Austin 360: Mathew Odam’s Top 25 Austin Restaurants 2016
Answer: The restaurant I always recommend when people want a nice, consistently executed dinner without pretense or the fad-chasing folks more interested in a scene than a good meal. Question: What is Fabi & Rosi? Chef Wolfgang Murber’s restaurant stands out not just because it is one of the few very good restaurants west of MoPac Boulevard but also because it is one of our few restaurants with a decidedly European point of view. Which makes sense given that Murber is a native German. His wife and partner, Cassie Williamson, lured him to her hometown, where they opened the restaurant named after Murber’s nephew and niece in 2009.
Those expecting bold, rich flavors won’t be disappointed in butter-drenched escargot, a soothing beef consommé with bone marrow dumplings, rosy duck breast served with creamy polenta, or a massive raviolo stuffed with earthy minced mushrooms that you would swear were mixed with beef. Not everything carries such heft, of course. A summer salad of tomatoes livened further by lemon and dill créme fraîche tops a thick and mildly sweet steelhead trout with crackling skin. Bonus points for being the rare upmarket restaurant that features an outdoor seating area that welcomes dogs (you know, if you’re into that sort of thing).
USA TODAY: 10 BEST
Do 512: Best Charcuterie in Austin
Eater Austin: Austin’s Most Underrated Restaurants
1 | Fabi + Rosi | This romantic little west side European restaurant consistently tops readers’ recommendations for hidden gems. It’s a collaborative effort between German-born chef Wolfgang Murber and his Austinite wife, Cassie.
Austin Chronicle: Top 10 of 2015
“Top 10 Restaurants That Just Don’t Get Enough Love”
1) Fabi + Rosi
Elegant decor: check. Exceptional continental cuisine: check. Reasonable prices: check. Why don’t you have reservations already?
by Rachel Feit, Jan 1, 2016
Austin 360: Mathew Odam’s Top 25 Austin Restaurants 2015
Fabi + Rosi | This restaurant shimmers with modest elegance that belies a stout soul.
Chef-owner Wolfgang Murber pulls from German traditions and flavors to create bold and distinctive flavors. Caraway enlivens a beer sauce surrounding two large smoked lamb chops sitting atop a tangy kraut made with Brussels sprouts. You can get a taste of Germany in the classic red wattle pork schnitzel and spätzle dish, and Murber may introduce you to new preparations. I’d never seen ravioli the size of which he served at one recent dinner, but I was told the large, blanketed folds of pasta filled and topped with earthy mushrooms were customary in his home country. Fabi + Rosi hews to the lighter side of things with a chicken roulade with quinoa and an emerald green bibb salad laced with smoked trout and dappled with crème fraiche. With attentive service, a refined atmosphere and cooking with a strong point of view, Fabi & Rosi is the best restaurant in Austin west of MoPac.
— Matthew Odam
CultureMap Austin: Editor’s Pick
Mathew Odam’s Top 25 Austin Restaurants 2014
Fabi += Rosi | European bistro in a space of understated elegance
As a restaurant critic, I get daily requests for recommendations. This bungalow off Lake Austin Boulevard is often the answer when I’m asked something like, “We want to have a nice dinner (either a date or with friends) at a place with really good food (nothing too crazy), and we want to be able to hear ourselves talk. We’re willing to spend some money but don’t want to break the bank. Where should we go?” I’ve answered that question with Fabi += Rosi at least a dozen times, and people have always thanked me later. That’s because whether they’re getting plump escargot dripping with herbed garlic butter, rosy sirloin with crunchy truffle fries, a thoughtful and diverse charcuterie board, or one of German chef Wolfgang Murber’s homeland classics like bratwurst in a dark beer sauce with sauerkraut, they can’t really go wrong with the understated elegance of Fabi & Rosi.
– Matthew Odam
The Austin Chronicle: 100 Restaurants Defining Austin Dining Right Now- First Plates
Discreetly tucked into a residential side street, this could be Austin’s most underappreciated fine-dining spot. It’s a sophisticated, quietly romantic venue for grownups. German chef Wolfgang Murber prepares beautiful Eurocentric dishes, including astonishing escargot and perhaps the best schnitzel this side of Vienna.
– MM Pack
Neckarzimmern: Angesagte Küchengrüße aus der “Alten Welt”
Vom Neckarstrand nach Austin. Zu einem deutsch-amerikanischen Kochevent begrüßten der aus Mosbach stammende Wolfgang Murber und Ehefrau Cassie im November Gerhard Pienitz, den Küchenchef der Burg Hornberg. Im Restaurant ‘Fabi & Rosi’ erwartete die Gäste ein Fünf-Gänge-Menü. Fotos: privat
Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam names the 50 best restaurants in Austin
Austin’s 20 Most Underrated Restaurants
This romantic little west side European restaurant serves some of the city’s best continental fare. It’s a collaborative effort between German-born chef Wolfgang Murber and his Austinite wife, Cassie.
