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Object: Fantastic dinner for 2 under $30.00

Here's the question for friday night, where to for a fantastic meal under $30.00 for two? No wine necessary, just fresh, delicious, preferrably nutricious food at a very reasonable price. I'm open to anything and the atmosphere can either be part of the allure or not, your choice? Let me know. Ed

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  1. I would suggest going to the Whole Foods Market on N. Lamar. If you've never been there, then you probably don't know why I'm telling you to go to a grocery store for dinner, but they have tons of different prepared food stations including Italian, sushi, barbeque, Indian, soup/salad bars, Mexican, etc. It's already cooked for you, hot and ready to eat! It would definitely be under $30 unless you somehow went absolutely crazy with it, and everything at Whole Foods is as nutricious and organic as you can get. You and your date can get whatever you want in the store, and then go around the side of the building up the stairs to the dining area on the roof of the store where you can look out over all of Austin... it's really beautiful.

    1. Friday night has come and gone...but for the future, I'd recommend the European Bistro in P-ville. Entrees are in the $15 range, so you'll probably spend more than $30, but it's possible to spend that little before tax and tip. Be warned that if you get refills on bread, you will be charged. The food is very fresh--it tastes more like food made at a good cook's house than restaurant food. Their specials are usually a roasted meat and are either the best thing being served that night or a little dry--but worth the risk.

      1. Tam Deli for sandwiches. Or Madras Pavillion for anything. Either way you can keep well south of $30. Another possibiility is China Palace (order off the "traditional" menu),

        1. It comes up on this board often, but Madam Mam's is an excellent value, fresh, delicious, and nutritious. My husband and I go there once every week or two and almost never spend more than $30.

          We do however, manage to spend more than $30 at Whole Foods every time we eat dinner there! You have to watch out for some of the heavier things on the food bars like rice and potatoes -- they are not worth the $7/lb!

          1 Reply
          1. re: o2cgirl

            The SO and I have had some great rolls at Maru for right around 30 dollars (not including the bottle of wine we bought ahead b/c they are BYOB/W). Uchi it is certainly not, but it is pretty tasty stuff for an unheard of 30 bucks for two.

          2. I'd go to Le Soleil. Get the seafood banh xeo, the halibut with tamarind sauce, and a soup or a noodle dish. Right at thirty bucks, and muy delicioso. Plenty of food for two good eaters.


            2 Replies
            1. re: Jim Washburn

              my wife and I Love Le Soleil. It was sold recently, and I miss the old waitstaff but the food is still great.

              1. re: Dave Westerberg

                A "fantastic" meal for me also means atmosphere. I'd rather not spend Friday night eating at a grocery store, regardless of whether it's HEB or a jam-packed, stroller-choked W.F. I second Madam Ma'am's. Ate there last night: pad se ew with shrimp. Works every time. dinner for two + hot tea: $18.00 and no tantrums, long lines, or strollers!

            2. Blue Star Cafeteria. I've seen a lot of people knockin' this place here, but it sounds like it's exactly what you're looking for. The only complaints I have of this place are about their desserts (not so good) and cocktails (weak and tiny!). Salads are fantastic; burgers and coconut chicken tenderloins are ridiculously cheap during happy hour.

              Totally agree with Madam Mam's -- just not the one near UT. West Gate location is where it's at.

              Ka Prow up north has my favorite curry.

              Peony is my favorite Chinese place in town. Try the three cup chicken and/or orange chicken!

              1. I find the happy hours at Manuel's Great Hills and Eddie V's at the Arbor are just that. Hubbers and I usually spit the arugula wild mushroom salad and he gets the tempura shrimp or the seared tuna with a beer and I get the broiled oysters with a rasberry rita and our bill comes to just under $30. On a nice nigth we sit on Manuels patio and share the hongos, chiviche and mole with a couple of ritas and it comes to right at $30. Perfect and very pleasant.

                1. El Borrego de Oro on S. Congress (near Ben White). I haven't had a bad meal here. Best kept secret in town.

                  1. Alborz, Persian place on Anderson just of Mo-Pac would fit.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: chrhenry

                      what do you get there? i've lived in the nabe for years and haven't tried it yet, probably because it's in a very un-restaurant-y area.

                      1. re: dinaofdoom

                        Oh, it's SO good. They have a dinner buffet and that's always so great that I almost never order off the menu. I load up my plate like at an Indian place, with some rice-based stuff on bottom, stew stuff on top, fit some salad on the side. I like the rice with the cherries mixed in, weird but good. And with lentils is nice as well. They have eggplant stew that's great. A lot of beef dishes, but I don't eat beef, usually throw either some chicken soup as side or chicken kebab on top. The bread is great, a little like naan, but doughier, and the carrot cake I think has some rose in it and is AMAZING. Go back for another plate for dessert and get the carrot cake with a little of the stuff that looks like applesauce mixed with cheese grits--I have no idea what it's called, some sort of rose saffron rice pudding (?), but it's fantastic. Live belly dancing some nights, though never seems to be when I'm there.

                        1. re: chrhenry

                          belly dancing is on Friday nights

                        1. One of my new favorite places in the whole area is Taste of Ethiopia on Grand Ave. Parkway off of 35 N in Pflugerville. The lamb tibs, and all the veggie dishes, and the chicken doro wot are just outstanding, fresh, ungreasy, awesomeness. You could probably swing that for 30 bucks or less. You can just taste your health quotient rising while eating there.