Fun birthday lunch suggestion?
Yep, I'm turning the big 3-9 tomorrow, and I just want to have a relaxing lunch with my husband and daughter somewhere very Austin. We moved here a year ago and have tried many spots from these boards, so I look to you again for guidance. I was looking forward to picking up Flip Happy, but they're closed tomorrow. We're pretty flexible on food type, and really high bills stress me out, so we wouldn't want it to be too pricey. I'd also love to eat somewhere outside with a view, but a fun indoor atmosphere would be cool, too. Thanks in advance, wise ones.
I might suggest Eastside cafe (perhaps just after peak lunch time). The house is lovely and the food has always been great IMO. I'm a sucker for their Smoked Salmon Ravioli and their housemade feta dressing is perhaps my fav dressing in Austin. While you can't dine indoors, you can stroll past the garden after/before dining.
While many of the other suggestions have outdoor seating, the food at many is not my favorite in terms of great chow (Romeo's, County Line, Z Tejas).
Happy birthday in advance!
For fun, good very "Austin" kind of stuff not too expensive (and there is plenty of that happily),
1. Curra's- only the location on Oltorf (I hope I got the right street name- but the one in South Austin if you look it up.) Good Mexican food and very much in the style I have found in my trips to various cities in Mexico. Small outdoor area that is pretty cool.
2. Shady Grove- on Barton Springs Rd. near Zilker Park. General fare- sandwiches, salads and other various items tending towards Tex-Mex. One of the BEST outdoor eating areas in town. This was a huge favorite of mine in college and then a few years ago they slipped a bit, but recent visits have been great and my faith is restored.
3. Romeo's- also on Barton Spring's Road just a bit east of Shady Grove. No outdoor seating that I can recall, but a nice and fun casual Italian place. The food can vary here from good to quite good. I personally really like their Pomodoro sauce which is made vegetarian but they will add meat on request. A very fun place.
4. Chez Nous- Discussed at length here and for my tastes about as good as it gets (yes there is better food in the world- but this place just fits me perfectly and so I am very biased about it.) Very casual French country cuisine- and you can bring your own wine. For what you get the food is quite inexpensive, but it is more expensive than my other recommendations- $25-40 per person with tax and tip depending on how many courses. $25 will cover 2 courses and $40 if you want to do 4. They used to have a fixed menu 3 course lunch for about $28 each- but not sure if they do anymore. At 5th and Neches just off 6th street. No outdoor eating area. If you are a fan of soup- be sure to make that a course. They do marvelous soups beyond compare. In fact I think that is their greatest strength along with some marvelously prepared fish dishes.
5. Cafe Josie- not sure if they are open for lunch, so call first. On 6th Street just a couple of blocks west of Lamar. Very simple and succulent fare here. Hard to really categorize it- but certainly innovative and a very Austin kind of place. No outdoor eating area but often they have the French doors and windows open- so just as good as being outside. I really like this place. More expensive than 1-3, but not quite as high as Chez Nous.
6. Z Tejas- locations on 6th near Lamar and also up North in the Arboretum. Both locations have prime outdoor eating areas- up North you get a nice view from up high into the wooded hills. Again hard to categorize the food but lots of good choices in soups, salads, hot entrees- and I love their cornbread (very sweet and served with very sweet butter.) Off the top of my head entrees run $9-15 each- so figure $20-25 per person total depending on whether you get appetizers and dessert. They make some KILLER cobblers- the peach especially- so a good choice if you want an amazing birthday dessert.
There are others I am sure, but those are personal favorites that spring to mind. Have a great birthday and please do report back on your lunch!