Top 55 Austin Restaurants
“Fabi + Rosi #5″— Mike Sutter’s Fed Man Walking
Matthew Odam’s Top 50 Restaurants
“Fabi & Rosi #18″— Austin American Statesman 2012
The quaint and gently elegant bungalow off Lake Austin Boulevard serves a mix of European flavors, including butter-and-garlic drenched escargot from France and a Mediterranean seafood salad of squid and clams. But chef-owner Wolfgang Murber’s German heritage shines with a crispy-yet-tender pork schnitzel with spaetzle emboldened by the musk of wild mushroom sauce. Closer to home, a Loncitos lamb, served with a firm smoked potato gratin, is cooked to a tender violet. A board of chicken liver pate, Wagyu tartare and duck terrine runs for $8 at happy hour at this restaurant, which offers some of the best value you’ll find.
Best Ladies Night Spots
Localeur, May 2012
As you walk up to Fabi and Rosi, you feel as though you are stepping into an intimate dinner party. Located in a converted West Austin house, this European-style restaurant exudes class without any added pretentiousness. Choose from a large selection of small plates to share or dive in to any of their delicious entrees, none of which will break the bank. The wine list is approachable and well-rounded, focused on classic, food-friendly European selections. The icing on the cake is half-price bubbly on Thursdays. Now who could resist that?
International Love Story Inspires AustinRestaurant
Journalist uncovers the love story behind Fabi+Rosi restaurant.
By Takis Würger
German cuisine has several dishes that can be described as fun, assuming you drink a gallon of beer beforehand, polish off another couple of bottles while eating, and gulp half a bottle of Jagermeister for dessert. “Washing it down” is the German way to enjoy bratwurst, sauerbraten, and schnitzel.
If you’re looking for German meal that can be settled with dancing to some Oktoberfest tunes afterwards, you might as well go to Fredericksburg and stop reading here. If you are looking for an altogether different take on German cuisine, you should definitely seek out to a little restaurant in West Austin called Fabi +Rosi (509 Hearn) The chef is German, his name is Wolfgang, but the food is from a planet other than Bratwurst. ”Every once in a while, guests complain that our food tastes different from what they know from Germany,” Wolfgang tells me in his thick German accent, sitting at a restaurant table one day a couple of hours before opening. ”I then have to tell them that I am sorry, but I just do not cook like the chef on US military base in Heidelberg.”
Wolfgang learned his craft at a restaurant in southwest Germany. In. A. Castle. He later moved to Spain, to work as a private chef on a rich man’s yacht. He won’t say who, but he will say that this gentleman throws excessive dinner parties. Once, while the yacht was docked off the coast of Spain, a girl from Austin named Cassie showed up as a guest. She says she’ll never forget how she ate this crème brûlée and fell in love, before even knowing who’d made it. She met the chef on the yacht after dinner. They talked all night. He grilled shrimps for her. They fell in love.
Wolfgang told Cassie how he wanted to open a restaurant. He already had a menu in mind – European cuisine; the best from Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. He wanted to name it Fabio’s after his nephew. Cassie said she liked the menu, but that in America, the name Fabio is forever linked with a certain blonde, long-haired man, who made a fortune gracing the cover of every romance novel ever written.
After a week of amour, Cassie had to go to Italy, and then home to Austin. Wolfgang had to keep on cooking. They said goodbye. Two days later, Cassie received an email that read: ‘I want to visit you.‘ Wolfgang flew to Austin, they got married, and one night after Cassie came back from walking the dogs, she said: ”Wolfgang, I think I found our place.” It was a small, shabby house with a wild rose garden that would become their restaurant. Since Fabio’s was out of the question, and since Wolfgang’s nephew Fabio now had a younger sister, Rosalie, they named the place Fabi + Rosi.
Cassie handles the design, front of house and manages. Wolfang is butcher and chef. Their menu changes with the seasons and availability of ingredients. Every leaf of basil, every pinch of salt, every cut of goose liver is as local as possible. The rabbits are bred by a Frenchman named Sebástian, who lets his animals hop through the hills. The lamb comes from Loncito, who one day walked into the restaurant, threw a bunch of lamb chops on the table, and said: ”Put these on the menu.”
