourself! Get out! Get out now before it is too late!
doctoringWhat I like about Mandola’s: Decent gelato, easy for groups, great for a quick bite and you can split when you’re done without waiting for a server to bring the check. I do enjoy that they provide olive oil, red pepper flakes and Parmesan to sop up the complimentary bread. The bread is too floury though.
What I don’t like: Too many suburban yuppies with kids, see above comments for more.
Not to get all SATy on you but: _________ is to Italian as La Madeleine is to French.
a. Mandola’
b. Maggiano’s
c. Johnny Carrabbas
d. Macaroni Grill
e. All of the Above
I’ll give you that Mandola’s is a step up from the other restaurants listed and is not yet a chain.
If you have $30-$40 to burn and you want to take your sweetie out for Italian in Austin, I recommend:
And if you want the best gelato in Austin, go to Teo.
Buon Appetito!*
*When I did a search for “enjoy your meal italian” on google, the above translation came up as the second link. The third, “Mandola’s Italian Market.” Huh.
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  • Brandon

    I couldn’t have worded it any better, Jodi. I felt betrayed after our dinner there, the other night. Maybe even bamboozled, if you will.

  • double tonic

    I have a love/hate relationship with that place. My brother lived in the Triangle when Mandola’s first opened. I loved being able to walk down and get a bite, and I think they’re pizza (esp the prosciutto and goat cheese) is pretty good. I’ve also done a little shopping in their “market.” But yes, it’s a far cry from authentic.

    Your recommendations are probably the same three places I’d pick for good Italian in Austin, but those are about the only three. I might put Asti on that list, too. This town doesn’t have nearly enough genuine Italian fare.

  • Chance

    Skip all the food and try the dessert. The cappacino brownies are great as are the lemon cookies. Heck, get one of each for $2.00. I agree…the food isn’t that outstanding.

  • Marcos

    The gnocchi is very good. But it used to be better and come in a larger portion.

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