Artfully prepared and presented, the dishes at OP Italian are fresh takes on quintessential Italian favorites.
This upscale restaurant, which rests in the heart of the airy foyer of the JW Marriott Downtown, wowed us start to finish with its ambiance, beverages, and of course, its food menu. Read on for our experience!
- By Kelly McComas -
open kitchen / photo by roger ho
Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by the cheery crackle of the pizza oven. OP Italian's open kitchen gives the space a modern feel and promises tasty things to come. The restaurant interior also features a wine bar with relaxed lounge vibes and a romantic dining area, as well as an outdoor patio. It's the perfect place to bring a date or just enjoy some drinks and apps with friends.
blackberry spritz & negroni / photo by roger ho
To drink, we tried some of OP's Classic Italian cocktails like the Negroni, which was balanced and tart. The sparkling, fruity Blackberry Spritz and the Blood Orange & Basil Margarita were refreshing and inventive pours. If cocktails aren't for you, OP has an extensive and well-curated wine list to select from as well.
burrata caprese / photo by roger ho
The food at OP Italian starts with high-quality, local ingredients. The kitchen uses locally sourced meats from Ranger Cattle and Richardson Farms, and fresh produce from Johnson’s Backyard Garden in East Austin. We could really taste the freshness in every course.
garlic bread / photo by roger ho
The appetizers alone make this restaurant a must-try. We loved the savory roasted mushrooms, served atop a bed of lemon-dressed arugula for a peppery kick. OP's burrata caprese was rich and creamy, drizzled with balsamic and finished with plump tomatoes and fresh basil. Surprisingly memorable was our order of garlic bread: thick slices of grilled ciabatta finished with buttery roasted garlic. It definitely wasn't your standard over-salted-and-soggy garlic loaf. The beef carpaccio starter with black truffle oil impressed us as well.
spicy shrimp spaghetti / photo by roger ho
Moving on to the main course, we tried some of the house favorites. OP Italian makes their pasta fresh in-house - every bite was al dente perfection. The rigatoni with vodka sauce and lamb sausage was a hearty delight, but our absolute favorite pasta dish was the spicy shrimp spaghetti. It wasn't overly spicy, but it was exceptionally flavorful - juicy shrimp, fresh basil, and sharp Parmesan made for a combination we'll be dreaming about for weeks.
main course / photo by roger ho
Our entrees were unforgettable as well: moist, flaky salmon drizzled in lemon caper piccata sauce over smashed fingerling potatoes and a tender filet mignon layered with a rainbow of sweet roasted carrots in a pool of striking red wine jus.
warm chocolate cake / photo by roger ho
OP Italian continued to deliver with the final course. You could definitely bring a date here just for post-dinner drinks and one of these gorgeous desserts. The warm chocolate cake was anything but ordinary: topped with fresh whipped cream, salted almond crumble, and amaretto cherry caramel for a unique take on sweet and salty. The rich and creamy tiramisu was elegantly served in a cup and had that classic lightness and coffee flavor we all love. Even if you aren't one for decadent desserts, you simply must try the seasonal locally-made gelato. Our scoop was flavored with persimmon and refreshingly tart, with added depth and warmth from spicy cardamom.
pizza oven / photo by roger ho
interior / photo by roger ho
italian paloma and il americano / photo by roger ho
beef carpaccio / photo by roger ho
filet mignon / photo by roger ho
faroe island salmon / photo by roger ho
tiramisu / photo by roger ho
Get out there and try it for yourself!
OP Italian is now open in the
JW Marriott at 110 E 2nd St.
Bon Appétit, y'all!