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Austin: Non-BBQ?

Austin: Non-BBQ?
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  • Austin: Non-BBQ?

    Post #1 - May 23rd, 2006, 8:52 am
    Post #1 - May 23rd, 2006, 8:52 am Post #1 - May 23rd, 2006, 8:52 am
    I'll be moving to Austin at the end of the summer and I was wondering if anyone had good recommendations that weren't BBQ. Seeing as I'll be living there, I don't think I can subsist on that alonge(although I don't mind entertaining the idea). Plus, its a topic which has been extensively discussed here and elsewhere.

    I'd love recommendations, not only for restaurants, but also cafes, stores, etc.

    Also, my S.O., who happens to be a chef, is coming with me. Any innovative fine dining places to check out? Who's cutting the so-called edge down there?

    Thanks!
  • Post #2 - May 24th, 2006, 9:33 pm
    Post #2 - May 24th, 2006, 9:33 pm Post #2 - May 24th, 2006, 9:33 pm
    Try this link. Someone else started the thread, but I recently added in my dining experiences from a weekend in Austin, some non BBQ included. Use the search function and "Austin" and you'll probably find some other threads in Beyond Chicagoland.

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.ph ... ght=austin

    Please report back on your finds in Austin once you make some local discoveries.
  • Post #3 - May 25th, 2006, 9:58 am
    Post #3 - May 25th, 2006, 9:58 am Post #3 - May 25th, 2006, 9:58 am
    We moved from Austin to Chicago last year...I love it here but miss Austin a lot. It's a wonderful city.

    A couple of our favorite places were Vespiao and Bellaigo (say hi to Jim at the bar from Dennis and Lisa).



    Vespaio
    1610 S Congress Ave
    Austin, TX 78704 - 3522
    Phone: (512) 441-6100

    Bellagio Italian Restaurant
    6507 Jester Blvd.
    Austin, TX 78750
    Phone: (512) 346-8228
  • Post #4 - August 30th, 2006, 12:08 pm
    Post #4 - August 30th, 2006, 12:08 pm Post #4 - August 30th, 2006, 12:08 pm
    We also moved from Austin about a year ago. Some of our favorite places there were:

    The Clay Pit
    1601 Guadalupe
    Austin, TX 78701
    (512) 322-5131

    This was easily our favorite restaurant in Austin. If you like rack of lamb, theirs is a great deal. Plus, its in a beautiful 19th century building near the state capital.

    Curra's Grill (North Austin)
    6801 Burnet Rd
    Austin, TX 78757
    (512) 451-2560

    Curra's Grill (South Austin)
    614 E Oltorf St
    Austin, TX 78704
    (512) 444-0012

    The South Austin location has more of the "Austin Charm," but my wife and I frequented the North location much more (closer to where we lived and much more seating). Everything I had there was good, but real standouts are the tamales and tacos al Pasor. Enchiladas Curras (cheese enchiladas smothered in carne guisada) are also good, but require a long nap afterward. Also, don't miss their Oaxacan coffee and avocado margaritas.

    Las Manitas Avenue Cafe
    211 Congress Ave
    Austin, TX 78701
    (512) 472-9357

    Very good for breakfast/brunch, although quite a line builds up on weekends. I particularly liked the carne guisada and chilaquiles.
  • Post #5 - August 30th, 2006, 12:28 pm
    Post #5 - August 30th, 2006, 12:28 pm Post #5 - August 30th, 2006, 12:28 pm
    I've only spent two days in Austin, and one of them was a three-turkey Thanksgiving dinner (great food, but no place I could send you to eat it...).

    But I did have some really excellent breakfast tacos at Güero's, which was a favorite for my host for all meals.

    Güero's was also mentioned by kithat in that other post.

    1412 S. Congress Ave.
    Austin, TX 78704
    512.447.7688
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #6 - August 30th, 2006, 12:48 pm
    Post #6 - August 30th, 2006, 12:48 pm Post #6 - August 30th, 2006, 12:48 pm
    For more on breakfast tacos, a staple of the Austin culinary scene, see http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid%3A149216


    Of the places mentioned, I would definitely reccomend Polvos, Taco X-Press, and Taco Shack.
  • Post #7 - September 22nd, 2006, 1:17 am
    Post #7 - September 22nd, 2006, 1:17 am Post #7 - September 22nd, 2006, 1:17 am
    Just got back from a trip to Austin, and I am still thinking about...

    The tofu salad (yes, tofu salad!) at El Sol Y La Luna...

    The Central Market

    The most delicious tacos I have ever had at El Chilito

    And much much more!

