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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!

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  1. To get out of your rut, why not try Don Luis (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/369171 )?

    In my ideal universe, there would be no mediocre chain restaurants. I hope you find that intensely delicious chow is worth the extra effort.


    1. 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!

      1 Reply
      1. re: gawain44

        Thanks MPH & Gawain, I will have to try some of these ideas!!!

      2. 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.

        1. I only ate there once for lunch, and it has been a while but Arturos is just a short drive up Jollyville from the Arboretum. I remember it as being pretty good Tex-Mex.
          And I hear the happy hour is pretty good. I also like NXNW and don't forget Eddie V's.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TroyTempest

            oops - meant Antonio's - It has been a long time.

          2. 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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Homero

              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.

            2. Haven't been there in a couple years, but the Sushi Sake in the Arboretum had some pretty decent sushi. About Mikado quality, maybe slight edge to Mikado. Definitely better than Kyoto or Umi.

              Speaking of sushi, the Arboretum is only a stone's throw from Musashino, which is both delicious and expensive. Also, they appear to possibly be declining -- my last three visits have been just so-so.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tom in austin

                Second Sushi Sake. I haven't been in probably a month but I used to stop there all the time on my way home from the office when I worked off of Research. I think it's the best "everyday" sushi that we've found since we moved here 2 yrs. ago.

              2. I hear your pain. I live at 2222/360.

                Manuel's/Eddie V's are two of my favorites (because of the happy hour)
                I also LOVE the Hawaiian Chicken sandwich at Boulevard Grill on Far West
                Bellagio is always great for a nice night out
                Mesa Ranch makes really yummy chicken fried venison and chile rellenos
                Din Ho is great and a great price as well as Sunflower (thank you, Rudeboy for suggesting this!)
                North by Northwest has a great patio and the pizzas/salads are tasty

                5 Replies
                1. re: amysuehere

                  All EXCELLENT suggestions... you would think that the area would have a larger suggestions. Has anyone tried Mimi's Cafe? I hear it is pretty good with a location in san Antonion and not too sure if it is a full chain or what the story is...

                  1. re: Aggiegirl1998

                    Mimi's is Lame. My friends had a salmon that they liked on one visit but nobody liked their food on the second visit. CFS was cutlets (Texans, get a rope) doubtlessly straight from Sysco and the salads were about all iceberg d i p p e d or tossed or something in dressing. Never has so much dough been spent creating a bad restaurant. Maybe breakfast is good they were baking some good muffins and we had a nice piece of French bread in the bread basket (along with some good but out of place banana bread) I wouldn't be surprised if they made a good burger but think Bennigan's or TGI Fridays and don't....

                    1. re: Aggiegirl1998

                      I have been to Mimi's and if you like Marie Calendar's then this will fit right in. Nothing Special there except the Spinach and Art. dip. The burgers are not that good and you can get a better country fried steak at Chili's instead of here.

                      1. re: jersey0107

                        I second the Alborz recommendation. I like the chicken with sour cherry rice, and the vegetarian plate is very good. The tabouleh is made with more parsley and mint than bulgur, as it should be, and the humus has a good proportion of lemon to tahini for my taste. Mr. Diva likes the lamb kebab, and the stews that I have tried have been very good, especially the one with pomegranate and walnuts (I believe it's the last stew listed in that portion of the menu).

                        1. re: diva360

                          I was forced to try Mimi's today with my co-worker. She had the salad with the walnuts and fruit with basalmic dressing and grill chicken along with a cup of broc & cheese soup. This was not a bad choice except having a bill over $16 for lunch. Mine, on the other hand, should have stayed in the kitchen. I had the roast beef dip, recommended by the server. The meat was tender, but tasteless. She did bring some horseradish that really opened me up. But, they have a bran muffin that was the best that I have ever had. It was very moist and had pieces of walnuts, banana, and pineapple. I will be enjoying the rest of it tomorrow. Chances are we won't go back.

                  2. Try Jardin Corona on Pond Springs. It won't cost much, and it's not the best in their small local chain, but a few items are really good.

                    I love the Chorimiga tacos for breakfast and most of the menu items are acceptable. To be honest, some of their pollo and pechuga dishes are quite (unexpectabley) delish... the Encebollado (sorry about the spelling but it means "with onions", I think), are on the verge of great - for the price.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Rene

                      If you go for lunch, spend the extra $2-3 on the items that Rene mentions...some of the lunch specials (typical) are noticeable boring.