Group of 20 in the Fall
I know it is early to be thinking about this . . . but:
I'll be making my way to Austin in the fall for a conference and am charged with organizing a dinner get-together for a group of 20 friends. Almost everyone in the group is in their 20s and 30s. Something Austin specific, good food/liquor, and walkable from the convention center area would be particularly helpful. The last time I was in Austin I was taken to Moonshine and found myself reasonably pleased (although the entrees were a little less impressive than the rest) and will hold it in my back pocket if I don't hear a strong suggestion for another place.
I would recommend some places in the warehouse area, that way when you are done... you guys can go out and see Austin nighlife....
- Malaga has great HH specials and good tapas
- 219 West has great HH specials and good finger foods
- Saba ok HH specials and ok food
- Cuba Libre- might be a chain? fun atmosphere, ok food
- Starlite- excellent food
- Trulucks- good food, although not really an "Austin-type" place
- La Traviatta (on Congress)- Great food and nice atmosphere
- Manuels (on Congress)- Great Mexican and fun atmosphere
There are just a few of my personal favorites. Have a great time in the ATX!! ;)
I would second Starlite or Manuel's. Truluck's, IMO is ok at best and if the visitors are from some place with good seafood this may dissappoint. The one time I had a steak there it was overcooked.....how many times do I have to tell waiters that when I say rare, I really mean it! The seafood is good, I had a decent trout dish and a lobster salad in the past. But, it in no way compares to excellent seafood I have had in more coastal areas (be it gulf coast, NYC and the east coast, or pacific coast). And, there sides are inconsistent (they insist on serving asparagus year round regardless of seasonality or how nice the product is). I have no personal experience with La Traviatta, but again Austin is certainly not known for its Italian cuisine.
As for the bars, skip the tapas at Malaga and Saba. Both are hit and miss and the staff the last times I went was too snotty to be helpful or provide pleasant service. Cuba Libre is bar fare but tasty, and 219 has one of the best bar menus in town.
Ashes, I agree with the whole "snotty" attitude from time to time at those places. And, I LOVE the HH at 219... food is good, as is the blackberry martini. And, they have the HH specials till 9pm.
And, good point on Trulucks. Although, I usually get the sesame crusted tuna and it is pretty darn good. ;)
Yes, Truluck's has some "good dishes", but for the money and the see and be seen-ness of it all, I'd rather go somewhere else.
Another thought for a suggestion is the new Lambert's off 2nd. I know it has received some mixed reviews here on this board, and I can't speak from personal experiences, but my impression is that it is pretty darn "Austin" by definition. In fact, I picked up one of those shi-shi free local mags (Tribeza) while in search of blueberry ale at Grapevine yesterday and read a little blurb about the chef at Lambert's. While Lou is still "in charge" the man at the helm is apparently a 24 year old young man, austin born and bred.