    Austin is really a foodie town!
  • Post #8 - September 26th, 2006, 6:02 pm
    Post #8 - September 26th, 2006, 6:02 pm Post #8 - September 26th, 2006, 6:02 pm
    Just returned from a few days in Austin with some observations.
    1) Chuy's-had to go there, to some the most quintessential Austin place. Besides when Lance Armstrong breaks training or Jenna Bush gets arrested, Chuy's (Barton Springs Road location) is the place. Its kitschy but the food was just okay, the margaritas average and overpriced-another place that serves an on the rocks margarita in a wine glass making about a 3 oz drink. I'm glad I went to Chuy's, but Austin has much better TexMex. Supposedly Hula Hut, another Chuy's place, has better food not just TexMex.
    2) Magnolia Cafe South makes all the cheap eats lists and was very good. Specials included crawfish etouffee which was excellent. Ate at 10PM (open 24 hr)and the place was packed as we left. Lots of people eating breakfasts, mostly pancakes. Very mixed crowd age wise, something that can be unusual in Austin where nearly everyone seems under 30. Also part of a strong Keep Austin Weird area and movement. Really liked this place.
    3) Oasis at Lake Travis (about 20 minutes out of town)was the answer several locals gave me to the question-You have one Austin restaurant to go to, which would you choose? Located way high (450 ft) above Lake Travis facing directly west, a definite sunset culture revels here. Food was much better than it had to be, drinks were big and strong. I had an appetizer almost as spectacular as the sunset-a seafood martini of shrimp and crab in a spicy tomato/avocado mixture with vodka, vermouth, and an olive-sort of like seafood meets gazpacho meets a vodka martini. That followed by some tequila to toast the sunset, some fish tacos, a great location-an excellent evening.
    4)I liked all the barbeque places we went, though each is different in terms of sauce, rub, cut served, etc. My choices-overall experience Salt Lick, tastiest brisket Kreuz (they use a rub), chowhoundy Blacks. Next time I'll get to Luling and Llano.
  • Post #9 - July 26th, 2007, 11:14 am
    Post #9 - July 26th, 2007, 11:14 am Post #9 - July 26th, 2007, 11:14 am
    I'm going to Austin again in the not-too-distant future and I have BBQ covered-- anyone have anything they want to add to this thread about non-BBQ choices?
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #10 - July 26th, 2007, 12:31 pm
    Post #10 - July 26th, 2007, 12:31 pm Post #10 - July 26th, 2007, 12:31 pm
    Mike G wrote:I'm going to Austin again in the not-too-distant future and I have BBQ covered-- anyone have anything they want to add to this thread about non-BBQ choices?


    Yes.

    First and foremost, Asia Cafe is a great place for Sichuan food, and in my opinion, is a strength of Austin's dining, along with barbecue. While you do have great Sichuan offerings in Chicago, this is also (equally?) top-notch fare. There are so many great menu items that I don't have the time to get into them here, nor would I do them justice, but there's actually some excellent coverage on CH here and here.


    Here's a few (not-so-good) pics of some dishes:

    Zhong dumplings
    Image

    Twice-cooked pork
    Image

    Shredded pork with yellow chives
    Image

    "Spicy fish fillet"
    Image

    Green beans
    Image

    sliced beef w/ maw (aka spicy honeycomb on the menu)
    Image

    Beef w/ cumin (the lamb version is much better)
    Image

    Stir-fried pea shoots
    Image

    Asia Cafe
    in the Asia Market
    8650 Spicewood Springs Rd, #115
    Austin, TX 78759
    (512) 331-5780
    http://www.asiamarketaustin.com

    I just finished shoveling a couple of very good al pastor tacos down from Tacqueria Los Jaliscienses, though their other offerings aren't as strong. It's tough to beat Mexican in Chicago, so perhaps Tex-Mex in Austin is not going to be a priority.

    Tacqueria Los Jaliscienses
    6201 E Highway 290
    Austin, TX 78723
    (512) 452-3332

    Habanero Mexican Cafe -- a very nice & clean Tex-Mex restaurant, particularly noted for their excellent steak fajitas rancheras. A good place to bring your kids Mike since it's not a typical hole-in-the-wall.

    Habanero Mexican Cafe
    501 W Oltorf St
    Austin, TX 78704
    (512) 416-0443

    Of course, for other Tex-Mex offerings you have some recs upthread, although while they're Austin institutions, I wouldn't necessarily say they're excellent for the food. Another one of this ilk is Polvo's.

    Polvo's
    2004 S 1st St
    Austin, TX 78704
    (512) 441-5446

    If it's nice out, you might consider going to a favourite place of mine for take-out only pollo al carbon (charcaol-grilled chicken) -- Pollo El Regio. Best chicken entree in town if you ask me. Juicy, charred whole chicken with a slightly spicy but potently flavourful marinade. And if the spice factor isn't enough, a whole chicken order includes a very spicy avocado-based green sauce that packs a punch. Also comes with another red salsa (not as hot) and some very good, albeit commercial corn tortillas, barracha beans (with good chunks of bacon and plenty of flavour), small portion of mediocre rice, and juicy charred whole onions. All for $12. Sit outside at the picnic tables with the family if it's not too hot out.

    Image

    El Pollo Regio
    1928 E. Riverside Dr.
    Austin Tx
    (512) 326-1161

    And its sister restaurant, La Regio Montana also offers some very good tacos. Right beside El Pollo Regio.

    Excellent 1/2lb burgers to be had at Casino el Camino, however, this is a dark, tattooed-type bar, and probably not the place to bring the fam (although I guess you could during the day). Long waits for the burger, but well worth it.

