Italic is part of the ELM restaurant group which holds an eclectic group of super casual spots like 24 Diner, Irene’s, and bread making machine and beer garden, Easy Tiger. They do, however, have an upscale wine bar/Italian restaurant called Italic which serves one of the best roasted chickens I’ve ever had and probably in all of Austin. When you walk in, the vibe is a bit cold (at least on a Friday night) with a wide open bar area and a sterile, gray dining room in the back. They do have a killer private dining room that would be perfect for your big group night out.
It can be tough to find an red-sauce Italian restaurant here, but with the house-baked focaccia, rustic pizzas, cured meats and cheeses, and roasted vegetables, you will get some kind of Italian satisfaction here. As if food isn’t enough, Master Sommelier Craig Collins (only one of three in Austin) is bound to find you a delicious wine you won’t be able to stop inhaling.
The simple Kale Salad with walnuts, calabrian chilis, parmigiano, and lemon is a great way to whet the palette and get things started. With a bread company under their belt, there is no reason why the pizza pies shouldn’t be amazing- and they are. As I’m usually a tomato sauce kinda gal, the Mushroom with Taleggio and Orego pleasantly surprised me. I was somehow caught guilty with two slices AFTER the chicken of my dreams. While the name of the restaurant is basically Italy, don’t let it prevent you from ordering the Half Chicken with Arugula-Pistachio Pesto. It’s so precious here, that they have to warn you it will take longer to make than the rest of the dishes. So make sure if this is your solo entree, that you get some sides to snack on first.
Upon first bite, I immediately tasted Chef Jonathan Waxman’s famous roast chicken from Barbuto in New York City. Little did I know, I later found out that Chef Drew Curren, trained under him. Never felt so proud in my life to guess a dish/chef from just a bite of chicken. This, as well as the roasted carrots that are mostly likely covered in honey, are the two dishes that put Italic on the “restaurants to eat in Austin” map for me.
If you are a Happy Hour kinda cowboy, steer towards the half-price pizzas and $5 wines and cocktails or $3 Peroni & Moretti bottles on weekdays from 3 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. or Sundays from 5 p.m. until close.