Gino’s Vino Osteria: Mueller’s Most Authentic Italian Restaurant
Gino Catenacci dreamed of opening an Italian restaurant ever since he was bussing tables at his Uncle’s restaurant at 12 years old. He envisioned owning a whimsical, family Italian Osteria that featured live music and brought the community together.
When my boyfriend Ian and I walked into Gino’s Vino Osteria in Austin’s Mueller neighborhood, we felt instantly welcome. With low red-tinted lighting and soft relaxing music, this restaurant has an intimate ambiance, while also making you feel right at home. When we walked in the door, we even received a friendly greeting by Li Ping, Gino’s wife who runs the restaurant alongside him.
If you’re looking for a drink to treat yourself to, I recommend one of Gino’s own creations. Ian ordered the Rock N Rye Old Fashioned and said it was a real old fashioned and tasted like a classic. I wanted something fun and fresh so I chose the hibiscus this drink has a hibiscus flower in the bottom of a glass of rosé that added a unique flavor to the drink. It was exciting to eat the flower after I had finished my drink. If a classic wine is your drink of choice, they also offer countless wines as well as wine flights.
After drinks, you will want to treat yourself to an appetizer. Gino’s table-side caesar salad and homemade mozzarella are just a couple of their delicious options. The table-side caesar salad is a unique experience where a table is brought to the side of your table, and your waiter or waitress will personally make your salad for you however you like it.
Before our meal, a basket of toasted bread was brought to our table that rivaled any other Italian bread. The smell, taste and texture all mixed together to create a wonderful experience for our senses. But don’t fill up on bread, you will want to save room for your entree because you won’t be able to resist eating every single bite.
Gino’s menu is full of unique handcrafted entrees and their handmade pasta which is made fresh daily. When I came to Gino’s I was looking for something unique and delicious. I got exactly that with the Frutti di Mare con Pasta Nera. My waiter suggested this decadent dish when I first looked at the menu. This dish is made up of handmade nero pasta (pasta dyed black with squid ink) tossed with scallops, shrimp and salmon with your choice of sauce. I chose to order mine with alfredo sauce and it was quite rich and creamy. But, it tasted very fishy, so if that bothers you, go with something else. My boyfriend, Ian, wanted an authentic Italian dinner and decided to order the Gnocchi di Pesce. This dish features fresh gnocchi, salmon, scallops and shrimp baked with alfredo sauce and topped with bread crumbs. Ian said that this was the most authentic Italian food he had eaten in years. Comparing it to gnocchi he had eaten with his family’s friends from Italy. He already wants to go back for more – and so do I!
Plan to have your leftovers boxed up and leave room for dessert because Gino’s has a hard-to-resist sweet selection. We recommend the tiramisu for a classic dessert that is light enough to follow a heavy pasta.