Restaurant Suggestions Away from Downtown
I have out of town friends who will be in Austin March 17 & 18. it hit me that this is during SXSW when they tried to get a hotel room downtown. anyone have any suggestions about where to eat away from downtown crowds? looking for something more upscale, good wine list, etc. but open to all. thanks for your help.
Drive out to Lakeway and hit Hudson's on the Bend. Call ahead and tell Jeff you're coming with out-of-town guests, in tow. Tell him you really want to impress. Bring him something nice for his efforts.
If you really want a unique experience--off the beaten path--try European Bistro in Pflugerville. It is a horrible location for what it is, but it is some of the most authentic old-world European cuisine in Texas. (www.european-bistro.com) It is located in a 104 year old building, right in the middle of Pflugerhell. Beautiful restoration.The Owner's name is Anne. She is exceptionally friendly, and no doubt you'll find this older German guy on the piano. For whatever reason, this place reminds me of a mix between a great european bistro mixed with the set of "Waiting for Guffman." They have some exciting and funky wine selections, too.
For Italian, though it is not in its own free-standing building, and some of the decor is a bit hokey, check out Andiamo Ristorante.
No doubt, Fonda San Miguel will not experience the downtown traffic volume in Allendale. FSM is always a winner.
I'll second both the Hudson's & Andiamo recommendations. I haven't been to European Bistro, so can't comment there. Some others options away from downtown is Bellagio on Jester just off 360 & 2222. ( http://www.bellagioitalianbistro.com/... ) or Siena at 360 & 2222 ( http://www.sienarestaurant.com/index.htm ). Of the two, I like the food at Bellagio a little better (it's more quiet & intimate as well), but Sienna is also good and is very impressive from an appearance standpoint. It has a nice bar and lounge area in case you have to wait.
Fonda San Miguel will be a crowded nightmare during SxSW. Plus, as you probably know, not all local 'hounds love this place (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/358552 ). Of course, if your visitors want to go, and they can get a reservation that weekend, I recommend their weekend brunch over their regular dinner menu. I also like Hudson's on the Bend overall (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/360625 ), though they disappoint in some ways. Given their place on so many "best of" lists, HOTB might be very crowded that weekend, too.
To escape the hordes at restaurants in town, I'll probably head to my old fave, the BackStage Steakhouse in Spicewood (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/93193 ). They open nightly for dinner at 5 P.M.; they weren't crowded last year during SxSW; and they never disappoint. Their daily specials have always been excellent when I've dined there.
In my opinion, Siena is more "romantic" than delicious. To me, their chow tastes like safe, suburban, Italianate food (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/334867 ). I've never personally tried Andiamo or Bellagio, though.
Tomo Sushi on Parmer is new and much better than most sushi options on the far north side of town. It has kind of a downtown vibe once you enter the restaurant and put the shopping strip exterior behind you.
Moderate priced, Fino, just north of UT but still may be crowded , also Mirabelle, in sort of NW Austin but easily accessible. Cheaper, Hyde Park Bar and Grill, especially the one out south, 34th St Cafe for good soup, salad, sandwiches and some full plates. Din Ho for Chinese, more north by the Target, Texas Culinary Institute north of 183 on Burnet Rd, T and S Chinese, way north on Lamar, lot of people like it but I don't, neither do I care for Andiamo nor Fonda San Miguel(used to like it a lot). Bistrio 88, have always liked to eat lunch there, out on Bee Caves.