HOME > Chowhound > Austin >


Bored of Options Spicewood/Mopac

Our group goes out every Friday for lunch and we're stuck in a rut. We have some "not-so-adventursome" in our group, so we end up at the following, in no particular order or frequency:

Chinatown (right next door)
Korea House
China Sea (no more since the green duck)
Din Ho
Jorge's on Hancock

Mikado on 183
Indian on Anderson
Brentwood Tavern

Help us out.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Lot's of options in the area, even for the un-adventurous. In no particular order (and not judging the quality of the food) and with variety in mind:

    Pluckers on 183
    County Line on 2222
    Waterloo on 2222 and 360
    Mesa Ranch on Mesa
    Mirabelle on Mesa
    Tan My (formerly Tan Tan) on Peyton Gin
    Z Tejas near the arboretum
    Mrs. B's at Mesa and Spicewood


    1. How about?
      Pars Deli (Middle Eastern wraps and such)--SW corner of Burnet and 183
      Tam Deli (Vietnamese sandwiches and yummy cream puffs)--N. Lamar, just north of 183
      Madras Pavillion (excellent Indian buffet)--NE corner of Burnet and 183
      Dog Almighty, Burnet, south of Anderson
      Elsi's, Burnet, south of Anderson
      Tacodeli, North Mo-Pac at Duval/Burnet
      Little Deli, in the Crestview shopping center

      2 Replies
      1. re: Hsien_Ko

        You know, despite all the positive things I've heard about Dog Almighty, I had one of the worst hot dogs I've ever had there a month ago. It had more in common with a kid's viena sausage than with a decent hot dog. And 75 cents for sauerkruat? I'll take a pass on the whole thing.

        1. re: Greg Spence

          I have to agree re Dog Almighty. Went there recently after hearing much praise for their dogs and their burgers. Not impressed on either count--burger was dry, dog was pedestrian. I thought the restaurant space itself was also pretty unappealing.

      2. omg...we ended up at Brentwood again. On the positive side the weather today is absolutely spectacular.

        Ah yes. forgot. we do end up at Mesa Ranch and County Line on occasion.

        1. Musashino(downstairs chinatown sushi)
          Grape Vine Market(great and cheap sandwiches, salads, and pizzas)
          Madras Pavillion

          Also within your range is the solid group by 45th and burnett including
          Blue Star(american)
          Sao Paolos(peruvian)-try the mussels app.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Trhosion

            Ugh. Blue Star. Avoid. Small portions, usurious prices, burnt meatlof ends served to customers without the bat of an eye. The only yummy things there are the fried artichoke hearts and the chess pie.

            1. re: Trhosion

              Maru does very affordable, and IMO, very tasty bentos/specials at lunch. While I'm a sushi addict, I'm actually partial to their beef teriyaki. It, like many of their dishes, is a little sweet (which I love). The lunch special comes with miso, rice, tempura (usually a few veg and one shrimp), a small salad, and two pieces of a cali roll.

              1. re: ashes

                I'm convinced. We'll try Maru next.

            2. Billy's on Burnet is also quite tasty. They have a good patio for sitting outside on a nice day.

              1. Yes, I want to know about that, too!
                Twin Lion at Braker and 183 does some good food, in particular the Spicy Black Bean Tofu with Vegetables, Lemongrass Tofu and Ginger Tofu. I enjoy their way with tofu, obviously. Their hot & sour soup is good and I like the big bowl of wonton soup with veggies and pork (and maybe shrimp?). They even have a passable chicken & rice noodle soup. I used to get the lo mein there, too, it was good. They have very low lunch prices but you'll need to order the tofu dishes from the regular menu. Their other fare is pretty standard Americanized Chinese, I guess. I tend to stick with the same items that I know I like.

                1. Wally's on Mesa. The most underrated burger joint in town.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: achtungpv

                    That's a pretty strong recommendation. For those of us who might be inclined to make a special trip for a good burger, can you describe what makes this one stand out for you?

