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Food options in NW Austin/Cedar Park

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I picked up a new client recently which means I will be in far NW Austin once a week until 8 or 9. I will be out west of 620 quite a few miles on Anderson, and coming back to East-central Austin via 183. Since this is my busiest day, I'm hoping to find some good chow to take home, but I'm pretty unfamiliar with this part of town. I tried a search, and the pickings about this general area seemed slim. I already know about Asia Cafe and really like their food, and I've tried Sambet's and was unimpressed. Is there anything along this route (or off of it a little bit) that I should try that is open in the evening? Suggestions would be appreciated. And my main criterion is great food--any cuisine is welcome to apply.

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  1. I would suggest Reale's. It's in the shopping center at the corner of Anderson Mill and 183. It's my favorite pizza in town and they have some pretty good Italian dishes on the menu as well. I'm fond of their simple but tasty sausage and peppers.

    Also, in the same shopping center, there's a Tino's Greek Cafe. It's one of many in Austin now, but the food is decent and it's quick and easy to get it to go.

    Unfortunately, this part of town has very few great restaurants. Lots and lots of chain establishments though.

    1. I'll second the recommendation for Reale's. Simple dishes done very well. I love the slightly spicy marinara sauce.

      For sushi, I really enjoy Midori on 183 in that same shopping center as the Alamo Draft House.

      There is also a Persian restaurant (Shandeez) and a Filipino restaurant (can't remember the name) in a shopping center on Anderson Mill between Parmer and 183, although I haven't tried either yet. Anyone been there who would care to share their experience?

      2 Replies
      1. re: jwynne2000

        I've been to Shandeez Grill once and enjoyed the Joojeh-Kabob (one skewer of marinated chunks of bone-in Cornish hen, served with grilled tomato and basmati rice) -- moist and tender, in contrast to the rather dry rice, along with some Maast-o-Khiar (yogurt-cucumber-mint dip) for additional flavor. The service was attentive and friendly; I'd definitely return for more grilled meats. I haven't eaten at the Filipino restaurant in the same strip mall, but it's called Mang Dedoy's, and it's basically a grocery store with a few tables for dining in (the same business model as Asia Cafe, but on an even smaller scale).

        The attraction of Reale's is a mystery to my wife and myself -- we're both transplants from the NY/NJ area and our one visit, about two years ago, was a disaster. It is a poor imitation of a real Northeast Italian-American old-style red-sauce restaurant. We ordered a pizza which came to our table barely cooked, and when we sent it back to the kitchen it was kept in the oven so long it came back burnt. The so-called antipasto platter ($10) bore no resemblance to any other such antipasto platters in our experience -- instead of nicely rolled marinated, spiced meats, we got big chunks of nearly inedible foodstuffs. Our waiter was nowhere to be found when we needed him, and never even checked back to see if our food was to our liking.

        The only thing that came close to being OK on our visit to Reale's was the Sinatra impersonator who sat on a stool and crooned Frank's tunes to pre-recorded instrumental backing. That guy wasn't half bad. On the other hand, if you're looking for good Italian food in Austin there are far better places for it.

        1. re: jwynne2000

          I also recommend Midori though it's a bit farther south of the shopping center with the Alamo. It's near near the intersection of 183 and Anderson Mill near the blockbuster video and a haircut place. I always get their grilled fish lunch special which has a little of everything but their rolls are great too. Will try and remember the name of the one my husband always gets.

        2. I don't know if this is on your way, but it just opened a few months ago and their food is quite good. Get the daily specials, they are almost always great.

          http://palmbeachgrill.net/

          1. I like Reale's ok but the best pizza in town is at Saccone's. It's great. Unfortunately the 183 location near 620 burned but I hear they're looking for a new location so keep an eye out for that.

            There's a recently opened Hoovers on 183 near Anderson Mill. I haven't tried that location but definitely worth a stop to check it out.

            The shopping center with Asia Cafe and Sambet's has a small indonesian take out place that I like. Also the tex-mex restaurant at the same shopping center is worth a return visit, IMO. And there's a bbq place that used to be excellent but I haven't tried it in years.

            Also, your route home takes you past the shopping center on 183 near Burnet - adjacent to Target. Din Ho chinese, the Taiwanese cafe, the pho restaurant, and Sunshine Vietnamese are all excellent.

            1. I moved from this area about eight months ago to south austin. At the time, the pickings were pretty slim. I really like Reale's. Hoover's is good. Pacific Star Oyster Bar. Tea House is passable. Other than that, ummm, no. I like the rec for Tino's Greek Cafe. That is goodness.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shanntastic

                Honestly, check Midori for Sushi. It's next to the defunct Albertson's off of Anderson Mill. The service is outstanding. Not being a connosieur, I rely on my friend who travels each month to various locations in Asia. He has established a relationship with the folks there and believes the fish to be fresh and delish. My novice Sushi palate agrees.

