Austin >Food & Dining > Vino Vino
4119 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX | Directions 7875130.306997 -97.735300
Neighborhoods: Hyde Park
A long, cavernous cellar of a wine bar, Vino Vino is literally wall-to-wall wine selection. But don't let that intimidate you; servers here are more than willing to make some recommendations based on your particular grape fancy. Also, get the olives as an appetizer. I know that doesn't sound exciting, but they're the young, bright green olives, that yield a surprisingly buttery taste -- which comes out especially well with the lemon zest the kitchen grates on top.
Choice Anxiety? – Interior reminds me of a Berlin wine cellar - certainly not a place for those overwhelmed with choices. Great for a classy first date!
Citysearch Editorial Review – Sitting on the western cusp of Hyde Park is beloved Vino Vino, a swanky yet cozy space filled nightly with romantic dates and small gatherings chatting over a glass or bottle of choice wine. The rich interior with century-old wood floors and a lengthy wooden bar glows with soft, warm light, highlighting the massive wall of wine categorized by weight. The small menu is extravagant, with pork, chicken liver and truffle pate and beef tartare garnished with quail egg and brown-butter champagne vinaigrette.
not worth the hype – upon first entering this restaurant to attend one of their annual events, the looks alone prompted me to expect a fabulous experience. however, there was very little about my experience that was enjoyable and absolutely nothing that will lure me back.
the annual event that i attended was a wine tasting, with a benefit for charity. the event was poorly planned and executed. there were several tables serving wine and a list of wines by table, but no numbers on the tables.
there were crowded clusters around each table, making it impossible to have a conversation with the hosts presenting the wines, and, except for one, the hosts themselves had very little to say to make our party feel welcome. before we had a chance to make it to some of the tables, they had run out of wines for tasting.
also, there were absolutely no palate cleansers whatsoever except a few bottles of water, making the differentiation between the wines (all variations of the same type of wine) nearly impossible.
the invitation to the event suggested that food would be involved/included, so we moved inside to the restaurant after being frustrated at not being able to proceed easily from one table to the next. we were greeted upon entering the restaurant but the hospitality stopped right there.
having been a regular at several upscale wine bars in new york city, i expected that this one would be no different. unfortunately, i was horribly wrong.
there was no consistency in who exactly was tending to our table, since three different people were coming and going from all over the restaurant and were hardly present at all during our meal. the most frequent "waiter" to our table was sarcastic, negligent, rude, and messy, spilling water all over our food. several times we made eye contact with our original "waiter" who introduced the menu, and who never returned to our table after that.
the food itself was also disappointing. each was lacking something: the mussels had no bread, lemons, or small forks. the salad looked like mint and tasted like arugula with avocado smeared all over and no hint of the vinaigrette that it was supposed to come with. the cheese plate was a mere six wedges, all of the same cheese, with two sliced grapes. in essence, the food was overpriced and under-performing.
needless to say, when the service is good but the food is lacking, a person may be tempted to return for the atmosphere. however, compared to other wine bars in this city alone, this one is a far cry from being in the same league in all areas, except for the wine selection. even then, i'd prefer to spend my wine browsing and tasting anywhere else in the city.
A Definite Wine Bar Jewel – What an incredible restaurant! This little gem is tucked away in the Hyde Park area, with an understated sign. But once you enter the restaurant, you are blown away by the openness that is afforded by real wood floors and trussed wood ceilings. The restaurant feels roomy, as the tables are spread out, lending a ease of walk ability for patrons and wine shelf spectators. You seat yourself and are soon greeted by one of the many waitstaff, encouraging you to select a bottle from the numerous (70+) shelves installed on the wall. If you are overwhelmed (which I almost immediately was), the waiters are quick to guide you through the bottle maze. They have great selections from Italy, France, South America, but few choices from the States.
Don't be deterred by the prices of a traditional wine bar, this place has bottles to satisfy any budget. Whites range from &19 and up, with reds from $25 and up. They've even got a selection of champagne, if you so desire.
The food selections are also varied and meant to compliment many wine varietals. An off the menu favorite - Vino Vino offers a cheese plate assortment for $13, which comes with fruit, nuts and bread. You can select up to three different cheeses with this plate. I encourage you to try the scallops, as they've quickly become my favorite!
Sitting at the bar gives you a great view of the crowd, and also the passers by on the street. If you can, go on Monday nights, when Ephraim Owens plays some incredible jazz beats.
Parking can be a little hairy, but I've been able to snag street parking on both occasions. Also, check their website, as they frequently update and inform you of specials throughout the month.
Great selection and friendly staff – The atmosphere is great. It's dim but open and the tables are far enough away you can have a conversation with someone and not worry about being heard. Intimate but not too much. I really enjoyed the experience and the waiter was very friendly. They have a great wine selection with a large price range. I gave it a 4 only because I didn't taste the food. I will definably go back and if I'm in that area, I'll stop in to buy a bottle instead of at the regular grocery store.
great wine selection and pairings – The service was spectacular! The food was delicious, I got the foie gras trio which was delightful. Each main course and appetizer has a wine reccommendation underneath it on the menu. I am experienced with wine pairings and all the reccommendations were wonderful and complemented the dishes well. I highly reccommend this restaurant! Best in austin!
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