Where should we go for dinner in Austin, TX?
March 31, 2010 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Austin, TX dining: What would be a good restaurant for four friends celebrating a birthday this weekend?

We're looking to spend around $50 per person for shared appetizers, entree, and one dessert or drink. I hear downtown Austin might be a nightmare because of various events going on this weekend, so non-downtown locations are a plus (but not required).

We've been to Uchi, Kenichi, Eddie V's, Fogo de Chao, Roy's, Imperia, and would prefer somewhere new. Any cuisine--we just want an enjoyable dining experience. A good cocktails menu would be awesome as well. Thanks!
posted by lychee to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
El Chile.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:30 PM on March 31, 2010


I think Uchi is the best in town, but on the BBQ kick how about Salt Lick, Hudson's on the Bend, or somewhere in Lulling or Lockhart?

I ate at City Market in Lulling this weekend and it was quite good. The place was grimy though. Get it to go, head south for 5 minutes, and eat next to the water in some likely to be perfect weather.
posted by ejoey at 12:37 PM on March 31, 2010


East Side Show Room or Justine's, both on the East Side.
Parkside if you're willing to go downton (6th.)
Olivia on South Lamar.
Carillon on UT campus.
posted by sanko at 12:39 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


A few suggestions (since you won't go back to Uchi, which is the best restaurant in Austin in my opinion):

Traditional foodie:
Wink might be a good choice, though possibly a bit above your price range.
Zoot

Interior Mexican:
Fonda San Miguel

Way off the beaten path:
Hudson's on the Bend

I was going to recommend Louie's 106 (despite its downtown location) until I saw it was closed because of a kitchen fire. Consider it in the future; I love that place.
posted by devinemissk at 12:40 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]




Every time I'm in Austin I go to Shady Grove and Chuy's.
posted by booth at 12:42 PM on March 31, 2010


Oh, and I also like Hyde Park Bar & Grill. Also a good location for a birthday (I've done more than one there).
posted by devinemissk at 12:44 PM on March 31, 2010


Also Fino, which is owned by the same people as Asti mentioned above.
posted by sanko at 12:54 PM on March 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll second Justine's and Olivia. I'm sure you'll love them. Both are excellent, and sort of pre-trendy.
posted by Pants! at 1:11 PM on March 31, 2010


Hyde Park Bar & Grill

I think this is more downscale than what they're looking for. It's nothing special as far as atmosphere. The aforementioned Asti, which is right across the street, would be better.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:15 PM on March 31, 2010


I'll third Olivia, and also offer La Condesa (downtown, right by the convention center).
posted by asterix at 1:16 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


We had a MeFi Lunch at Parkside and enjoyed it. It has some really interesting cocktails and just an all over comfy vibe. I know nothing else about Austin eating but I liked this place a lot. Lovely, delicious food.
posted by jessamyn at 1:18 PM on March 31, 2010


If you don't mind North Austin, there's the Stonelake Roaring Fork (Yelp.com).
posted by Durin's Bane at 1:22 PM on March 31, 2010


Hyde Park Bar & Grill

I think this is more downscale than what they're looking for. It's nothing special as far as atmosphere. The aforementioned Asti, which is right across the street, would be better.


Yeah, I worried it might be too downscale, too, though I recall Hyde Park being sort of something-for-everyone: they always seemed to have at least one pricier/fancier special, and a very good wine selection. That being said, it's been at least 5 years since I've eaten there, so it may have changed, particularly if, as you say, the atmosphere is "nothing special." I always recall it being a sort of delightfully quirky place.
posted by devinemissk at 1:39 PM on March 31, 2010


The South Congress Cafe is very good and fits into that price range. It's also not downtown.
posted by jedicus at 1:40 PM on March 31, 2010


Justine's is definitely not pre-trendy, and routinely has 90-minute waits.

