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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Sun–Thu 5:00pm–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 5:00pm–11:00pm

Features Date-friendly, good wines, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted


Sixth Street District
507 San Jacinto St.
Austin, TX
(512) 474-9899
The Backspace
Wood-fired warmth and some authentic Italian touches in a metro-rustic space

Parkside’s posterior has the effortless austerity and warmth of a monastery bakehouse: cement and reclaimed wood, pew-like seating, and red wax stalactites dripping from flickering candles. Space is sparse, so the menu makes the rather uncouth plea that you vacate your seat quickly during busy times. Service can be green; you might luck out and get someone who can answer questions about food and wine. Or not.

The small-but-hearty dishes span the Boot, and are mostly made in the wood-fired oven, from roasted Brussels sprouts with crisp pancetta and tart pecorino to baked ricotta with tomatoes and lemon. Seasonal flavors like winter squash with a pepita pesto are comforting while stirring. The contents of the mini cast-iron pots tend to steam to a slight mushiness on occasion. But you can count on the board of quality salumi (even if the Berkel slicer’s set so fine that the meats resemble a Sicilian widow’s shredded tissues).

Pizza crusts have beautiful black blisters here and there, but aren’t quite moist and flavorful enough to enjoy on their own. A faithfully rendered margherita (no bufala, but homemade cow’s-milk mozzarella), a roasted mushroom, and a white anchovy pie are nevertheless delicious. Cute jarred desserts include a correct-textured tiramisù with restrained espresso-booze flavors. A commendable Italian wine list offers a plethora of ideal pairings and affordability—Italians really take their pizza with beer, though, which here is Peroni on tap.

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