              2. im a ex nyker and reale's is consisent and has good food.i love the calzones and the brushetta .his sausages are from roma in nj and are oustanding,if you have a car go up and try ciolas which is on rm620 in lakeways hsi food is excellent.

                1. I don't know if these suggestions are NW enough for ya:
                  Tacodeli for breakfast or lunch (Mo-Pac at Duval/Gracy Farms)
                  Par's Deli for lunch or dinner (SW corner of Burnet and 183)
                  Madras Pavillion (NE corner of Burnet and 183)
                  Tam Deli (Lamar, just north of 183)
                  Jardin Corona (Pond Springs, off 183). There's one in Cedar Park, which I heard is better.
                  There's a Saccone's in Cedar Park, but I'm unsure of the proximity to where you will be.

                  Has anyone tried the Texican Cafe near Lakeline Mall? When we lived far south, we went to their Manchaca Road location for fajitas.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Hsien_Ko

                    I have tried the Texican a couple of times as it is close by. It didn't really do anything for me but I have a friend who loves their margaritas and atmosphere. It's not bad, it just didn't meet my taste preferences. Giving this some thought, I think I'll go back... I haven't tried the Texican since shortly after it opened and maybe didn't give it a fair shake.

                    1. re: Rene

                      Texican is not bad and considering its location (loaded with chains), it is worth going to. They have good salsa and Tortilla soup. Yes, I base my likeliness of Tex Mex restaurants with Tortilla soup... if you make a bad one, well... that leads to a bad meal about 95% of the time. Hahaha....

                      I too, like Midori, Shandez & Tino's....

                      1. re: Aggiegirl1998

                        I tried Texican a couple of times in the past couple of months. I have changed my mind. The Queso Fudido was great (unfortunately it sticks to the cast iron skillet so get to it quickly if you try it). Good Crunchy Taco and Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada was very tasty. Buddy had the beef fajitas and proclaimed that she will definitely be back. We shared a Top Shelf Margarita and it was wonderful (lunch time, ya know). I'm no Connoisseur of tortillas, but these may well be made on site... certainly didn't taste like store bought or what you get at most restaurants... Chips and Salsa were good, too!

                  2. I agree with some people on this post for sushi--Midor Sushi located off of the 183 and Anderson Mill is very very good. Great service, good prices and great quality fish. Try the Marilyn Monroe Roll, yummy!

                    1. I just moved to Austin a couple of months ago (NW near 620) and I'm a big fan of Kim Phung. There's a NW location on Lakeline next to the giant Target. I know there's another location further south, but I haven't been to that one yet. GREAT food, though I've only really tried the vietnamese options, not the chinese. There are many different kinds of spring rolls that you can order individually (I recommend the roast duck spring roll, they're huge and only $2 a piece). I'm also a big fan of their bun noodle bowls. Wonderful service, great for takeout. The food is always very fresh and tasty. Also, it's not always on the menu, but they have a green bean teriyaki dish that is out of this world, you can have it with any kind of meat or tofu.

                      1. I am glad you posted this topic. I am finding some good ideas for places to try, Instead of moaning about being stuck in chainland up here, I should have been out exploring. I have been to Hoover's, which is worth a try, I love Tino's-a good choice to pick up a great meal to go, My friends all like Reale's.
                        The Tex-Mex place in the same strip center as Sambet's is Camino Real, and I really like it. Their salsa is awesome.
                        I do love Texican as well. It's nice to see a locally owned place. It seems to be a popular place for families. The Cabrito is really good. I like the Shrimp Flautas, too (those probably wouldn't travel well)
                        If you have a chance to sit down one night, I really like the burgers at Riata Grill (It's tucked away on Riata Trace Parkway). I think it's actually a sports bar, but not an overblown one. The Whole Wheat bun is good.
                        There's always Whole Foods at 183 and 360 behind the Crate and Barrel.
                        I can't wait to try Shandeez, Midori, and Asia Cafe (I didn't even know it was there),

                        1. There is a new sushi place in Cedar Park called Sushi Caliente. Its a fusion of Sushi and Mexican food. I haven't been there yet but its in a strip mall between 1431 and 183. I will go there this week and give a review. Sounds interetesting.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Austinfoodsnob

                            Wow, truly interesting info there. Am looking forward to your write-up and can't wait (hopefully, haha) to try it myself.

                          2. Your two best bets as a Cedar Park foodie for 20+ years are:

                            Thamnak Thai- they open at 5 for dinner and do a big take out business- they also do a val-pak coupon with buy 2 get 1 free entree

                            Jardin Corona- excellent Tex-mex- family owned and operated, killer mexican martini's (worth the $7.50 price tag)
                            They also do a buy 1 get one free coupon

                            there will be a threadgill's with a live music venue at 1431 & 183 this summer

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: amykragan

                              Amy the Jardin Corona in Leander which is owned by the same family in my opinion is better than the one in Cedar Park always crowded and has great Mole encliladas.