                    1. re: Knoblauch

                      It's a burger similar to Dan's but superior in quality in my opinion. It's not in the league of CAsino but for old school style it blows most out of the water. I haven't eaten there in 2 years unfortunately since I avoid north of the river mostly, so hopefully it's still high quality.

                      1. re: achtungpv

                        Last time I went (about six months ago) it was horrendous! I mean inedible. patty was dry and tasteless, but was stale. Just horrible

                        1. re: amysuehere

                          I've lived near Wally's since I was a child. NOBODY in the neighborhood eats their salty, overpriced burgers.

                          Local rumor is that Wally's is owned by the local Dairy Queen franchise owner who runs Wally's separately so as not to have to pay the costs of operating another Dairy Queen location.

                          In my opinion, Burger House isn't much better.

                          Another good suggestion for the Spicewood Springs/MoPac area is China Cafe. I've had consisently good conventional Chinese food there.

                  2. Is the Russian place still across from Sun Harvest just on the other side of Mopac off Anderson? Pashas or something? If you group isn't very large that's a good place.

                    NXNW always has nice lunch options.
                    BBQ at Mann's Smokehouse @ 183/Peyton Gin
                    Bombay Bistro has the best Indian lunch buffet I've been to.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Carter B.

                      It's Sasha's, and I was there about a month ago buying half sour pickles, which is the only place in town that has them as far as I know.

                      1. re: Carter B.

                        I'll second the vote for BBQ at Mann's. They have awesome pulled pork and the pork ribs get better and better everytime I've had them. Fried green tomatoes made to order too.

                        1. re: Joelle

                          I tried Mann's once and they were soooo terribly greasy to the point of being inedible. Just can't make myself go back.

                          1. re: amysuehere

                            Too bad, you must have hit them on a bad night. I go there a couple of times a month and the BBQ is good to excellent.

                            1. re: Joelle

                              Agreed, I've only been there once but the 'cue was about a B+ and about as good as it seems to be in Austin proper

                          2. re: Joelle

                            I really enjoy Mann's BBQ. My office goes there several times a month. The green lima butterbeans are my favorite. I like their sausage wraps, too. Also, on Tuesday and Thursday you get a free brownie that is great.

                        2. How about:
                          Indian Palace on Far West
                          Tino's Greek at Balcones/2222
                          Triumph Cafe on Spicewood--Vietnamese
                          Peony at Balcones/2222-Chinese
                          Russell's Cafe & Bakery--Balcones & Hancock
                          Burger House--Mesa & Spicewood

                          1. WTF, Amysue. You are the go to gal in this area for places to eat. Nonetheless, here are some more. Chez something or another across from Randall's up there on Koenig and 2222. Also, in the same center, Tino's middle Eastern which you already know about. Surprisingly not mentioned since it is discussed greatly on this board is Sunflower, up there near Target, in the same SC as Din Ho. BTW, Mann's BBQ also has vegetables of all sorts and fairly decent, "edible", BBQ. On Burnet is Top Notch, a very good and one of the last remaining flame broiled burger places. Dale Rice praises their fried Chicken. Also in the shopping center at the intersection of Burnet and Greenlawn is the Chinese Bufffet place and near it down by Dog Almighty is Elsie's a pretty decent Central American food place. Further north on Burnet is Samovar, an Indian place I have frequented once and up at the intersection of Burnet and 183 is a vegetarian Indian place in the old Pearl's location. Don't forget the English pub thing at Burnet and 183 as well on the SE corner sort of . It is in the same shopping center as the matress and furniture stores. Is Olive Garden too mundane? There is one also on Burnet and 183 near the English pub thing. Across Burnet Rd. in the same center where the Chili's is, there is another middle Eastern place that personally I don't care for. BTW, further south on Burnet Rd and the corner of Anderson and Burnet is Houston's, a conventional but not bad standard restuarant. Go to Anderson and Shoal Creek for Suzi's version of something they call Chinese food. (To each his own).. Again continuing east on Burnet road there are several Mexican places. One is quite popular and I think it has enchiladas in the name. I am sure you know it and have probably been there.There are a ton of places to eat in that area the question is do they serve real food. Since you group has a mixture of adventursome eaters some of the places, like Olive Garden, might be more to their liking than the more exotic places. Good luck, J.

