Trattoria Toscano: Brick Oven, Siena creators bring casual Italian dining to Lakeway

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Restaurateur Stan Adams said he has brought the rustic flavors of Tuscany to Lakeway with Trattoria Toscano, an Italian restaurant located in the Oaks at Lakeway center.

Opened in September, Trattoria Toscano is the latest in a line of local Italian restaurants from Adams, who opened his first eatery—downtown Austin pizza spot Brick Oven—in 1982.

Owner Stan Adams also opened the Siena and Brick Oven Pizza restaurants.

Owner Stan Adams also opened the Siena and Brick Oven Pizza restaurants. (via )

Trattoria is a more casual version of Siena, an upscale Northwest Austin restaurant off Loop 360 that Adams also founded more than 15 years ago.

“Siena is rigidly traditional to Tuscany,” Adams said. “Trattoria Toscano is a more casual and liberally interpreted version of Tuscany.”

He said a “trattoria” in Italy refers to an everyday neighborhood restaurant as opposed to the more formal “ristorante.”

“Tuscan food is, on the surface, very simple,” Adams said. “It often has just three or four ingredients, but they are very seasonal and very fresh. It is very much about enhancing the natural flavors that are already in the food rather than covering it up with a lot of sauces that don’t have [Tuscan] origins.”

He said Pappardelle with wild boar sauce ($14, $19) is one of the more traditional Tuscan dishes available at both Trattoria and Siena.

“The meat is much richer and heavier than what you would think pork would or could be,” Adams said of wild boar. “In Tuscany, they hunt wild boar with a passion because they’re prolific and are pests in farms and vineyards. It’s probably the No. 1 casual dish for Tuscany. Here, we get our wild boar from game ranches in South Texas.”

Beef Tenderloin Toscana ($31.99) includes garlic and shitake mushrooms in a brandy cream sauce.

Beef Tenderloin Toscana ($31.99) includes garlic and shitake mushrooms in a brandy cream sauce. (via )

Entrees range from $10-$30 with happy hour drink specials daily.

Adams said the eatery’s popular dishes include Veal Parmagiana—pan-fried breaded veal scallopini smothered in pomodoro sauce with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses on a bed of fettuccini pasta ($25)—as well as Petto di Pollo Gorgonzola—chicken breast covered in Gorgonzola cream sauce and walnuts with spinach and whipped potatoes ($20).

Trattoria has met Lakeway’s demand for Italian food at an affordable price in a nice setting, the restaurant’s manager, Whitney Teegardin, said.

DOES TRATTORIA TOSCANO DIFFER FROM SIENA?

Although both the Trattoria Toscano and Siena restaurants specialize in the food of Tuscany, a region in central Italy, Siena in Northwest Austin is rigidly authentic, more upscale and pricier.

Trattoria is more casual and has an Italian-American twist. The new Lakeway restaurant has, for example, Caesar salad, “which is very popular and very good, but Caesar Salad is not originally Italian in origin and wouldn’t be found in Tuscany,” said Stan Adams, owner of both restaurants.

“We’re trying to be like a neighborhood trattoria here,” Trattoria Head Chef Phil Williams said. “Bring the kids, have a drink and have some nice, very healthy food.”

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