Every day is a good day to be a foodie in Austin. People from all over the world bring flair to the food they serve. Dee Dee brings Thai street food straight from Thailand. Kemuri Tatsu-ya and Chi’Lantro blend Asian roots with Texas barbecue to yield mind-blowing dishes.
And hidden in Rock Rose at Domain Northside, Mia Italian Tapas & Bar brings its own little twist to the Austin food scene: a marriage of Italian and Spanish cuisine.
Thank you to Mia Italian Tapas & Bar for hosting me for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.
The People of Mia
Italian-Spanish fusion was a first for me, so I was curious about the origins of the food. Turns out, Mia’s unique menu was crafted by two people with diverse backgrounds: James Sun and Chef Alonzo Lopez. They met at an Italian restaurant in Boston. From there, they went on to form a partnership that landed them in Austin, bringing us Mia Italian Tapas & Bar.
Sun and Lopez have created an exciting menu with a range of flavors and dishes to keep you coming back for days. They’ve also compiled a talented team. The back of the house is complemented by an equally good front of house. Nicole (general manager) and Benito (assistant manager) work hard to make their crew of 12 feel like part of a family. This warmth is apparent and trickles down, creating a great experience for diners. Don’t be shy to ask for help if you’re having a hard time deciding what to eat.
Delicious Food Made From Scratch
Everything on the menu is prepared from scratch: pasta, sauce, bread–you name it! Chef Lopez swears by his from-scratch philosophy. The food is also consistent. For instance, Chef Lopez’ family recipe for bolognese is one he grew up with, and has remained unchanged for 15 years. The ingredients are sourced from local farms and vendors. The bar sports a good selection of local alcohol, as well.
While dining at Mia, my strategy was to order five to six tapas, along with an entrée to share. It turned out to be a great way to sample a large portion of the menu. I ordered the bacon-wrapped dates first. The dates were piping hot (be careful!) wrapped in some seriously crispy bacon. The crispy manchego with pomegranate sauce followed. If you’re at the dinner service, be sure to try the ahi tuna crudo—it’s so punchy and spicy! The calamari and shishito peppers were also a great addition to my tapas order.
As far as the bigger plates, I fell in love with the fig and bacon pizza. Interesting fact: most pizzas on the menu do not have a base sauce. Why? It’s to let the topping flavors stand out.
Aside from the pizza, I have consistently enjoyed the spaghetti carbonara and bolognese mafaldine. The hearty pastas are filling and delicious. And just like the pizzas, Mia lets the ingredients do all the talking.
Feel-good Tapas in a Feel-good Restaurant
Mia is full of food that makes you feel good. A lot of love and care goes into it. The rustic-industrial interior adds to the feel-good factor. Beyond going to enjoy a fantastic meal, you can sit and people-watch, or enjoy a book and coffee.
My visits to Mia Italian Tapas & Bar have always ended in happy taste buds and a full belly. For the love of bacon wrapped dates, add Mia to the top of your list of Austin restaurants to visit.
11420 Rock Rose Ave. #120 – Website
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