Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Austin >
Jan 31, 2007 08:19 AM

M I A in Austin???

Where can I get:
Classic Mexican food? (not Tex-Mex or Sonoran)
Authentic Carnitas? (Red Robin has them but they're rather bland)
Really great bakery?
Best eggs benedict?
Classic breakfast food? (Not Migas or anything stuffed in a tortilla)
Best fish tacos?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Bakery... depends on what you want. Oddly enough, the best bagels I've found in town are at Randalls (I go to the one at Brodie and Slaughter). I have tried every place in this town looking for a good bagel and those are the best around here IMHO. My husband's from NYC and they are the only ones he willingly eats in town.
    For other things, it depends... I think Central Market makes a pretty good loaf of bread to make french toast with, but their cookies are lousy. Quack's makes a better cookie (many of the Whole Foods cookies used to come from Quacks... don't know if they still do), but I'm not impressed with alot of their stuff.

    Classic breakfast food: I agree, this place has issues with good breakfast food. There is Kirby and Magnolia, but they are always busy. I went to the new Village Inn in South Austin recently, and they do a decent breakfast and I was far more impressed than I thought I would be. My general standby for solid breakfast fare is Jim's(south location... I can't speak for the others). However, Jim's on Saturday and Sunday mornings is different than Jim's on other days. On Sat/Sun AM, the crews working there have probably been there for 20 years minimal. Those are prime time shifts. The average age of a waitress on those shifts is probably 45. Consequently, the service generally rocks. I've eaten there at other times, and I have to say, the quality is much better on those shifts than other times (think W/Th/F evenings). I am also partial to Galaxy for a good breakfast. They aren't as classic as the other places, but respectable and very accomodating.

    Fish Tacos: best I've eaten in Austin are at El Chile. I've gotten a bit bored with El Chile's menu but I really like their fish tacos.

    9 Replies
    1. re: shan

      re: bagels
      I do find Randalls bagels passable but lacking in moisture and chewyness. I usually grab a few at central market (hot jumbo bagel?).
      Second choice is surprisingly, the bagels at Fiesta. Don't discount the Fiesta bakery either, I love their pan frances, much lighter than CM's baguette, which I find a bit too dense.
      and they offer quite a variety of breads in addition to the mexican specialties.

      Fave fish taco's are Polvos, but only if you are a serious garlic lover!

      1. re: shan

        Depends what you want in a bakery, because I worked in an amazing bakery when I was 16 and no danish or donut in this town comes close to the late Butterflake in NH. BUT if it is bars you seek, like lemon bars or toffee bars, you must run and not walk to MadCakes on Spicewood next to Triumph Cafe. And I agree Sweetish Hill is good for breads. The best biscuits in town for my money come from Cipollina. And Upper Crust has good scones. Any one have a rec for really good donuts, muffins or danishes?

        1. re: kirelerya

          For donuts we have an old-school heavy hitter:Mrs Johnson's on Airport...ol Mrs Johnson comes hobbling in there every afternoon and fires up the fryers and starts rolling she's done for most of her 87 years....ok,not really but they do have great donuts and they are open all night long.

          1. re: scrumptiouschef

            I have started going to Mrs. Johnson's and their donuts rock. I have never, ever been a cake donut fan because they are always greasy, cold, dense rocks. However, they are now my favorite donuts there...I even tried a non-glazed cake donut there earlier in the week and thought it was fantastic. They are crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.

            All of their donuts we've tried are fantastic, but be sure to ask if they are fresh because the day old ones aren't as good.

        2. re: shan

          Bagels in Austin? No, there are not...Not baked here. Just round bread with holes in it. Try the frozen H&H bagels (from NYC) found in the Central Market frozen food section.

          Breakfast, nope, none to be found. Magnolia? Kerby? So sad....

          Try Taqueria Arandas on S 1st. Nice eggs with beans and papas for under $3.00 before 11a, about $3.35 after 11a. Nicely cooked sunnyside-up...We now have a Galaxy in Clarksville. One choice of eggs - scrambled. Enough said...But, their burger is good.

          1. re: AustinBear

            I like the breakfast at East Side cafe, but am rarely willing to wait for a table. Also, a good and vastly underrated place is Azul on E. Cesar Chavez. It's one of the few breakfast places that doesn't have a 30 minute wait on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

            1. re: karrieleague

              As for East Side, call merely one hour in advance and you'll rarely wait. This is one of the few places that books minor reservations (less than a party of 8) on short notice.

              In addition to a slick reservation for noon (booked at eleven), their fresh specials are honest-to-god fresh, not just stuff they're trying to get rid of.