If you eat at Fabi + Rosi, you might want to try the marrow soup ($8) with beef-marrow dumplings, which taste so fresh and healthy you’ll expect it them to moo. You could also go for the Halibut ($23), which floats on a thick and creamy artichoke purée and an olive-and-caper salad. Close your eyes as you bite into it, and you just might see the the rocky coast of Sicily, and feel the salty breeze rushing through the olive groves. Or try Loncito’s lamb T-bone chops ($24) on Manchego grits. You’ll find yourself wondering how in the world someone can breed so much flavor into such a tender and young piece of sheep. Finally, prepare to become addicted to the chevré tart ($7), a goat-cheese cake topped with caramelized lemon. It is so good that you‘ll want to scream and bang your head on the table in joyful rage.
If you’ve eaten all the above, then you’ve taken a culinary journey through Italy, Spain, and France. You might not have thought of Germany once — but that’s alright, says Wolfgang. Of course, the menu has some German specialties. When little Fabi and Rosi visited the restaurant for the first time this past April, they ordered the only dish on the menu they knew. They had schnitzel.
German journalist Takis Wurger writes for Der Spiegel and is currently attached to the Chronicle through an international fellowship program.
Austin Restaurant Week review: Fabi and Rosi
by Mike Sutter, Fed Man Walking, September 2011
I’m not proud of my first write-up of Fabi and Rosi, the European style bistro started in 2009 by German-born chef Wolfgang Murber and his American wife, Cassie Williamson. My experience then was shaped primarily by bad service and a failing air conditioner, and I obsessed on that rather than escargot and schnitzel and roasted lamb dishes executed with good flavor, great care and solid value. The waiter treated my family like hell, and I was pissed and I didn’t have the wisdom to deal with it. At the very least, I should have taken a few deep breaths, made another visit and asked for a different waiter.
I say that because two years later, during Austin Restaurant Week no less, I had one of the best restaurant experiences since I started doing this professionally. To back up, there have been some dodgy Restaurant Week dinners, and I subscribe in large part to what one of my chef sources once told me: “Nobody has a good week during Restaurant Week.” Extra volume, more dishes, lower average checks, bargain-hunting clients who weigh value against gross weight. For an event designed to draw attention and new business, it’s almost too successful for its own good. This is the first of three ARW visits I’ve planned around town for the event’s first four-day stretch.
If there’s a better deal and better food at $25 for three courses than Fabi and Rosi executed Sunday night, we’re all in for a good time trying to find it. All by itself, a dish of lamb’s liver with fried shallots and apple puree suggested what lay ahead. I’m accustomed to liver in charcuterie presentations by now, and Murber’s been working charcuterie into his European snout-to-tail repertoire since he opened the restaurant. But this was the liver itself, neatly trimmed meat from Loncito’s Ranch sauteed with a brown sauce that teased flavors of the fall with cinnamon and spice. There’s a reason I don’t eat more liver; it’s usually like gnawing on re-bar, a big dose of fortified iron. This was tender, delicate, a perfect protein top-note to a layered dish, layered all the way down to a base of applesauce as dense as polenta.
To counter the liver’s opening gravitas, the table’s other three-course opener was a neat disc of grilled tomato, red pepper and chevre, a circle defined by thin slices of grilled zucchini with a freeway overpass of grilled rye bread. Just as the liver showed how Murber’s kitchen can dish the big flavors, the terrine showed a lighter touch, just as well conceived, with the vegetables and goat cheese finishing each other’s sentences.
We relied on Stella Artois lager ($4) to work with the richness of the liver and a glass of fruit-forward Cotes du Roussillon ($8) to complement the short rib to come. That dish — a short-rib sauerbraten with red cabbage and housemade spaetzle —had been trimmed of the fat that characterizes bigger and more leaden expressions of the dish. The result was something like a hybrid of roast and steak, with all the sinewy grain of short rib and the compact density of a strip. Resting on concentric circles of grained pasta and lightly cooked red cabbage, the dish was a chef’s notion of a humbler meat-and-two, with all humility pushed aside.
When a dish of ravioli came, we wondered at first where the rest of it was, because it was sized more like an appetizer. But here’s where that wisdom I talked about kicks in. You cannot judge the quality of a dish by its size. If that’s your only criterion, I can recommend a hundred places to fill you up. But you’ll miss the way a few thin slices of truffle can fire your taste synapses and force your eyes shut. This is the best way to appreciate truffles, against a background of handmade pasta in a buttery velouté, a sauce that draws its name from the French adjective meaning “velvety.” In that rich embrace, the earthen twang of the truffle comes through with eloquence rather than the cacophony you get from truffle oil. In that context, eight or so small ravioli are as expansive as a buffet.
