Jump to content
foodie52

[Austin]Mandola's Italian Deli

Recommended Posts

I visited for lunch with the famiglia and the wife and I agreed that it was better than we expected; the bruschetta were as reputed and the pignoli cookies indeed very good (almond paste, egg whites and pine nuts -- the taste of Italy!).

 

 

tin for.>>

Not to mention how much I loved the waiter who immediately offered our little guys a basket of foccacia, and who repeatedly came over the play with them the entire time we were there! :(

 

Much of it looked like this: :(

 

And we were all very happy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, I'll be the lone dissenter...

 

I am very impressed with the market section of the shop. The bakery and dry goods look great and are some harder-to-find items in town.

 

Let's talk more about the restaurant operation. We went for lunch. I had a bowl of the veggie soup with a big crouton. It was basically a giant bowl of boiled mush. Tasty boiled mush, but definitely cooked past it's prime.

 

My friends split a Piggy sandwich. First off, they wanted something turkey or chicken, neither of which was available. OK, so I've never been in an authentic Italian deli, so perhaps it's unrealistic to expect that they'd have that. But still. The sandwich was also over-toasted, which made it extremely difficult to take a bite. They said the innards were tasty, but that bread made it tough to enjoy it.

 

So, after the light lunch, we were looking forward to a bit of dessert. One friend got the last cranberry scone - she proclaimed it delicious.

 

After prying information out of the girl behind the bakery counter, who either didn't know what things were or didn't want to tell me about it, I gave up and settled on the cheapo lemon cookie. Which I didn't eat more than two bites of because it was ROCK hard. Maybe it's the type of cookie designed for dunking in coffee? But since the bakery shop girl didn't let me know, I was not happy with my choice. And it wasn't like she was busy, it was well after the lunch rush and there was no one else waiting. After looking forward to going to the bakery counter there, I was terribly disappointed.

 

Maybe my expectations were too high? Walking out, I saw some folks with bruschetta - if I ever go back I guess I will just get that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LHG, it's a shame to hear your visit went up in flames like that...

 

I must say, I wouldn't blame them for not having chicken or turkey sandwiches, since you really wouldn't expect to find such things on the lunch menus of Italian delis.

 

But it's sad that the cookie chick didn't give you any advice as to what to order... I was happier with the bruschetta, but as I told W, I would have been happier with it with wine. :lol: There was definitiely a crusty issue, but nothing that I wouldn't have expected in any other Italian place. Granted, my legit Italian experience is limited to Venice, but NJ and NY sure have their fair share of genuine places, and this was certainly on a par with or better than anything encountered there.

 

Sorry you had a not-so-great lunch...

 

D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is fair to expect that Mandola's will not get everything right, especially since it is still new.

 

Never tried their pasta dishes, but they do not look like anything special. Ate a bite of my friend's ricotta cheese danish and thought it was awful, even though she liked it.

 

Their breads are some of the best in Austin and the wedding soup is amazing.

 

I am going there for lunch this week with a couple of buddies so I will be able to taste a larger selection of their menu.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll second, or third, or whatever that recommendation for the wedding soup. Fabulous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it is fair to expect that Mandola's will not get everything right, especially since it is still new.

...

 

Their breads are some of the best in Austin and the wedding soup is amazing.

 

Yes, I agree. Thinking back on it more, I was still ok with my visit up until the disgruntled gal behind the bakery counter. The customer service there has been great, one guy recognized me from my first trip there (where I just looked around and thought COOL!). The guy at the order counter helped my friends pick out their meal when we were overwhelmed with choices.

 

It was just that bakery girl. Sure, I may have been the jillionth person to ask her "what's this? what's in that? which do you like?" but darn it, I don't read italian and my entire life has been lived with a definite hispanic flavor. Italian delis and such are new to me. She was my last impression of the shop and left me with a negative impression. Sad, ain't it?

 

I have had one of their breads. The big round wheaty one with the X on top. It's great.

