This is a much overdue blog review of this 3-decade old mainstay called Aviano Inn. I had first been here back in May and have since been back four times for meals alone. Closer to ten if you count the patio stops for a drink with friends. On top of that, it’s all but two miles from where I live in Aviano as well. This past Monday evening was my most recent visit and I made sure to account for the experience for you the readers. This review will hopefully be useful to all who live in this area (and even those who do not) as this is what I feel to be an “off the culinary radar” spot that should be smack in the center. If its consistently high-quality Friuli-Venezia-Giulia (FVG) cuisine you seek at great prices, good portions, served alongside exceptional hospitality, then this place is going to be perfect for you. Read on and let me show you why.
First things first…..when you go….make sure to ask for Sandro, the head of the family business now 34 years and running. Sandro speaks great English but is as pureblood Italian as they come. He has worked in kitchens for a very long time and has even taught courses in traditional pizza making up on Piancovallo. I have even got to watch him work his craft rolling pizza dough, pulling pies from the oven to putting the very same slices to my lips. Its an act of true Italian tradition, skill and beauty. Sandro has his mind and hands in every dish on the menu. There is a careful purpose and design with every item to showcase the best local ingredients in the best combinations to give the customer the best dish possible. “If my family does not like something I come up with, I don’t expect that my customers will like it either. I want customers to like the food as much as we do.” Sandro also told me that his goal with his menu is to allow people to taste the food for what it is and to allow them to taste what is typical food of this (FVG) region. Simple in concept but challenging in the reality of running a family restaurant business. Sandro told me that you must find and source only local ingredients from honest producers and let the quality of the food and ingredients speak for themselves.
His menu avoids all preservatives, uses fresh over frozen products. He sources from a local Aviano bread baker and dairy shop. He uses only fresh beef from a local butcher and his cured Italian meats are sourced from Wolf in Sauris. “If the ingredients are not the best and used when fresh, the dish can only be so good” was what Sandro told me… wise words indeed. Let good food, be, good food.
So what did I chow down on this visit? Well, first let us go back to the prior visit just before this one quick. One month ago me and two buddies went in to tackle the star burger on the menu which I now give my #1 place for the best burger in Italy so far. “The Bet Burger.” See below for this monster of deliciousness between two uniquely made burger buns! A double serving of everything of the standard burger plus extra bread slices. Epic eats indeed.
Yes, we all finished no problem. When you come in starving after a big lift session and have a burger that looks, smells and tastes as good as this….finishing is almost a guarantee!
OK so back to the last visit…..About 5pm on A a Monday evening the place is not bad at all traffic-wise. Got seated quick and was being served within 15 minutes of order placement. I have never waited more than 20 minutes from order to serving time here either. Not bad at all given every single meal is made from scratch. I’d happily wait a bit longer for a meal that’s made right and truly does taste better. Between me and my dining companion, we had the following table of goodness put out before us. Feast your eyes!
Some notes I want to make very clear about these items that may get missed just by looking at the images alone.
- Lasagna, a house recipe that uses nutmeg in the sauce, yes nutmeg and boy does it work! Different than any other kind I have had before. This is the only place I had lasagna in Italy so far and the bar has been set quite high!
- Porchetta is cooked for up to 12 hours by sou vide method. Melt in your mouth amazing in flavor, smokiness, and texture. The Porca pizza I had uses this on top and boy does it work!
- Gluten-free pizza crust can be used on any pizza with 2 hours notice before dining in or pick up.
- A long list of staple classic panini (sandwiches) and pizza’s
- Pizza crust is always thin and crispy
- Aviano Inn is open 11-2300 every day except Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Take out orders are acceptable
- Cash or cards are OK
- Front patio is a great place to have a meal or a drink any time of day
- Parking in the rear is available
- Good for groups, families and kids
- Casual atmosphere
- Wide list of wine and beer to pick from