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: singlemalt

                              Yeah, most of the places mentioned I've at least given three tries to. I guess I was kinda hoping for a dream of someplace either forgotten or new. Actually, Maru is next on the list as something new to try.

                              Here are my quick thoughts on the above, with deference to the suggestors. Not putting you all down for the plethera of suggestions, just what I get faced when I play "cruise director".

                              Pluckers on 183 - OMG no. How can a wing place make such HORRIBLE wings?

                              County Line on 2222 - we go on occasion, good for the group, predictable and fast

                              Waterloo on 2222 and 360 - Will NEVER set foot in that place again - Chuck E Cheese on steroids

                              Mesa Ranch on Mesa - we go there on a regular basis - standouts are the shrimp relleno and the ven. chicken fried steak and ven. cheese-steak

                              Mirabelle on Mesa - way too bland and too expensive

                              Tan My (formerly Tan Tan) on Peyton Gin - Never been, do tell more

                              Z Tejas near the arboretum - overpriced tex-mex and too loud

                              Mrs. B's at Mesa and Spicewood - again bland, overpriced and have been rude on many occasions

                              Pars Deli - I guess I don't like middle eastern food, funky spices leaves me tasting in a bad way all day - I veto this one

                              Tam Deli - Love Tam when it's just me, too small for our group

                              Madras Pavillion - Yeah, nice buffet, but I think the place over in the HEB at Spicewood (Bombay Bistro?) is better, but everyone always poo-poos Indian (I personally LOVE Indian)

                              Dog Almighty - Never been, we always end up at the Tavern, gang can't understand a hot dog place (maybe cuz they have kids?)

                              Elsi's - Just discovered Elsi's last week, good food (not great, but good). We'll probably go there as a group at some point.

                              Tacodeli - Great for a grab and go, but not a group out place

                              Little Deli - Why does this place sound familiar?

                              Musashino - We usually go upstairs to Chinatown, half of us get the sushi and half get the lunch specials...hubbers and I share the Schech Duck

                              Grape Vine Market - GREAT sandwiches and pizzas! Go there when it's just hubbers and me. Too fru-fru for the gang

                              Maru - next on my list to try. We have trouble talking them into sushi (usually give in and go to Korea House, so some can have the lunch specials)

                              Blue Star - I was SO disappointed in this place, overpriced, bland, too full of itself

                              Sao Paolos - Ditto on this, bland, overpriced, too full of itself and tiny portions. Would rather go to San Paulos (sp?) on Speedway

                              Billy's on Burnett - Billy's is great for happy hour and I love the Shaggy's wings.

                              Twin Lion - Friend has been to the buffet, keep meaning to go but by the time we can get the gang up here, we end up at Din Ho (everyone loves Din Ho)

                              Wally's - No one in our group likes Wallys

                              Sasha's - a bit to "ethnic" for our group. I've had mixed reviews there. Lamb kabab was wonderful, gyro was dismal

                              NXNW - I don't know why they balk at nxnw. I love the steak sandwich and steak salad. I guess they feel this place is either too fru-fru/expensive...or the beer is too much of a temptation

                              Mann's - Tried twice, this place is just nasty. I think people like it for the atmosphere (or lack thereof). BBQ is expensive and greasy. Sides are cafeteria food.

                              Bombay Bistro - One of the best Indian in this general area (the bestest I think is on I35/183 Intersection - Taj Palace?)

                              Indian Palace - Because it's right around the corner, we've given this place several tries (buffet, not menu) and everyone has given it a thumbs down.

                              Tino's Greek - Great alternative for me (I'm the only one who likes Greek) when I dying for a gyro and can't make it to Milto's

                              Triumph Cafe on Spicewood - Love the back porch, but really can't get into the food. I just don't find the attraction to pho.