    Casino el Camino
    517 E 6th St
    Austin, TX 78701
    (512) 469-9330
    http://www.casinoelcamino.net

    Speaking of burgers, I've been meaning to further explore this matter in the greater Austin area as there seem to be many drive-thru type of burgers that may offer your 1930's style, Mike. There are so many of these around that I bet at least one of them is good. While not exactly true to the 1930s style, but not far off, there's a great place called Top-Notch. Excellent onion rings. You'll also note a couple of retro-looking burger joints called Dan's and one called Fran's (husband wife team, now divorced ... she took one of the outlets). Not a great burger, despite its aesthetic appeal.

    Top Notch Restaurant
    7525 Burnet Rd
    Austin, TX
    78757-1202
    Phone: (512) 452-2181

    With the exception of Top Notch, the rest of the places are all centrally-located (ie., within striking distance of downtown).

    That's it off the top of my head, maybe more later.

    Nab
    Last edited by tatterdemalion on November 29th, 2008, 10:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  • Post #11 - July 28th, 2007, 10:04 pm
    Post #11 - July 28th, 2007, 10:04 pm Post #11 - July 28th, 2007, 10:04 pm
    Great list, many thanks.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #12 - July 28th, 2007, 11:56 pm
    Post #12 - July 28th, 2007, 11:56 pm Post #12 - July 28th, 2007, 11:56 pm
    Coupla other places worthy of mention, I just realized. But, before that, I should also note that in my previous note above, I neglected to mention that Asia Cafe is not centrally located. Nothing is far in the Austin greater area, but just sayin.

    Shalimar is a pretty good Indo-Pak restaurant that I very occasionally go to for my fix. Particularly my tandoor fix. A barren room, the place looks like the remnants of a Chinese buffet restaurant from 1987. There may even be a buffet here, but I would avoid it. A pretty extensive menu actually, but I have tended to stick to the same items on my handful of visits. Chicken tikka leg, chicken boti, beef boti, seekh kebab, goat karahi, daal goat, chicken jalfrezi, chicken kat a kat, daals, haleem and nihari. Actually, these are the only dishes that I've tried, but certainly I would "stick to them" if I was more of a regular. Nice breads too. Keep in mind, I don't find this is as great as some offerings on Devon, but it def'y keeps me sane knowing that I've got something here in Austin.

    Chicken Tikka Leg
    Image

    Mixed Grill Plate (chicken tikka leg, seekh kebab, beef boti)
    Image

    Daal Goat
    Image

    Shalimar Restaurant
    http://www.shalimar-austin.com/index.html
    Telephone : 512-719-3700
    9310 N Lamar
    Austin, TX 78753
    HOURS:
    Sunday - Thursday : 11:15 to 11:00 PM
    Friday - Saturday : 11:15 to 12:00 AM
    Buffet Hours:
    LUNCH: 11:15 AM to 3:00 PM
    DINNER: 5:45 PM to 9:00 PM
    *~15min drive from the downtown district

    Quality Seafood is a place I like to go to every once in a while for either some fresh oysters or fried seafood. There's a seafood market basically in the same room, but the bar/dining area is nice, usually occupied by the locals. I've had some poor experiences there, all of them being due to getting fried food that had been sitting around -- so maybe ask to have yours fresh-fried, because when it is, it's good. I never would've guessed it, but a Shiner goes really well with some fresh oysters. :P

    Quality Seafood
    5621 Airport Blvd
    Austin, TX 78751
    (512) 454-5827
    www.qualityseafoodmarket.com
    *maybe a 10-15 min drive from downtown

    Din Ho is a decent example (for Austin) of good Chinese food in the Cantonese style. Easy stuff like bbq duck & pork, sizzling scallops, s&p shrimp (which sometimes have their heads), dungeness crab in ginger sauce, fish hot pot, and some vegetables which I'm not remembering. Again, 'Little' Three Happiness may be leagues beyond this place, but it's still pretty good (for Austin).

    Din Ho
    8557 Research Blvd # 116
    Austin, TX 78758
    (512) 832-8788
    *about a 15 min drive from the downtown area

    Backstage Steakhouse is a cool place to go for a slightly upscale (for Austin ! :wink: ) dinner. Despite its name, it's seafood dishes are actually its strength. Very good place, possibly the best 'upscale' place in town, even though it's casual and affordable.

    Backstage Steakhouse
    21814 Highway 71 West
    Spicewood, Texas 78669
    512.264.2223
    http://www.backstagesteakhouseaustin.com/dinner.php

    In my previous post, I forgot to mention Angies, for some pretty delicious carnitas. In fact, I've not even ventured past the carnitas at this place, so that's all I know. Get 'em, they're good. And it's very centrally-located, in the downtown area (on the outskirts, but not far at all). Very good homemade corn tortillas.

    Angies Mexican Restaurant
    900 E 7th St
    Austin, TX 78702
    (512) 476-5413


    There's more that I'm not thinking of right now, but will post again if something occurs to me.


    Nab

    edited to add: some pics.

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