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Austin - Sunday dinner?

We have reserved a table at Jeffrey's but everyone seems to say that its awful - so, any other suggestions?

Maybe something less upscale - what's El Chile like, or Z'Tejas?

Any other recommendations?

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  1. Many of the good restaurants in town are closed on Sunday. The list is toooo long to name.

    South Congress Cafe is a good option.

    1. Try Bellagio at 6507 Jester Blvd, IMO I think it is better that Jeffrey (food and price). And the Calamari Bellagio is to die for, also the Porchetta Florentine (Grilled double pork chop stuffed with spinach, asiago cheese and pine nuts) can't live without it.

      1. El Chile is very good interior Mexican food. It is a much more casual place than Jeffrey's (which I aslo hear is not that good). I discourage you from Z'Tejas..their food was good about 10 years ago, but has taken a nose-dive. Have you considered Vespaio, Castle Hill Cafe, or Uchi?

        1. A lot of people seem to "hear" that Jeffrey's is bad, but most of them don't give details about recent meals there. To me, that's as unhelpful as being told, "I hear it's good," about a place that the recommender hasn’t visited. When I can read specific comments about the chow, on the other hand, I can make up my own mind based on other people's experiences.

          I know this is too late to do you any good, merseymike, but for others reading along, several reviews of Jeffrey’s chow can be found on these two threads:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/336707

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/93377

          For what it's worth, I agree with adewaal that the food at Z'Tejas is awful; moreover, if I wanted to go out to a special dinner in Austin, I wouldn't bother going to Bellagio. Just one more opinion to consider.

          I hope you ended up somewhere good on Sunday night.

          Best,
          MPH

          6 Replies
          1. re: MPH

            You are kidding, right? ZTejas is AWFUL??? Their appetizers and salads are wonderful. The Jerk Chicken and Pecan Crusted Chicken salads are so delicious and they have the best Avacado Chicken Sandwich in town... the shrimp and guacamole appetizer is really tastey as are the potstickers! The chicken artichoke dish and fish tacos are really good and I love the catfish beignets.

            We all know it's not traditional tex-mex or mex... but I don't get "AWFUL". What's that about?

            1. re: Rene

              I agree with MPH. I think the food is at best mediocre and the chain-restaurant atmosphere and bush-league service don't add anything for me either. Obviously these opinions are based on my own experience and you may have had better visits on which to base your own assessment.

              1. re: Twill

                That's exactly what I meant by awful, Twill. In my opinion, the chow, judged as "New American" or Southwestern (the restaurant bills itself as both), is not delicious. Yet it's now a well-known chain that gets more customers than many restaurants with better food. I've tried Z’Tejas three times—always with visitors who prefer that kind of atmosphere. I wouldn't go there again, let alone for a special dinner. I would also disagree that Z’Tejas is a better choice than Jeffrey’s for destination dining. Visitors can decide for themselves which sounds better, or just pick a different option entirely.

                Chowhounds who want to share their love for Z'Tejas can always try to capture in words the special quality that makes their salads, appetizers, and main dishes better than other versions in town. Such opinions will probably be more persuasive, however, if each of us discusses his or her take on the chow, with less emphasis on the opinions of others.

                1. re: MPH

                  I have to agree about Z'Tejas. It's one of those "Austin Institutions" that I've just never understood. To steal a term from Tony Bourdain it reminds me too much of the food over there at TGI McFunsters.

              2. re: Rene

                I agree with Rene. Z'Tejas has nice items and some disappointing ones--pretty much like every restaurant in town. I've always been in love with their grilled shrimp tostado bites and their ancho chile fudge pie is top notch (though I don't really like the crust). In general I've found the appetizers are more interesting than the entrees.

                As for Jeffrey's, like most people I don't go that often to really form an opinion, but I have I have been recently for happy hour (on a Sunday night) for their half off appetizers and we ordered them all (plus one of the entrees) and came away impressed by a good many of them. The fried oysters are pretty much legendary and the smoked tuna salad was a very delightful twist--it's a piece of smoked tuna on lettuce salad. The poached shrimp though were tough. I don't know if Jeffreys is worth seeking out when you are new to town, but those who live here seeking a nice meal on Sundays and willing to spend the money, it is a worthy option.

                Finally, I know a what's-open-on-Sunday thread is valuable for visitors since I often seek them out on other boards so I'll point out that Uchi is open Sunday nights as well. It is one of my favorite (upscale) restaurants in the city. Chowhounds seem to be mixed on the matter so it is worth reading other reviews on the board.

                Oh, and for barbecue on Sunday, of the vaunted few, the best on Sunday is probably Smitty's in Lockhart.

                1. re: Carter B.

                  Yes - some of the Z Tejas items work! For instance, the tostado bites (thanks for correcting me) feature a nice grilled shrimp with a spicy, though not overwhelming, sauce and fresh guacamole. The actual tostado is more like a very flavorful, thick cracker, which stands up to the toppings. I did find the green chili pork quite boring and disappointing, however. For some wonderful reason, the potstickers - or dumplings - have a sauce that is really flavorful and enhances the filling. As for the Avocado Chicken Sandwich, the ingredients are all fresh and the Jalepeno Mayo is quite tastey. It's perfect! My hubby loves chicken sandwiches and tries them all of the time. This one, being so tender, continures to lead the pack.

                  I have not had the pleasure of an evening at Jeffrey's or Uchi, although I'm sure both would be great. Being very busy and not living in Central Austin does have it's drawbacks!

                  I am looking forward to an evening at Backstage... not too far from where I live.

            2. I think the food at El Chile is great. Better than their other restaurant El Gringo. Only draw-back to El Chile is its really loud there. If busy you almost have to yell at your friends. You should try Zoot. The food is awesome and they are not all that busy on a Sunday night. To add my 2 cents worth about Z'Tejas ... the only thing I've ever had good there is a Bloody Mary.

              1. Any other tips for Sunday night, 18 months later?

                3 Replies
                1. re: RoundSparrow

                  The last time I tried to go out on a Sunday night, the best we could do was Mars. It wasn't bad, but not my favorite.

                  1. re: RoundSparrow

                    Zoot perhaps?

                    They are open until 9pm.

                    1. re: RoundSparrow

                      I declare a challenge - find more for Sunday night. Nobody runs any decent event specials? Watch football and good food?

                    2. I'd go to Vespaio on Sunday if I had the choice.