                              Peony at Balcones - Again, really horrible Americanized Chinese

                              Russell's Cafe & Bakery - Tried it three times, twice got my order completely wrong, twice had STALE bread! C'mon you're a bakery.

                              Burger House - have yet to take the gang there, cuz hubbers and I end up there a lot on the weekends. Only game in town for a basic burger AND you can byob and people watch outside.

                              Chez Zee - WAY overpriced food, mixed quality. Plus you have not a chance in hell of getting out of that place in a hour, hour 1/2.

                              Tino's - already above

                              Sunflower - I go a lot by myself, like the shrimp salad, imperial rolls, lunch chicken. Way too small for our gang and again, too close to Din Ho, so you know who'll win.

                              Din Ho - makes everyone happy. Order family style and everyone gets to have what they want. Plus it's outragously inexpensive.

                              Mann's BBQ - stated above

                              Top Notch - Is it because it's a warm fuzzy for me that I love this place? Reminds me of Charcoaler in El Paso. Everyone else in the group thinks it's just okay and way too crowded.

                              Dog Almighty - stated above

                              Elsie's - stated above

                              Samovar - Went several times and kept thinking, "This is it? Kind of a rip off" Wasn't bad, necessarily, just lackluster and skimpy. Have never gone back

                              Sherlocks - Man, this is some really bad pub-grub. Love the space, though. Just wish they cooked something worth having.

                              Olive Garden - Besides it being a chain (which I avoid at all costs) it's just to gramma-latious for us.

                              Middle Eastern place at Chili's mall - I think you're talking about the gyro place next to Fast Signs. Eh, edible, but not a destination. Would drive to Tinos

                              Houston's - I love this place, but it is quite expensive and always seems to have a half-hour wait on Fridays. Might try to suggest this one again, since it's so close to both workplaces

                              Suzi's - Again, just my opinion, but there seem to be a lot of Americanized Chinese places in this area. If we're craving Chinese we head to Din Ho.

                              Enchiladas y Mas - Okay, fajitas are livable, but appeals to the lowest common denominator...kinda dirty too.

                              Adding a few more on my own:

                              Austin Diner - although this place has been highly entertaining (where to they get these people?!) the food is forgettable and service is super-slow.

                              Taquerra Arrandas - I adore this place, but everyone else seems to hate it.

                              Upper Crust - I crave the tuna on sourdough and the turkey/provo croissant, as well as the cheese soup - k, I pretty much love everything here, but it's really teetering on too long of a drive and I suspect a bit too fru-fru for the guys.

                              The Hawk - scary diner caught in the 70's...food, decor and clientelle

                              Curra's - Luch special is okay, but nothing really special.

                              1. re: amysuehere

                                kind of makes you sad, doesn't it :) i refuse to give up so easily. We should be able to find a few tolerable things...some more off the top of my head the first few in the pricier range and not all that great but they may fit your groups needs.

                                Reeds Supper Club
                                Las Colinas (in the plaza by Mirabelle, never been there)
                                P.F. Changs
                                Manuels (both on Jollyville)
                                Alborz on Anderson
                                Boulevard Bar and Grill on Far West
                                Bert's Barbeque on Far West
                                Satay on Anderson
                                El Arroyo (i know, don't start)
                                Korea House (Anderson Lane)
                                Berryhill Baja Grill (360)
                                Salt Lick 360
                                Thistle Cafe
                                Dragon Gate
                                Ski Shores (great place on a sunny day no matter the food)

                                1. re: mkrell

                                  I really liked Las Colinas, but they closed a few months ago. My in-laws live in NW Hills and the loss of their neighborhood Tex-Mex joint has left a gaping void in their Friday night. They are still on the lookout for a decent alternative (and that El Arroyo won't cut it).

                                  1. re: Hsien_Ko

                                    yeah, we would end up at Las Colinas from time to time. We all found one dish we liked.

                                2. re: amysuehere

                                  Sounds like Little Deli might not have adequate seating for your group.

                                  1. re: amysuehere

                                    You've got the wrong items for Sasha's, it's all russian food--borscht, herring and the like--I think you might have been going after Pars. Though if your group is too big for Tam's then there's no way you are getting in at Sasha's as it has seating for 12-15.