By the dessert course, Fabi and Rosi felt like a celebration, with all that good food and a waitress with her roots somewhere in the Kingdom. There was bittersweet Belgian chocolate mousse with sails of chocolate ready to curl with the lightest touch. Or crack pie, a mixture of white and brown sugars and oats, like a confectioner’s cookie bar.
We toasted with Italian prosecco at $6 a glass, toasting the clear-eyed rediscovery of a restaurant that held charm and potential before, one that’s ready to transcend even the metrics of Restaurant Week to create a new surge of excitement.
Building a Fit Community
The Spring edition of The Triune is packed with tips on healthy eating while dining out in Austin. One of the featured restaurants is Fabi + Rosi. Nutrition expert Coach Crystal Nelson tasted the menu and offers the following advice when dining here.
“For a great date night or night out with friends, be sure to check out Fabi + Rosi. Wolfgang and Cassie own this European restaurant and their story alone is enough to make you fall in love with Fabi + Rosi. Wolfgang is from Germany and met local Austinite Cassie on a yacht in Spain. A year later, after Wolfgang came to Austin, they were married and on their first anniversary opened Fabi + Rosi. Located in a bunalow on Lake Austin Boulevard with modern, decor and a European, relaxed feel, Fabi + Rosi has a great atmosphere and a menu to match. The focus is on local, organic and sustainable food choices that are healthy, appealing and taste absolutely delicious. you won’t have a problem picking nutritious choices here.
Recs: P.E.I Mussels: with a garlic-thyme broth. Metzger Platter: Chicken Liver Pate, Wagyu Tartare and Rabbit Terrine. Arugula Salad: with overnight tomatoes and parmesean cheese. Schmitzel + Spatzle: Richardson Farm pork and creamy mushrooms. Duck Confit: with winter cabbage and roasted grape demi. Pan Seared Scallops: with a parsnip puree. Devils on Horseback: Richardson’s Farm Ribeye with smoked pommes, collards and bacon butter.
Tribeza: Austin Arts + Culture
by Karen Spezia, August 2011
Fabi + Rosi is full of surprises. For starters, it’s hidden in a tranquil bungalow off a bustling thoroughfare. The next surprise is its chic interior, an unexpected contrast to its 1903 Craftsman that houses it. Sleek white leather, polished wood and crystal chandeliers make Fabi + Rosi look modern, sophisticated…and expensive. Which is the next surprise: it’s not. Most entrees on its upscale, eclectic menu are priced below $20.
If you’re looking to impress without breaking the bank, Fabi + Rosi is your place. This European restaurant delivers stylish ambiance, quality service and inventive food at a modest price. German-born chef Wolfgang Murber and his Austinite wife, Cassie Williamson, opened it in 2009. Located in a cottage off Lake Austin Boulevard formerly occupied by Zoot, Fabi + Rosi continues to draw a loyal neighborhood crowd. The menu reflects Murber’s European roots, where classic continental dishes are given an Austin twist. Local, sustainable ingredients are found on almost every plate: house made bratwurst is served with local Fireman’s #4 mustard; caprese salad is drizzled with Texas olive oil; schnitzel is made with Richardson Farms pork.
Austin Woman Magazine: Romantic Dining
Sustenance by Claudia Alarcón, February 2011
Fabi + Rosi Cute, elegant and casual, this lovely European hideaway is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Chef Wolfgang Murber and Cassie Williamson. The young couple has put their heart and soul into making this quaint cottage not only a romantic retreat, but also a stellar destination that pleases all the senses. Prices are very reasonable, service is professional, friendly and unobtrusive, and the menu is truly inspired, based on local products that change seasonally. The cozy interiors in black, white and shimmering crystal – all designed by Cassie – make a lovely backdrop for a perfect evening that will be enhanced by her husband’s sublime food. What is more romantic than that?
Fabi and Rosi Modern European flavor from an expert kitchen in an adorable house
Features Date-friendly, outdoor dining, veg-friendly, Fearless Critic: 8.9 9.0
Fabi and Rosi quietly opened up in 2009 in the beautiful, converted old house off Lake Austin Boulevard that Zoot vacated. And a wise move it was. We’ve always thought that this space strikes the right balance of understated and romantic; the interior is cozy, and there’s outdoor dining under little white lights on the lawn. The feeling is calmer and more intimate than it is at other stylish restaurants, and the black-and-white wallpaper is both bold and elegant—in other words, modern European.
