austin: l’oca d’oro

L’oca d’oro (Italian for “The Golden Goose”) is housed in a quaint location in Mueller. It’s right across from Mueller Lake Park, so even if you don’t have a reservation, you can spend some time waiting by walking around the cute scenery and watching the sun set over the waters.

Their menus are seasonal, so depending on when you go, this review may or may not apply (hah). But you have our word that no matter what they serve (because we’ve probably been enough to have gone through all the menus LOL), the food you will get is exceptionally tasty, high quality, and served by a fun and caring staff.

Our first time here was December 2018. If you may remember, it was actually at L’oca D’oro that the concept of starting a food blog flitted through our minds, and it was a picture from L’oca D’oro that was the first picture Hungry Mind, Hungry Stomach posted on Instagram. We had found good reviews for this cute Italian place in Mueller, so we decided to try it out ourselves. That night, we’d ordered the polpette (essentially brisket and pork meatballs with tomato jam and garlic toast) and some sort of smelt (fish) as appetizers.

For the main dish, we’d ordered the beet risotto, which to this day, remains my absolute favorite dish IN AUSTIN. Yeah, I said that. With a dallop of marscapone and short ribs that melt in your mouth, this dish is so flavorful (and colorful). It’s buttery but not overwhelming; it’s a holy combination of everything good. It’s also only on their winter menu, so I had to wait almost a whole year before I had this dish a second (and then third, fourth, and fifth time).

Since then, we’ve come back countless times for happy hour (half off on certain appetizers and drinks? HELL YES.) And yes, over the course of our time in Austin, we’ve tried all the appetizers. Gold medal goes to the polpette and the arancini (smoked mozzarella), and a close silver medal goes to the L’Oca Mozzarella or the braised pork belly. You’ll want to order a few appetizers — or heck — just go for the appetizers and wine during happy hour. You’ll come out just as happy.

We’ve also tried most of the main dishes (yeah, yeah, we’ve been a LOT). If the beet risotto isn’t on the menu, then the Mafaldine is the next go-to. With smoked short rib, XO sauce, acqua pazza, this dish is fun and creative, with tint of spiceness to keep you entertained. The Lasagna is a close honorable mention, if you’re feeling comfort and familiar food presented in a new way. After all, you really can’t go wrong with lamb, caramelized onion ricotta, roasted pioppino & shiitake mushrooms, pistachio crema.

Perhaps what this entire review is trying to say is that you should go to L’oca D’oro. Whether it’s a casual or formal occasion, a date with a significant other or a night out with friends, L’oca D’oro really is the place to go. I’d continue raving about it, but I’m currently quarantined away from Austin, so now I’m just jealous of all the people who can order To Go orders. So instead, please enjoy these pictures.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

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