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Jan 31, 2007 02:29 PM

Warm, Cozy & Casual (?)

That's what I was asked to come up with for dinner this weekend with some friends. A place that is warm, cozy & casual. Of course, casual in this sense will still mean "sort of" nice, given my dining companions (wife) and, of course, have good food.

I thought of Chez Nous (I've never been) - does it meet the criteria - or maybe Eastside Cafe or Mars. Any other suggestions? Anyone tried Mesa Ranch?

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  1. We're fans of Chez Zee, though I seldom see it mentioned on CH.

    1 Reply
    1. re: melissad

      I'm not a fan of Mesa Ranch. To me it falls short in every respect. The food is merely average but overpriced, the service was disinterested and the decor is hokey. Chez Nous might fill the bill if you ask for lardon on the salad lyonaise; the rest of the menu is tasty and adequate. Roaring Fork has fireplaces and warm, comforting food and the Intercontinental has a nic Bar Upstairs. The Eastside Cafe might just be the one that fills th bill. Also, I'm a big fan of Mirabelle on Mesa, It feels warm and inviting and the food is terrific. The happy hour specials at Eddie V's up north can make a terriffic dinner and if you eat in the bar, it's caual and quite warm.

    2. El gringo and El chile (same owners) has always been good for me. Enoteca on s congress. Thai passion or Thai tara for Thai.

      1 Reply
      1. re: shady

        I agree about El Gringo. I had a great dinner last Friday night. we shared the pate, oysters and smoked salmon which were all very good. my favorite was the pate. it was a country pate, with just the right amount of fat. my entree was a duck confit, with sweet potatoes in a roasted poblano. I can't remember what the others had but mine was really good. in fact the duck confit was some of the best I've had in town in a long time. they also have a great bar in a house out in the back of the restaurant, if you want a drink first.

      2. I agree with Greg, Mesa Ranch is nothing special - and the decor IS really hokey. The decor in the El Gringo bar is, too, but for some reason it works. It's a very nice place to enjoy a margarita or grapefruit martini with friends.

        Enoteca sounds like it might work -- not too expensive, good food, pretty casual atmosphere (but still slightly upscale). It can be a bit crowded on the weekends, though.

        And if you're going out on Sunday, Greg is right, Eddie V's has fantastic specials (all night Sun/Mon) on their food -- for example, a huge caesar salad (with anchovies!) that could easily feed two for 3.50, [I recently had a much smaller and less tasty salad at Asti for 7.50] ahi tuna tartare for 6 bucks, crab cakes, etc. And get the Bread Pudding for dessert - it's the best in Austin.

        1. Thanks to all for your recommendations. There was some good suggestions, but we decided to go with a place none of us have been before, and El Gringo's is the Saturday night destination. (If you're there, just yell Ken and I'll look around.) The bar actually helped sealed the deal, since we usually like to have a drink while we're wating. I'll post back about my experience.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ken W

            when I ate there the other night, I had a wine I really liked. it was a merlot and I think the name was Serenity (?). it was really good. just a thought. hope you all enjoy your meal there.