New restaurants include Italian, seafood and healthful options

12:00 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 Austin360 Eats
Flower Child downtown focuses on healthy meals like salads and grain bowls. Contributed by Flower Child

The stretch of South Lamar Boulevard between Barton Springs Road and Ben White Boulevard has added two new Italian options.

It’s Italian Cucina recently opened at 1500 S. Lamar Blvd. in the Post complex that is also home to Barlata. Owner Al Fini’s Northern Italian-influenced restaurant, which grew out of a former market of the same name in East Austin, serves dinner nightly, with a menu that includes pastas such as pumpkin ravioli with garlic brown butter sauce, linguine with clams, agnolotti filled with osso bucco and classic entrees like veal marsala and chicken with prosciutto.

It’s Italian Cucina, which offers indoor and outdoor dining, also sells bottles of wine to-go at a 25 percent discount. It is open 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It also serves Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Further south, Maninpasta has taken over the former Aroma Italian Kitchen space at 3403 S. Lamar Blvd. The restaurant serves a lunch menu that includes pastas, salads, Neapolitan pizzas and panini, and it expands on that menu at night for a broad selection of more than 15 pastas, including housemade fettuccine with salmon and spaghetti carbonara and shaped and filled pastas such as squid ink ravioli stuffed with crab meat. The bar serves Italian-inspired cocktails and more than a dozen Italian wines by the glass, and Tuesday night is half-price pizza night. Maninpasta is open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m.

If you’ve been to the Alamo Drafthouse (or Vox Table or Lick Honest Ice Creams et al) over the past year, you’ve seen the work-in-progress that is TLC . Well, the wait is over. The restaurant from the Manera Restaurant Group, which also operates J. Black’s Feel Good Kitchen & Lounge, has now opened the comfort spot that draws on coastal inspiration.

The menu from chef Jeff Parks (formerly of Gumbo’s) includes a variety of seafood boils as well as sandwiches, Gulf redfish, oysters, shrimp and comfort staples like deviled eggs and chicken-fried steak. The restaurant states in a news release that the seafood is “local and sustainably sourced when possible.”

The counter-service restaurant serves 30 beers on tap and feature large tables for communal seating, outdoor space for dining and drinking, TVs set to sports and a game room area with classic arcade games. TLC opens is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

The Austin division of the Fox Restaurant Concept’s empire expands with the opening of Flower Child at 500 W. Second St. Fox already operates North Italia, Culinary Dropout and Flower Child at the Domain and Domain Northside and True Food Kitchen at Seaholm.

As with the original location, the downtown Flower Child focuses on clean food like salads, wraps and grain bowls using responsibly sourced ingredients such as grass-fed steak, organic non-GMO tofu, organic vegetables and more. The new Flower Child is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers indoor and outdoor seating as well as a separate to-go line.

Chef news

Less than a month after coming on with sommelier Paul Ozbirn as a partner and executive chef at Hyde Park staple Vino Vino , Adam Brick and the restaurant/wine bar have parted ways.

“We have not made a decision as to whom will take the kitchen into 2018 but are exploring options and keeping an open mind,” said Ozbirn, who gave no details on the split. “Adam’s incredibly talented, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Ozbirn, a longtime veteran of Parkside Projects, and Brick, who left Apis at the end of October, announced in November that they had joined Vino Vino co-founder Kelly Bell as partners and intended to take the restaurant in a new direction, serving food built around classic wine regions from around the world.

Brick, a native Austinite and veteran of esteemed New York restaurants Daniel, Aureole and Momofuku Ssäm Bar, told the Statesman he has plans to open his own restaurant in late 2018 but is not yet legally allowed to disclose concept or location.

View full experience