The best meals are always elevated by experts. At Toscana Italian Steakhouse, the expert advice came from friendly and helpful wait staff. From experimental cocktails, local favorites, or dishes not yet printed on the menu, a knowledgeable server knows what their restaurant is proud of, what’s new, and what’s freshest. They revel in sharing insight. That was clear at Toscana.

The posh Western decor of The Barfield, Autograph Collection lobby blends seamlessly into the warm elegance of the Italian steakhouse on property. High-backed leather booths can accommodate family gatherings, and the deep dining room chairs are inviting enough to stay comfortably seated through dessert. Classic country plays softly in the background, enhancing the ambiance created by one of those unforgettable Amarillo sunsets peeking through Toscana’s nearly floor-to-ceiling windows. A curious design detail—at first glance, it looks like the door to an old safe—is the building’s original 1,500-pound boilerplate, somehow mounted securely to a back wall.

The restaurant’s most popular cocktail is The Barfield Old Fashioned. Using walnut bitters to balance the apple brandy and enhance the Milam & Greene Triple Cask whiskey, this signature cocktail is a standout, and definitely on the sweet side. Those who pass on whiskey but still want an easy-to-drink and popular aperitif can sample Amarillo’s Backyard, made with regionally produced Red River Distillery Silver King vodka, berry simple syrups, and Truly Wild Berry Seltzer. The wine list is also well curated, with options to suit every palate and pair with every entree.

Following the suggestion of my expert server, I started with the Skillet al Formaggio. It is a baked cheese and spicy—but not too spicy—Italian sausage dip served fresh from the broiler, creating a crisp, cheesy crust much like a lasagna. Forgo a traditional salad and try the Prosciutto di Parma, in which burrata cheese and balsamic vinegar perfectly complement prosciutto and sweet, tangy, poached pears. These are made and preserved in-house.

The sharable-sized and expertly grilled entrees make it a steakhouse. Steaks at Toscana Italian Steakhouse are finished to perfection by adding the diner’s choice of a crust and/or sauce. Grilled options include Roasted Lamb Chops, King Salmon, a Duroc Dry-Aged Pork Chop, or Braised Beef Short Ribs.

Distinctly colored and handmade, Toscana’s pasta dishes are contemporary takes on Italian classics. The rustic black pasta gets its shocking color from a unique and surprisingly subtle ingredient in the dough: charcoal. The charcoal does not impart any worrying flavor to the Braised Beef Gemelli (also a best seller!), and it holds the dish’s white wine sauce delicately and efficiently. The pasta, however, plays a supporting role for the star of the dish: succulent, fork-tender, braised beef short rib. Other ingredients include kale, tomatoes, and torn crostini bits. These add just enough texture and brightness, stopping the rich meat and gravy from overpowering the palate.

While Amarillo is home to many great restaurants, having an upscale restaurant in a boutique hotel is in itself a luxury. It’s a place where travelers and locals alike rendezvous and take a culinary journey together, all guided by generous and proficient staff who turn signature offerings into autograph experiences.