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I Swoon for La Traviata

12 December 2008 7,489 views 6 Comments

streetWhen Ilyse asked me where I would recommend for our MUD board’s holiday lunch, I suggested La Traviata because it is walking distance from her office and serves delicious food with little pretense. I’m also a sucker for exposed brick.

La Traviata is a perfect spot to meet clients, go on a date, or grab a quick bite before a show at the Paramount or Long Center.

Speaking of lunch, I try to conserve dollars and calories by bringing a salad with lots of stuff in it to the office from home. I just wanted to put that out there since so many of you have the idea that I eat out for every meal!

While the pasta at La Traviata is delicious, I LOVE their hanger steak salad and recommend it to everyone. In a perfect world, you would split that salad and whatever pasta dish you fancy with a friend. That way, neither of you will suffer from the dreaded entree envy.
spicy shrimp
Yesterday I got to try a bit of spicy shrimp spaghetti special (say that 5 times fast!) and it was wonderful. I started off with cauliflower soup which was the soup of the day. It was potato based and served with a flourish of the green part of leeks and olive oil.

I was so excited when the steak salad came that I actually forgot to take a picture. It is beautiful to behold and features spinach, potatoes, roasted bell pepper, green beans, shaved Parmesan, and truffle oil. The steak is served medium rare. I had leftovers to take back to the office and am looking forward to enjoying it again for lunch tomorrow.

All five of us opted for dessert and we passed each dish around so that everyone had a chance to taste. I’m usually not big on Italian desserts (except for gelato of course) but La Traviata knows what they are doing in this area.
waitressOur waitress, Prisma, joined the fun and sampled the toasted angel food cake with strawberries and fresh whipped cream.
We also loved the orange cheese cake, chocolate hazelnut torte with chocolate covered vanilla ice cream, and the cornbread pound cake. Apologies if I mislabeled any of the desserts — I was unable to find a dessert menu online. I hear their tiramisu is to die for as well.
For more musings on Italian food in Austin, check out my post/rant on Mandola’s.
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  • Brandon

    Cornbread pound cake? I’ve never heard of such a thing. That place looks nice and cozy. How’s the service?

  • Jodi

    I’ve only had friendly, knowledgable and unobtrusive service at La Traviata. And I love that when I offered the waitress a taste of my dessert, she accepted!

  • Rachel

    My good friend Chris is the manager at La Traviata and has been for, gosh, 8 years or so at least. He and the chef, Marianne, are constantly jet setting all over the world – San Fran, Argentina, Italy – to keep up with all of the culinary trends. These folks are some serious food lovers.

    Oh, and for you vegetarians out there (or for anyone, really), the Fettuccini con Fungi is a serious aphrodisiac. Works like a charm every time. I’m just sayin’…

  • Anonymous

    It’s scary how my exact thoughts of this place have been translated to the blog…well, more eloquently maybe, but basically spot on. La Traviata is my favorite Italian restaurant in Austin, in no small part b/c of the exposed brick!

    xo,
    Ilyse

    p.s I think the cornbread cake was an Italian pound cake, but it tasted like cold cornbread, which tastes a little better than it sounds

  • Jodi

    What variety of mushrooms are used in the fettucine, Rachel? I ate some oyster mushrooms this week and think those might just be my favorite variety.

  • Double Tonic

    I’ve only been there once or twice for work lunches. I’ve been dying to try it for dinner. Thanks for the reminder about this little gem!