10526 W. Parmer Ln. Ste. #509
Austin, TX 78717
12800 Hill Country Blvd.
Austin, TX 78738
|REVIEW – Galleria location
I have known the Ciola family for some time, over 10 years, and I enjoyed many a meal at the former Ciola’s in Lakeway. And I’ve watched Tony Ciola evolve from a would-be major league pitcher to a seasoned entrepreneur.
His Tony C’s at the Galleria in Austin was and remains a coal-fired pizza slam dunk. And now the perennially restaurant deprived folks in Avery Ranch have something to cheer about. Tony C’s II is up and running.
Their menu is similar to that Galleria store, but the space and the wine list is much larger. The pizzas are still shaped and tossed with aplomb, and cooked in the only coal-fired ovens in Austin. We’re talking 800 degress baby, and at that heat you’d better know what you’re doing. Well considering Tony C’s has been in the top 2 of our annual Pizza Wars every year since they’ve been open, it would be fair to say they know what they’re doing.
When you go onto a pizza joint in Brooklyn or New Haven you get pizza, period. Maybe some clams on the half shell. But in Texas pizzerias are a bit more diverse. So I usually begin at Tony C’s with the Cocino Stromboli which is capicola, salami, pepperoni and provolone all baked inside a wonderful crust. Another must-try is the Eggplant Rollatini. You start with the sweetest eggplant this side of Calabria and add some ricotta, mozzarella, and marina all of which are into the rolled eggplant. Felicious with beautiful texture.
Moving on to the salads, my favorite is the Italian Chopped. This is an amalgam of greens and meats along with garbanzo beans and sweet peppers. It’s a great dish because it encompasses so many flavors. And you must try the sweet yet tangy Burrata Vaprese salad. This is a fresh spin on an old classic with the burrata, made from mozzarella and cream.
And there are featured dishes such as the Pork Chop and Peppers which was a staple on the old Ciola’s menu. What makes this dish for me, aside from the obvious components, is a tangy garlic sauce that ties their meat and vegetables together. So glad they brought this back!
And they’ve got some killer subs at Tony C’s as well. I like the Meatball Sub. This is as basic as you can get: the housemade meatballs are the star and the marinara sauce blends nicely blends in. The Italian Beef Sub is another keeper. This sub was made famous in Chicago, and it still works down here in Austin.
Okay, now it’s time for the pizza! The choices are abundant, and it’s hard to make a bad selection. The crusts are puffy and retain the all important cornicione, so critical to lovers of authentic pizzas. I am drawn to the Donato like the moth to the flame. This coal-fired beauty has sausage, fired peppers, olives, and of course fresh mozzarella. How do you eat it? Ask any east coaster. You roll it up and go for it. The Mama Mia is another favorite? Are you watching, Ms. Bennet? This is Pepperoni and Sausage along with extra cheese for a texture that’s a bit stouter than most, and that’s fine with me. Then then try the classic Margherita (which is what Naples would mandate that we all exclusively eat) which is very good in the hands of the artisan pizza makers at Tony C’s. This simple pie embodies the Italian credo of less is more, yet it has a marvelous taste.
As noted earlier, the wine list is substantial as well as thoughtful and there are wine flights available. Finish things off with a sweet cannoli or some of their amazing Gelati, and you have all the ingredients for upscale casual dining in, of all places, Avery Ranch! Ciao!