A Taste of Italy in Dallas Texas
Ciao ragazzi! Avete fame?? I am so excited to be doing this blog post because it is takes a little bit of a personal look into our American/Italian life. Being in an interracial relationship or marriage can be fun. Learning about each others cultures and adapting and adjusting to each other. When one of you leaves your country completely, there can be a big culture shock in the new location and it is not always easy. For my husband, being an Italian in America has not been an easy getting adjusted. One thing that has been an ever evolving adjustment is food. Italians are very big on food! Food is life! Read about our wedding reception here! And finding authentic Italian foods and products was very hard in the beginning of the marriage. But slowly but surely we found spots to get our “Italy fix” and that is what this post is all about. From friends to followers, we are always getting asked where to eat good Italian food or gelato. For those of you who do not know I am fluent in Italian and lived in Abruzzo Italy before me and my husband ever met. So this post is to show how you can have “A Taste of Italy in Dallas Texas” whether you are looking for a Italian restaurant, neopolitan pizza, shopping Italian products and brands or just good authentic Italian gelato.
JIMMY’S ITALIAN FOOD STORE
So one of the first places that we discovered from another local Italian after we got married was Jimmy’s Italian Food Store in Downtown Dallas. This little grocery store sells many authentic Italian food products and brands. I say authentic because I readily recognize these brands from living in Italy. Many times at other stores I will see stuff being labeled from Italy and I have never seen the brand in Italy and I have been in all parts of Italy including their grocery stores many times.
Jimmy’s is were we get our Italian espresso, drinks such as San Benedetto Pesca Tea- my favorite tea brand when I was Italy, Cedrata, Orzo Pupo, Chinotto to name a few. I also love their spices here too such as their seasoned salt, Calabrian peppers and other spices that you typically find in Italy. Their olive oil selection is huge and they have a really nice variety of olive oil that is better than what they sell at our normal grocery stores. When you have had olive oil in Italy and then come to America, there is a big difference. If you never been to Italy, then you may not know how really good olive oil is suppose to taste like. Also they have a great selection of cheeses and Certified Piedmontese meat from the northern region of Italyof Piedmont that you can buy as well.
Jimmy’s is also know for their really good Italian sandwiches. We would typically come here once a month and grab a sandwich. They are so good! You definitely have to try one and have a glass of their house wine while you shop. Jimmy’s has the biggest Italian wine section that I have seen here in Dallas and it is categorized by different regions of Italy. We can find wines from Rome’s region of Lazio, Calabria, Abruzzo – it is great! One of the things that my husband absolutely loves about Jimmy’s is the $1 espresso. In Italy, you can buy espresso at a bar for 1 or 2 euros. Here in the US, bars and restaurants will charge you $3-6 which is ridiculous. So getting a $1 espresso makes him feel like home as well. This place has definitely been a lifesaver.
MILLE LIRE ITALIAN RESTAURANT
Mille Lire is a new Italian Restaurant in Uptown Dallas that has some really really good authentic Italian food! We were literally in a food coma after having lunch here. We loved it so much that we came a couple days later and ate some more and really ate their 4 times in two weeks. This restaurant has only been open for 1 year and I had heard of it but never remembered to go by and visit it. Man we have been missing out! I absolutely love the décor of Mille Lire very chic, garden like with the plants yet very relaxed. You don’t feel like it is an uptight type of restaurant or anything like. Both day and night this, places is amazing and everyone working here is super nice – I truly feel like we have been friends forever.
Celebrity Chef Giuliano has really brought Italy to Dallas. If you never been to Italy and you want a true taste of Italy, this is one of the restaurants that we recommend. It is super nice really was very thoughtful and brought out a particular dish for us to try which happened to be a sausage that is from the region of Italy that my husband is from Calabria. This spicy sausage is called Nduja and the dish that has this is called Gnochetti Sardi. It was SO INCREDIBLY GOOD!! Every ingredient put in this dish was fresh & authentic – it was incredible. Gnocehetti are basically little gnocchi pasta if you every had one. It is like a dough like round pasta which is very good! Another dish we ate was Cacio e Pepe al Tartufo. This is traditional dish from Rome which was also very good. It has a nice creamy black pepper and pecorino cheese sauce which is a popular cheese used in many Italian dishes.
Also another dish I highly recommend is the Spaghetti ai gamberi which is pasta with red sauce and shrimp and trust me this red sauce is divine! This dish made me feel like home. When I go to Italy, this is the main dish I will order at every restaurant because I can’t find it here – so I thought. The other dish I recommend (not pictured) is the Risotto al Salto. Very different way to eat risotto but it is good! This baked dish has short ribs with mushrooms and the sauce – INCREDIBLE!
My husband was literally getting emotional during that lunch which you can see in my Instagram story highlights “Food”. It literally felt like we hopped on plane was in Italy. the quality of everything we ate was soo good. For our appetizer, we had a the Butternut Squash and Crab soup. This was a really good soup and one of their popular appetizers. Nice a creamy and flavorful. My husband had the Burrata Caprese. This was VERY good. It is basically burrata cheese that is known to have a cream center, fresh tomatoes, olive oil and basil. This is a traditional appetizer in Italy. Every meal you know there will be this dish or at least tomatoes and basil. We ate that up!
