Arboretum Area Dinner Woes...
Ok, I have fallen into the Arboretum Area dinner Woes trap. I can't seem to get out of eating the same things in that area and would love some suggestions to something other than anything at the domain, cheesecake factory (yes... i said it), z tejas, firebowl or Manuel's. I would love something more local and just plain good. Doesn't have to to be nice, but does have to taste good! Thanks for your ideas!
You will probably have to get off the "beaten path", i.e. Hwy 183 and the Arboretum area to escape the chains. the Arboretum is indeed 'chain city'. Here are some other spots within a 5 mile radius of the Arboretum:
Triumph Cafe on Spicewood Springs (great Vietnamese with a good patio)
Mesa Ranch on Mesa (great steaks and 'western food' with live music Thurs-Sat)
Mirabelle on Mesa (a little pricey, but good continental type food)
Taco Shack on Spicewood (self expanatory)
Mangia (local chain, but I really like their pizza and other food)
Alborz off Anderson Ln. (great Persian/eastern Med food)
Slim pickins to be sure!
Right over by Crate & Barrel is Manny Hattan's - a New York style deli/restaurant. I've had good luck there with their reuben sandwiches and they have a pretty extensive breakfast menu.
For lunch, I would check out the Bleu River Grille and Ventana at the Texas Culinary Academy. The Grill serves various sandwiches and salads which are pretty tasty and reasonably priced. Ventana is the student staffed test kitchen where you can get grilled salmon and steak diane at a fraction of the normal cost. Its in the Domain, but not in the Commercial part. Its closer to Burnet.
Ventana is a true find... the service is a little tentative but it's because you are being served by student chefs. I remember a very tasty duck confit salad and fresh breads. I can not remember the main courses at the moment, but I do remember that it would be a great place for a close to fine dining experience... a little adventurous and pleasantly surprising.