I've had drinks and snacks at East Side Showroom, where they definitely have a creative cocktail menu. I think most of their food menu is locally sourced; what little I ate was very good. Great atmosphere.

I'm a fan of El Chile, but it tends to be polarizing among my friends.

Buenos Aires, on E 6th (near the Showroom), is very good.

I recently ate at G'Raj Mahal, which is an Indian-food trailer with outdoor seating and table service. It's BYOB. Very expensive for trailer food, and possibly experiencing growing pains, but this is one of those soon-to-be-not-a-secret type places. Obviously not a fancy environment, but on a nice night, it's a nice place to hang out.
posted by adamrice at 1:42 PM on March 31, 2010


OK, last suggestion: Corazon at Castle Hill. I haven't actually eaten here since it was still just Castle Hill, but the menu looks very similar, if not pretty much the same, and the price range is still just right. It's downtown-ish (right by the Whole Foods Flagship, but not over in the Warehouse District).
posted by devinemissk at 1:46 PM on March 31, 2010


Yeah, I worried it might be too downscale, too, though I recall Hyde Park being sort of something-for-everyone...

I agree with that in the sense that I've gone to Hyde Park Bar & Grill for a totally low-key date and I've also gone there with my family -- 4 adults and 2 kids. It's a nice, comfortable fallback restaurant that everyone can agree on. It's not the fabulous, 4-friends, $50-a-person, let's-try-this-since-we've-already-been-to-Uchi kind of place.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:52 PM on March 31, 2010


We had dinner for 50 the last night at SXSW at Corazon and it's great. They're also just terrific hosts. I don't know what it's like to eat in the main dining room, but they did a prix fixe meal for us that was memorable, with good vegetarian and meat options.
posted by jessamyn at 1:54 PM on March 31, 2010


Eastside Cafe is really nice, even if it isn't as expensive as some of these other options. I think of it as a special occasion establishment and the food is great.
posted by grouse at 2:04 PM on March 31, 2010


Oh yeah, Buenos Aires is fucking awesome. So is Blue Dahlia. Did anyone go to that bistro on East 11th before it closed? Damn shame, damn shame.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:14 PM on March 31, 2010


We went to Buenos Aires Cafe when we were in town for SXSW, and it was fantastic. Nice ambiance and great food.
posted by booknerd at 2:51 PM on March 31, 2010


Yes, Fino is great - our go to restaurant when we're feeling a little fancy pantsy.
posted by theRussian at 3:16 PM on March 31, 2010


Ski Shores
posted by xmutex at 3:50 PM on March 31, 2010


Doh. Ski Shores apparently closed December 31.

That sucks.
posted by xmutex at 3:51 PM on March 31, 2010


Third vote for Fino here -- one of my favorite restaurants in town, after Uchi. It's easy to make reservations on OpenTable, and there's plenty of parking there.
posted by snafu at 5:50 PM on March 31, 2010


Oh, and Fino has an amazing cocktail menu. My friend from NYC pronounced their cocktails the best she's ever had.
posted by snafu at 5:54 PM on March 31, 2010


I love Fonda San Miguel!

Nth'ing Fino too. My best friend and I celebrated at Fino after I submitted my PhD paperwork last December! Great memories!
posted by jchaw at 5:58 PM on March 31, 2010


I came in to suggest Roy's or Fogo De Chao, but you're way ahead of me. And if you're looking for something upscale you might not want Chuy's, Hyde Park, Shady Grove, or Salt Lick (all fine places, but not so much for annual events as for days-ending-in-y).

Perhaps Mansion at Judge's Hill? Great food and drink, gorgeous dining room. Although it looks like I've already been utterly outvoted. I liked the food at Asti; if Fino is as good with a better atmosphere then that's tempting.
posted by roystgnr at 8:14 PM on March 31, 2010


Wow, thanks all! I had not heard of at least half of these places before, and I've lived in Austin for 10 years!
posted by lychee at 11:09 AM on April 1, 2010


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