 

Next time I'll give the wedding soup a try. If I don't just opt for a lunch of giant breschetta. And if I see that same gal behind the counter at the bakery I'll just skip that part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damien was in Central Market on Saturday: I caught him at the meat counter, buying a ham and some beef short ribs. I told him how much I've enjoyed his place, and then said that I've heard some not so cool comments. I gave him your number, LHG.

 

JUST KIDDING!!!

 

He said to give them time: they've only been open 3 weeks and are working out the kinks. I did talk to another person at work who had had to wait a long time for his food .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gallery_394_349_80702.jpg

 

I felt that this thread was missing pictures. I present the Mandola sub.

 

Amazing what a person can justify after a 2 hour session with a trainer. I figured it was not too bad since I saved half for lunch tomorrow. This picture does not due justice to the size of the sandwich.....

 

I have not seen their semolina bread in while but it was as good as the stuff I used to buy in Brooklyn.

 

In my humble opinion, the strength of Mandola's is still there deli/grocery selection. They have cool stuff like:

 

Pork jowls for $8/pound

ricotta salato (sp?) for $5/pound

Speck for $8/pound (do not have a clue what it was but it was by Niman Ranch and looked really interesting)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just came back from lunch at Mandola's. I have not been there in a while so I was curious on how things were settling out.

 

Service is still a little inconsistent. I have never personally had any problems, my friend had to wait some time for his lunch after the rest of us had our lunch delivered to the table. I am pretty sure his pizza was delivered to another table. The pizza looked as good as ever, but I would have lost a finger if I tried to take a crumb from him.

 

Tomato salad is still awesome!

 

The wedding soup was good, but not as rich with meat and vegetables as before. Maybe it was just this batch???

 

The bread is easily the best in Austin, I do not think there is a close second for Italian style baked goods. The pastries looked good enough to bring a tear to me eye, but I did not succumb to temptation.

 

On June 3 there is a wine tasting, might go check that out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently went to Mandola's. Good food, DISASTROUS service, so a mixed review, I suppose:

 

Damian was there, greeting a LONG line of people waiting to order and pick up sandwiches; the place was packed. By the time I reached the front of the line, the place had thinned out quite a bit. I ordered an Italian sandwich exactly as Damian had suggested (by now I've forgotten what it was that made it different than what was in their menu), then began to wait.

 

And wait.

 

And wait.

 

And notice other people waiting a long time.

 

And wait some more.

 

By the time the food for my friend and I finally arrived, I didn't care whether it was good or not - I was boiling mad that it had taken more than 30 minutes to assemble my carry-out sandwich order. Judging by the LOUD comments from the rest of the folks waiting, they weren't happy either.

 

Then I checked my sandwich and it was not as I had ordered. I explained that this service was unacceptable, no matter how new they were and how unexpected their enormous carry-out business was. And I asked them to remake my sandwich, exactly as Damian had instructed some 40 minutes ago. By now, Damian was long gone.

 

When they offered to refund my money (I had paid immediately after ordering, but not to the same person - a complicated and inefficient system), I refused. I believe that the "we'll refund your money" policy allows restaurants to offer bad service, knowing they can just make up for it with a comp. So if offered a comp, I refuse it and don't return.

 

Even though the sandwich was pretty darn good, I won't be back. Ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

On June 3 there is a wine tasting, might go check that out.

 

 

 

For those who are interested, the wine tasting is at 3 p.m. on Saturday -- they'll be doing six Italian wines, half whites and half reds. There's a $10 charge and it's first come, first served...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just in case anyone is curious, I was talking with Damion about the absence of fresh pasta that they previously carried.

 

The fridge unit was not keeping temperature so they have ordered another unit. When they new fridge comes in 3-4 weeks they will go back to selling packaged fresh pasta.

 

Until then, anyone who wasts fresh pasta can just order at the counter and they will make any kind of pasta to order.

 

His son is in from college and I guess will be a "hands-on" presence to address service issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...