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Jul 11, 2006 05:00 PM

Group Dining in Austin

Need input from all you Austin folks. I'm meeting up with a group (about 10) friends in their mid-20's and need recommendations for:

1) A fun and casual place for dinner and drinks on Saturday night that will be within walking distance to the 6th Street bar scene.

2) A casual breakfast/brunch spot that can accomodate a group for Sunday. Any place that can hold 10 people but also has killer breakfast tacos?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. Hi donnaaries,

    Austin is lousy with fun and casual places--in both senses of "lousy."

    Do you have something specific that you're looking for? Like a type of food or price limit? If not, I'd suggest doing a search for "Austin" and reading through some older threads for ideas.

    Here are two relatively recent ones:

    With a little more information, we can give you better advice on where to find what's delicious.


    1. By casual I mean not pretentious. We're not looking for "special occasion" dining and wouldn't want our noisy large group to ruin someone else's special occasion. Casual but not shabby, Mexican comes to mind because of margaritas. But I'm open to all sorts of foods, traditional, new American, Asian, Asian fusion, tapas, Italian (although I don't believe I have ever been to an Italian place that can be classified as "fun," maybe Austin will prove me wrong). BBQ is out because we'll be in Lockhart for lunch. Price-wise, it would be nice if the majority of entrees were less than $20. Oh and I should clarify that though not my personal taste, the group is more beer & margaritas than martinis & fine wines.

      The most important thing for Saturday night is location, we'd like to have dinner then be able to walk to 6th Street.

      2 Replies
      1. re: donnaaries

        I assume you want the best, most delicious chow, in an unpretentious setting, that’s available in the downtown area. Here are some thoughts:

        * The Roaring Fork is easily within walking distance of the scene on 6th Street and serves good to very good new-American/Southwestern food. Trust me, no one else will notice if your group is noisy.

        * Manuel's downtown serves pretty good regional-Mexican food and offers happy-hour specials every day from 4 to 7.

        Casino el Camino has great burgers, though since it's a dive bar, it might fall into your "shabby" category. If you wanted to go a little further but still be within walking distance, Castle Hill has a nice wine list and okay food in pleasantly Austin-yuppie-casual surroundings.

        For brunch on Sunday, try Las Manitas downtown, Habeñero Mexican Cafe on East Oltorf, or El Chile on Manor Road for the best Tex-Mex/Mexican among the easily-accessible choices.

        If you're in the mood for Italian, brunch at Enoteca Vespaio is delicious. EV and its sister restaurant Vespaio easily serve the best Italian in Austin.

        Other local 'hounds like Moonshine for dinner (and brunch). This place regularly attracts a fun-loving crowd--probably because of its location close to the downtown action. However, I think their food is pretty bad.

        Rene’ and others post frequently on downtown locales. If they don’t reply to this thread, be sure to look up some of their older ones. That way, you’ll get a wide range of opinions to help you make your final choices,

        Enjoy your visit,

        1. re: donnaaries

          We had a college graduation party last year for about 30 or so at Dona Emilia's. We got pretty rowdy. I had never been there but my son (the U.T. graduate) liked the place so we had it there. It could not have been better. Everyone, young, old and in between, loved the food, the service and the drinks. I was so impressed that I even told the events coordinator that she could use me as a reference. There web site is:

          We just let everyone order off the menu but they will do whatever you request I am sure. Feel free to e-mail me privately if you have any questions. Good luck!

        2. Well we ended up at Moonshine because of its location. It was a long wait, but I enjoyed the atmosphere. The menu is creative, upscale but comfort food? But it was nothing to write home about. But I think for the purpose of sitting around and chatting with friends, the patio was the perfect environment.