                              1. re: angelfoodmaker

                                They're both great I just usually go to the closer one.

                            2. If you just want a burger, we love Moonies on 183

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: dave19

                                We went to Traxx today off Whitestone/1431 and we were pleasantly surprised.
                                Very fresh tasting homemade salad dressings, the chipolte vingrette was different, with a hint of cheese, unique.
                                Had a grilled tuna steak sand. nice fresh green leaf lettuce and quality tomatoes and a chipolte mayo.
                                Husband had a the buffalo chicken sanwich, he thoroughly enjoyed.
                                The prices were great and they had a nice brunch menu as well.
                                We will definitely go back....

                                1. re: familyof3

                                  We tried to go to Traxx today at lunchtime and they had a sign up that they were closed (permanently, not just for the holidays.) I was really bummed to see that because they had the most reliably perfectly cooked medium rare burger there. We'd marvel at them every time, they were warm pink center almost all the way to the edge, and super juicy. I'm sorry to see them go. There's not enough places left that do medium rare burgers.

                                  1. re: stephanieh

                                    I wish I had known about that burger! Not only is medium rare hard to come by but medium rare and really good is super tough in NW / Cedar Park. If you have a back up plan in the area, let me know, please.

                                    1. re: Rene

                                      I'm kicking myself because I never posted about their burger here on CH. My husband works in CP, and I meet him for lunch sometimes. I'll keep an eye out for a good med rare burger, and this time, if I find one, I won't let them go out of business. (i say, kidding myself that I could really have that kind of impact.)

                                      Today, we went to Moonie's instead... which is fine, if you don't already have your mouth set for perfect medium rare. : (

                                2. re: dave19

                                  I didn't like Moonies at all. The shredded lettuce in the burger had that sweet smell that it gets when it's out too long, which totally threw me off. Does anyone know what I am talking about? Also, the burger itself was a little dry.
                                  Maybe I just miss Bubba's Icehouse. I may have been alone on that one, but I liked their huge hamburgers.

                                3. Unfortunately, I live up here. Pickings are slim - you're right about that. I often find myself driving to downtown and South Austin for food. Now that gas prices are lower, it's not so bad. Although convincing the non-foodie hubbie takes work. Anyway, back to the point.

                                  Here are my favs (not in any particular order):
                                  1) Mesa Rosa (like the salsa, love the sangria rita, everthing else is acceptable)
                                  2)Tino's Greek Cafe (also tried DiMassi's, didn't care for it)
                                  3)Hoovers (hubby and I usually split because portion size is way too big)
                                  4)Gumbo's (upscale Cajun place, salads are great, sauces are pretty good)
                                  4.5)stay away from Coolriver (think mullet heads w/ money and pretentious hunting decor)
                                  5)fyi, for bars, we like Sherlocks and Little Woodrow's
                                  6)we love North By Northwest (arboretum area, calamari is real decent, prices are good). It's on the wrong side of 183 for your commute, though.
                                  7)Sambets rocks (I usually get the shrimp po-boy and some gumbo, love, love, love this dive). Sorry your experience wasn't the same.
                                  8) La Madeline is a southbound exit off on 183 (duval?) It's a chain, I know, but I"m addicted to their tomato basil soup.

                                  Wow, I didn't realize 'til I wrote this how narrow-minded my tastes are. I need to add more "exotic" stuff to my palate. This is mostly americana grub. I blame the hubbie. ;-)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: mwreese

                                    I had to comment about the mention of only 2 Greek/Meditarean places, Tino's and DiMassi's .... I suggest that you try Zorba's In Round Rock, which I have always liked way better then either of the 2 mentioned in this post. It is good for lunch but even better at dinner.

                                    1. re: mwreese

                                      I'm very fond of Guadalajara at 620 and Lake Creek (south of 183). It part of a local chain of Jalisco style Taquerias. Their beef and pork dishes such as carne asada and gorditas pastor are very good. Their tacos or enchaladas are mediocre. I always order a small beef soup (caldo) with my dish. Be prepared to use the sharp knife that is part of the utensils and squeeze your lime onto the meat.

                                    2. Mang Dedoy's - Filipino (best Filipino place in town)
                                      Rudy's BBQ (you can't go wrong)
                                      Bone Daddy's BBQ

                                      Tino's Greek Cafe - Greek (ok)
                                      Hoovers - Southern homestyle (Dot's is better)
                                      Midori's - Sushi (decent)

                                      But I'd drive the extra 15 mins south for better food off of Burnet Rd/Lamar Rd.