The other item that you should not sleep on is the bread basket. The bread is so good but what is even better is the creamy whipped butter, ricotta and olive oil that is served with it. We asked for seconds because it is so good. Many times we would not order an appetizer but just have the bread and butter as the appetizer. Then at the end, no meal is complete without dessert. The tiramisu – WOW! At first bite, you knew it was an authentic Italian tiramisu which we have not found yet in Dallas! This was sooo good! Check out my husbands reaction here. I highly recommend ordering this! Thank you to all my followers who tagged me in your IG stories of eating at Miller Lire after seeing my posts. I am happy that you enjoyed my IG stories and food recommendations
CIRCO DALLAS ITALIAN RESTAURANT
Our other favorite Italian restaurant is the beautiful Circo Dallas! This brand new swanky Italian restaurant just opened in September 2018 in Uptown Dallas! There are many Circo restaurants around the world which was founded by Sirio Maccioni. We heard about the opening of this restaurant in Spring of 2018 and they mentioned that this place will be very beautiful! That was definitely an understatement. The decor is absolutely stunning – a type of spot that you would see in New York or Miami. Their rooftop lounge Circo Beach which I nicknamed it the “Nikki Beach of Dallas” is beautiful as well. Read more about it in my post here. Circo Dallas cuisines are headed by Justin Mosley and Sous Chef Pol Pocari from Rome. We got a chance to speak to Pol and he is very sweet and got to speak to him in Italian which is always a delight to speak to someone in Italian especially for my husband.
To start out we with Oysters as an appetizer. I am not an oyster fan, but these were actually really good even though they were raw. They came with different sauces that you can eat them with for more flavor if you would like. Their bread basket was actually very good too. As you know, Italians has to eat everything with bread and this bread and the whipped butter was SOOO good and flavorful. Afterwards we had the Roasted Eggplant or how they say in Italy “Parmigiana di Melanzane”. This is one of my husbands favorite appetizers. After one bite, we were in a food coma! It was really good! The tomatoes, basil and cheese were perfect! It came in a cute little bought that is then served on our plates.
Next we had the house-made pasta which is the recipe of the Egidiana Maccioni called Ravioli Mamma Egi! This is a MUST try! This has to be the best ravioli I ever tasted. I like ravioli but when going to a restaurant to typically never order it because it is nothing ever special, but the Mamma Egi is out of this world! Then came the fish dish! We had Branziano with a vegetable medley. This fish also known as European Sea Bass was cooked and seasoned to perfection. It was very good and we ate every last piece. If you are worried about the fish being too fishy this is not the case. No strong fish smell or taste but just a really great white fish. For dessert, we had their homemade creme brule! It was very good and a cool thing is that engraved is their recipe on how to make theirs!
Sorry were you expecting that this section was going to be about iFratelli!? LOL Our favorite pizza place is Cavalli Pizza which has a location in Irving, Lewisville and McKinney. It is the only pizzeria that we really eat at that is authentic like those in Italy. The American style pizza is just what it is – a very American version of Italian pizza. True Italians won’t even eat it. The original italian pizza is from Naples. Very little ingredients – no pineapples, thick crust, cheddar cheese or fluff. We eat at Cavallis every Sunday like clockwork and order pretty much the same pizza each time. Sundays in Italy is common to go out for pizza or pizza al taglio (a slice of pizza).
What is great about this place is that is its wood fire oven. yes many places have one but does not mean the pizza is good. Trust me – we tried a lot of time. The ingredients of Cavallis is fresh and so good and the crust is just like in Italy. We love it! One of the best things about Cavalli is it is BYOW – bring your own wine! So you can bring your favorite bottle of wine and enjoy an amazing pizza. A lot of Italians eat here. We overhear a lot of Italian conversations while we eat!
SIVIERO MARIA GELATO
So after you eat all of this Italian goodness – what about dessert? Well sorry to tell you Paciugos is not true Italian gelato – even my husband does not understand why this place gets labeled Italian. It is good but it is not Italian. Until you have had gelato in Italy, you would not know the difference. There is only one place we get authentic Italian gelato and that is at Central Market. In their freezer, section there is a brand called Siviero Maria. They have the best gelato and we love it! Central Market is the only place in DFW that I found that sells this.
The flavors that you must get is the Tiramisu (the famous Italian cake) and fragola (strawberry)! They have chunks of tiramisu and strawberries inside and it is so good! The lemon is also very good too. The price point is very good and we always buy two tubs for $3.99 each because it does not last very long in our household. LOL However, it appears that they may have discontinued to the big tubs but only have the minis with the spoon in the inside. Check your Central Market or even HEB stores to see if they carry the bigger sizes. The minis are about $1. They are always are on sale for 4 for $5.00.
So here are our go-to spots! We are constantly discovering new places so as we find more places, I will share them on the blog or Instagram! If you know of any good Italian places, definitely let me know. I would love to check it out. Also if you are restaurant or store in the DFW area and you have authentic Italian products and you would love a feature, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*This post was sponsored but the thoughts expressed are expression are 100% my own with no outside influence