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Sep 25, 2007 09:12 AM

Help me out Austin Hounds

Help!! Am coming from Costa Rica to attend youngest sister's wedding down in Foxfire, but will be meeting up with my other sis, bro in law and 86 year old (but spry) father at the La Quninta in S. Austin for the night previous and need recommendations for A) good sit-down Mexican WITH A BAR, or B) any other thoughts for places nearby...I know Austin fairly well (I've seen several Redd Volkaert Saturday shows at the Continental Club and Toni Price more times than I can remember), so I know my way around town fairly well...what do Austin hounds dig in this part of town...we'll also be back for two nights following the festivities, so multiple suggestions are more than welcome...thanks y'all...

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  1. Polvo's on S. 1st has a pretty good menu and offers a full bar (though I've never partaken). Many swear by their fajitas, while many others are not as impressed (I like the al Guajillo version).

    Habenero Mexican Cafe on Oltorf just west of S. 1st is great food, but I am unsure of their bar situation (maybe other hounds can comment). They are only open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays due to construction out front. Fajitas here are better than Polvo's (for me), and the rest of their menu is solid.

    Serrano's on Hwy 71 & MoPac is pretty solid tex-mex with a bar and happy hour specials. You'll find better food at the above two locations, but Serrano's might be more "accessible" for your group.

    Other 'hounds might know more about the "bar" requirement, as most of my south Austin dining takes place in the lunch hour!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bababooey

      Is Azul Tequila still open? Any recent reports?

    2. OMG. Can I come back with you in your suitcase? I DREAM of the day I can move to CR for good. I have a case of Lazano Sauce in my pantry.

      As to where to eat, I've heard that Polvo's at night can be hit and miss at best. However, the margaritas are the best of the lot and the patio sure is nice this time of year.

      What about Curra's on Oltorf? Good ritas, most of the meals are pretty good. Patio if you're not too many.

      As to what I dig in that part of town. Right now Freddie's Place on First (just south of Polvo's) is my favorite. I know they serve beer at good prices and the chicken-fried chicken is the best I've had in town.

      I like Alligator Grill on South Lamar for the happy hour wings/oysters/shrimp, but you get WAY better seafood where you're from. However the big oak tree patio is very nice and you know you'll get some hum-dinger drinks.

      Habenero had good meat entrees, but I was really disappointed in the state of the tortillas, rice and salsa. I did see margaritas being served but didn't imbibe, so I can't attest to the quality.

      12 Replies
      1. re: amysuehere

        Amysue...love Curra's...great moles...I make my sister stop there each time she picks me up at the airport...thanks so much for the recs and if you can fit in my suitcase you can come back with me to visit the monkeys and the toucans...

        1. re: amysuehere

          Amysue, I have to ask, do you have a local source here in Austin (or close) for the Salsa Lizano? I'd love to get some.

          1. re: cstrombe

            I recently bought three BIG bottles from an online store through Amazon. Highway robbery, but nothing on earth tastes quite like that sweet, sweet nectar!

            Would love to find a local souce too (in about a year)!

            1. re: cstrombe

              Randall's sells Salsa Lizano. They started carrying it about two weeks after I bought a case from the Amazon store. Now if someone would start importing, Imperial o Pilsen, then I would be excited.

              1. re: El General

                Wow, thanks for that info! I'm off to Randall's at lunch...

              2. re: cstrombe

                I guess I'm your source. I order a case of the 700ml bottles about twice a year (for a couple of friends and myself)to save on shipping, but you can order it directly.

                Oops, just saw the post above. Let me know what they charge. hard to beat $6 for the big bottle...


                1. re: amysuehere

                  what IS lizano salsa? gotta know what all the talk's about!

                  1. re: NirvRush

                    It's a tangy sauce that tastes great on Costa Rican (Tico) fare, such as rice and beans, plantains, fish, and vegetables. It's not really spicy. I have never found a similar condiment at Central Market or Whole Foods. This is big news!

                  2. re: amysuehere

                    Hmm, went by the Randall's on 183 and Braker, and no luck. I couldn't find any on the shelves, and asked Customer Service if they stocked it. They had no idea and had me fill out a card. They are supposed to call me back after they look into it, but I have not heard back yet.

                    El General, have you actually seen it at Randall's? If so, which and where??

                    1. re: cstrombe

                      I saw it at the Randall's on 290 and Manchaca. It can't have that big a commercial following. The only people who know what it is are people that have been to Costa Rica and dined on the local dishes.

                      When I have to go to El Sol y La Luna, I bring a bottle to douse the Plantain Breakfast with and it brings me back to Club Banana in Quepos, accept the same dish cost 1.00 instead of 6 or 7, tasted better, and came with rice.

                2. re: amysuehere

                  where do you get lazano sauce from?

                  1. re: isaydeath

                    Lazano - You can actually get it on Amazon.com at a reasonable price. There was rumor that it's in some grocery stores here in town, but as yet I have found it to be m.i.a. in town.

                3. There are some good discussions of chow in the area on these threads:







                  Be sure to check out posts by tom in austin. He knows the south-Austin scene quite well.

                  Neither the neighborhood nor the restaurant is touristy, but El Mesón Taquería on Burleson Road has good chow, including a very nice mole en pipian. While they don’t have a full bar (but I think offer wine and beer), you might want to keep this place in mind. Your hotel is actually quite well-situated for exploring many places on the Hispanic east and southeast sides of town. That’s where to find some of the best Tex-Mex and Mexican food in town. If you're interested, just “search this board” [click on the link above] for more ideas.

                  1. Curra's is a great choice. I absolutely love La Reyna on S. 1st just because it is inexpensive and tastes like the Tex Mex my tía's make. Breakfast!! You should definitely seek out breakfast tacos. Hit Juan In A Million on E. Cesar Chavez or Maria's Taco Xpress on S. Lamar.

                    For nearby socializing & bar scene, I'd do Freddie's Place on S. 1st. It's relaxing and very Austin-ish. Also, if you have a chance, stop by the Mean Eyed Cat on W. 5th right off Mopac, not a far drive from S. ATX. It's such a unique little bar, all Johnny Cash tribute but with a wide ranging mix of music on the jukebox...be warned though, it's beer & wine only.

                    1. Austin Hounds..thanks for all the sugestions and recs...with my visit still a couple of weeks out still soliciting ideas for three dinners and two lunches...Is Manuel's on Congress still as good as it was seven or eight years ago and is Guerros still more touristy than good? What's with the decline of Curra's? Used to love it...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jungleboy

                        Manuel's on Congress is still great for happy hour, but I like the one north better cuz of the patio. Guerro's is a waste of time and money.