Austin American Statesman:
Snails, crepes, schnitzel and paella on the same menu
Austin American Statesman, A taste of Europe By Mike Sutter
The first time I heard about Fabi and Rosi, the `European kitchen’ that took over the former West Austin site of Zoot, it sounded like Epcot , interconnected small worlds engineered to please everyone and no one in particular. Snails, crêpes, schnitzel and paella, all on the same menu? No way that’s going to work.
But it manages to work, mostly, thanks to German-born chef Wolfgang Murber and his wife, Cassie Williamson, an Austinite who met Murber when he was cooking on a private yacht in Spain. They opened Fabi and Rosi (pronounced `fab-ee and roe-zee,’ after the couple’s nephew and niece) in mid-May.
The border-hopping menu matches the eccentric-aunt decor. Imagine a world where tiny glass chandeliers share illumination chores with track lights and hanging glass candle ornaments. Where angular plastic blinds in smoke gray cover windows with heavy wooden frames. Where vintage-shop collections of mirrors hang on one wall and a stuffed white stag’s head hangs on another. How else to accentuate a place with such a wide-ranging culinary mission?
When the renowned Austin restaurant Zoot moved to Bee Cave Road from its little house on Hearn Street at the end of last year, people wondered what would happen to the original location. The answer is Fabi and Rosi European Kitchen, owned by Austin native Cassie Williamson and her husband, German-born chef Wolfgang Murber, who opened the restaurant Friday . The couple met two years when Murber was a chef on a private yacht in Spain after studying in Germany and cooking in Spain, Williamson said. Murber moved to Williamson’s home in the Clarksville neighborhood, and the couple began searching for a cozy old house where he could put his multinational experience to work. They saw Zoot’s old home lying vacant and worked out an agreement with the landlord. The menu at Fabi and Rosi (pronounced “fab-ee and roe-zee,” and named for Fabio and Rosalie, the couple’s nephew and niece) is an ambitious one-stop tour of European cooking: escargot, charcuterie, short-rib Bolognese, paella, schnitzel and more, with main-course prices from $12 to $22.
New and Noteworthy | Fabi + Rosi European Kitchen, Austin
Texas Monthly, by Patricia Sharpe
All traces of Zoot have disappeared under the natty black and white florals and stripes of Fabi + Rosi. Votive candles appear to float in midair over the banquettes, making the remodeled West Austin cottage an airy showroom for chef/co-owner Wolfgang Murber’s European menu. Best starters on our recent visit were a classic, semisweet chicken liver pâté and a salad of wild arugula and fabulous “Overnight Tomatoes” (herb-marinated and treated to a long, flavor-intensifying stay in the oven). Though a special of pan-seared snapper, sided by a good, slightly tart slaw of fennel and lemon, was great, it was the rare medallions of leg of lamb in a port demi that got the table’s top vote, though we nixed the accompanying dryish, heavy potato soufflé. Even so, pluses so far outweighed minuses and prices were so reasonable that we’re eager to return…
Texas Monthly Back Talk
Peter Keim says: My wife and I have been to Fabi + Rosi several times. Each time, we have thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Great food, friendly staff and a beautiful quiet space.
The Austin Chronicle
Fabi + Rosi is a restaurant that glitters. From the truly inspired interior decor to a menu that shines with beacons of European gastronomy, the restaurant oozes style and taste. The modest Craftsman bungalow belies a dining room sparkling with pretty teardrop chandeliers, delicate hanging tea lights, and antique mirrors that playfully throw light throughout the room. The furnishings, done entirely in black and white, are a tasteful bricolage of antique and modern.
Here diners are treated to European classics such as escargots in garlic butter, moules marinière, steak frites, and paella, all at shamefully reasonable prices. Juxtaposed against the elegant decor, the menu’s affordability bespeaks an Old World egalitarianism, as if whispering, in a throaty European accent, “Elegant dining is not a luxury; it is a birthright.”
Cheap Chic at Fabi + Rosi by Misty Adair
“Cassie Williamson, owner of the Austin restaurant Fabi + Rosi, admits to being colorphobic. Yet with her keen eye for simplicity and determination for affordable design, Cassie has created a chic, cozy environment with a shoestring budget and a monochromatic flair.”
“Fabulous and Ritzy | Fabi + Rosi is good from appetizer to dessert especially if you finish with this beinen stich (bee sting) cake with almond and honey brittle.”
Awards and Recognition
- 2010 Honorable mention: Reader’s Chef – Wolfagang Murber
- 2010 Honorable mention: Reader’s New Restaurant – Fabi+Rosi
- “World Society for the Protection of Animals” Awarded Restaurant- FABI+ROSI (humanely sourced products)