Panini Means Sandwich.

By Sarah Shea

   If you love charcuterie boards, espresso, and gelato, La Matta has everything you want and more. The hidden gem is located in East Austin directly adjacent to the Plaza Saltillo Metro Rail Station. They offer a variety of paninis, salads, boards, coffee, and even wine on tap. The aesthetic inside immediately pulled me in and they also have a cute patio with outdoor seating. The windows provide nice natural lighting that opens the place up. A good way to describe La Matta is urban Italian, all the Italian you love, just minus the noodles (Chef Erind Halilaj, who is executive chef at La Matta, also whips up goodness at Il Brutto next door where you can satisfy all your handmade pasta and pizza cravings).

   The food can be described in one word, fresh. Each bite of my sandwich was as fresh as the first. I got a number five on ciabatta, it had prosciutto, goat cheese, cucumber, and arugula. My friend got a number three on sesame, it had prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella (super amazing by the way), and arugula. The flavor was plentiful, and the freshness will bring me back. I love a good cappuccino, so I couldn’t resist and it didn’t disappoint. My friend got a latte and it didn’t disappoint either, neither did the cutely colored cups they came in. Although the menu is simple, there are a lot of options to choose from. 

   Just with coffee options, you can choose between whole, non-fat, coconut, or oat milk and if you’re feeling up to it you can add hazelnut, vanilla, or caramel flavoring to any coffee beverage they offer. They also have three different choices of bread for paninis, including ciabatta, focaccia, and sesame. The food was amazing and came in very generous portions for the price. The perfect place for grabbing a coffee and having conversation, or having a filling meal with your favorite meats and cheeses.

   If you go with a friend and can somehow agree on a panini to split, that and a charcuterie board should be the perfect meal. If you can’t agree on a panini to split or you’re dining alone, the very friendly staff will wrap up your sandwich for you to take home. If you’re more into the greens, their salads looked amazing as they were brought out to the table beside mine. The size of the salad looked pretty big and the lady eating it had one thing to say when she took her first bite: “so fresh”. I’ll be coming back soon to try a salad. If you’re on the Eastside and need new breakfast options to try, their small but mighty breakfast menu was very intriguing. 

   Now time for the real reason you’re still reading this blog, the gelato I mentioned at the beginning. The chocolate hazelnut gelato was to die for. It was described to me as a Nutella tasting gelato and I couldn’t agree more. I was scraping my bowl when I was finished just trying to get one last taste of it. Their new seasonal gelato is green tea almandine with amaretti cookies and it was equally amazing. My friend who isn’t a fan of green tea was even raving about it, the amaretti cookies complimented the green tea flavor perfectly. If you’re looking for a casual new lunch spot where everything is fresh, La Matta is the answer. Perfect for a date or even stop in by yourself and grab an americano while you read or study.