                                    Sarah's on Burnet has great Middle Eastern food and has much praise on this board.

                                    I enjoy Koreana a lot. The sushi is good and the lunch specials are tasty but it is a "nice" place and the food is not particularly authentic. If you want authentic Korean Shilla at 2222/35 has the best options and if you zip across on 183 isn't that far from.

                                    Given the distance of some of the restaurants mentioned, Asia Cafe isn't really that far from you and next to Tam's is my favorite lunch in town.

                                    1. re: Carter B.

                                      Ah yes. I was meanin Sarah's, not Sasha's. I'll probably have to go try Sasha's for "guy factor" - we're getting some of them to move out of the meat and taters, but I've had to make it a slow progression.

                                      I have never liked Koreana in comparison to the other more authentic (and reasonably priced) places within driving distance.

                                      Is Asia better than Din Ho?

                                    2. re: amysuehere

                                      Ventana (Texas Culinary Academy, N. Burnet) has a lunch menu, which doesn't appear to be too, too expensive (but if Grapevine Market is too frou-frou, this might be wayyyy over that line)
                                      Andiamo? (N. Burnet) Too frou-frou?
                                      Mangia Pizza (I'm reaching now)
                                      Reale's on 183

                                      Really, methinks your company should do a layoff to thin out this overly-large and picky lunch crowd. ;)

                                      1. re: Hsien_Ko

                                        Ventana is an interesting place but they always seem to have the same menu (I've been there 3 times in 5 years and it was the same) and it takes forever, block off 1.5 hours.

                                        1. re: Carter B.

                                          And it's owned by the same people who own Mesa Cafe, which is AWFUL! That place is right across the street and we've made the mistake of hoping they'd improved (they have a cute little patio) and regretted it every time.

                                          1. re: amysuehere

                                            i think you're referring to veranda amysuehere. ventana is the culinary academy's 'upscale' restaurant. veranda is the restaurant off of anderson. i'd take ventana any day over veranda.

                                            1. re: ktown378

                                              You're correct. I was referring to Veranda on Anderson, NOT Ventana, which, if you have the time at lunch is a great bang-for-the-buck experience.

                                              1. re: amysuehere

                                                I went today to the Veranda as my lunch companion works for a bank at Northcross. I had crawfish enchiladas that I really liked. The tails were largish and the sauce that was served atop was like a seafood newburg (a brandy / sherry butter and cream sauce). The other dish was a daily special, rosemary chicken. The dark chicken fell of the bone and the rosemary and mushroom sauce served with it was very flavorful. However, all side items were extremely bland and the service was horrendous. We dealt with two different waiters. The older gentleman was inappropriated pretentious and snooty for a joint in a former Hooter's location that is destined to be anchored by a Walmart. The younger server was Mr. Pretentious in training - pretentious while timid and unknowlegeable and obviously uncomfortable dealing with customers... quite strange.

                                      2. re: amysuehere

                                        I'm sorry AmySue, but tastes differ.
                                        Could you please provide a little detail to give us a starting point?

                                        (I Keeed! I Keeed!)

                                        What's up with Hoover's? I haven't tried their 183 location - any good?
                                        Is Texas Rib Kings worth a try?
                                        Didn't some Thai place take over the old Bangkok Cuisine space?
                                        Isn't there all sorts of Mexican and Viet craziness in the gaps between the yellow crime scene tape near Rundburg and Lamar? I know Shalimar, my spicy North Indian favorite is worth a visit.
                                        How about Wok on Fire in the Chinatown Center? I haven't been, but it looks at least as good as Suzi's when I'm walking by - big portions, not too adventurous for the office.
                                        First Chinese Bar-B-Q would satisify everyone who loves Din Ho, and still feel new and different.
                                        And T & S does Dim Sum at lunch these days!
                                        You're "land of the bland" can be a wonderland.
                                        I know this post is all questions, but it's meant to inspire.

                                        Please, explore and report back!