              1. re: karrieleague

                I completely second the East Side Cafe. Lived down the road there in Hyde Park for a while, and they were a real standout whether we wanted breakfast, lunch or dinner. Tom's bang on target about calling ahead, too.

                If you like eggs benedict, they won't disappoint - the eggs are cooked perfectly, and the hollandaise is rich, creamy and created from scratch. Herbs straight from their garden round out the fresh deliciousness. They also offer the variant with smoked salmon instead of ham, but I forget what they call it. I want to say eggs franciscan, but I'm not sure that's right. It's very good though, whatever it's called.

                If you do end up having a bit of a wait for a table, go take a stroll around the garden and see what you're going to be eating in a little while!

                East Side Cafe
                2113 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722

                1. re: Rowlock

                  They just call it the "Smoked Salmon Benedict".

                  I had it recently and can confirm that it truly satisfies.

          2. I'm in the Foodservice Equipment Mfg business and I avoid eating at chains(especially for breakfast), unless they are independent. I like my eggs fresh, with bright orange yolks; my ham to come from a hog; my bagels dense and chewy; my Hollandaise sauce made from scratch and no grits, ever! I'm a purist...

            5 Replies
            1. re: robotmeister

              I like a more tricked-out breakfast than you, so this might not be your cup of tea, but...

              I really like Eastside Cafe's weekend brunch. Everything there is pretty good. My standard play is to split the baked brie w/ apple chutney, then get the smoked salmon benedict. The Hollandaise sauce that comes with it is delicious and fresh. I trade away the sides that come with it for bacon; in my opinion, Eastside makes the best slice of bacon in town.

              The wine list there is also a treat, although that normally doesn't come in to play at breakfast.

              1. re: tom in austin

                I went to Eastside this weekend and had the smoked salmon benedict. I really wanted to like it, but it was just okay. The Hollandaise was good, but I thought it was somewhat boring as an entire composed dish. Maybe I just wanted some stronger flavors. I got the bacon too. It was good with a nice smoke flavor, but a bit fatty. Eastside is definitely better than Hoover's across the street, but I think I may stick with their lunch and dinner menu.

                1. re: shan

                  Shan: Bummer! The flavor combinations for me are usually pretty ideal, capped by a perfectly poached egg. About one out of every ten times, I'll get overly fatty bacon, or imperfectly cooked bacon. In general, I find their brunch to be superior to their dinner.

                  Robotmeister: Eastside Cafe is on Manor road. Information available on their website:

              2. re: robotmeister

                Being a newby here, where is the Eastside Cafe and what are their hours? Do the serve breakfast 7 days a week?

                1. re: robotmeister

                  Was going along with you all the way until you got to the grits....grits are forever in my books! Bring 'em on.

                2. for non tex-mex mexican i like tacqueria arandas (cheap) or fonda san miguel (expensive)

                  i'm not sure what authentic carnitas are, but the carnitas at Angie's are divine.

                  there is no bakery in town i'm absolutely in love with but i like Uppercrust for cakes, Texas French Bread for ciabatta and ginger snaps (and turkey sandwiches!)

                  i've not eaten a lot of eggs benedict, but Y Bar and Ranch in Oak Hill has delicious lobster eggs benedict and one with salmon. they also serve a classic one.

                  i like omelettry for classic breakfast in normal sized portions (nothing is bigger than your face which is rare to find these days). for a treat i like the chocolate chip pancakes with no syrup, just lots of butter.

                  guero's has my favorite fish tacos in town.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: yimay

                    Angies has carnitas? Yum! Where is the Omelettery? We live in the Hill Country...a barren place for foodies. We do like the Y Bar & Grill and Flores on Wm. Cannon @ 290 W has a pretty decent spicy salsa. We have not been to Fonda San Miguel yet (we're newbies) I grew up in So. CA and learned what good Mexican and Asian food tastes like.

                    1. re: robotmeister

                      Angie's Carnitas are phenomenal...Highly, HIGHLY recommended!

                      1. re: robotmeister

                        Omelettry is on Burnet I believe...

                    2. Regarding an Austin bakery - there's two I like. Russell's on Hancock west of Mopac and Upper Crust at 45th and Burnet (mentioned above). Of course, this partially depends on what type of baked goods you're looking for - Upper Crust has really good breads, cakes and pastries, Russell's concentrates more on pastries and cakes (they do wedding cakes as well - including the one at my wedding), but also bake bread for their lunch service. Russell's baked apple fritter is probably my favorite pastry indulgence in town - it's really good.

                      1. I had breakfast on Sunday at Austin Diner on North Burnet. I t was very good, and the home fries were the best I've ever had. They actually tasted like potatoes and were well seasoned. It may have been a one time thing, but I'll find out soon enough when I go back.