Sandwiched between Bribery Bakery and The Thinkery is Austin's latest Italian eatery, L'Oca d'Oro. After three years of pop-ups and supper clubs, L'Oca d'Oro has come to fruition in a lovely way.
The moment you step inside the restaurant, you're feel at home. The open design, big windows, and constant activity evoke a warmth that other spots struggle to capture. Frankly, it's a relief to walk into a new eatery that doesn't feel fussy or pretentious.
Creating this atmosphere comes naturally to Chef Fiore Tedesco, whose resume includes top restaurants like New York's Roberta's and Gramercy Tavern, plus local favorites Bufalina, Franklin Barbecue, and La Condesa. His Italian immigrant grandparents shaped his views around hospitality and food, and elegant dishes from humble ingredients have been the focus from day one. Pasta, bread, vinegar, and liqueur are made in-house. Tables are set with simple white plates and napkins, which create a homey vibe. Tedesco directs the show as Adam Orman, general manager, unhurriedly checks on guests.
The bottle list is largely Mediterranean and has been thoughtfully curated with all price points in mind. The range is suitable for a nervous first date or a 20-year anniversary. Additionally, there are four wine selections on draft, rotated monthly and available by glass or carafe. Beer lovers will be pleased to see everything from porters to sours to cream ales. Summer drinks (vermouth cocktails) and aperitivi are also on offer.
Menu items run the gamut: antipasti, piccolini (Sicilian spiced pecans and snapper crudo), wood-fired grilled black grouper and red wattle pork chop, and larger family-style dishes like the black pepper tagliatelle and bucatini aglio e olio. The standout was the 100-layer eggplant Parmesan with smoked chilies and stracciatella. No word on whether there are actually 100 layers, but we're willing to try all of them. There's also a kid-friendly menu that was "developed" through a children's coloring contest in collaboration with The Thinkery.
L'Oca d'Oro is hoping to become a neighborhood staple, as evidenced by its Community Supported Restaurant membership program. It's an investment opportunity, limited to 120 people. For a fee, CSR members receive priority bookings and reservations, a house account that is transferrable to friends and family, and seating at special events.
L'Oca d'Oro opens for dinner service Wednesday, June 15. Hours are 5 to 10 pm, Wednesday through Monday.