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downtown -- good (quick) lunch options?

sorry if i'm rehashing a thread from times past, but i did a quick search and didn't find much.

i just started a job downtown (3rd and congress, soon will be 9th and brazos) and i have a pretty hectic schedule. i would love to sneak out of the office once a week or so and grab some chowhound worthy lunch. so far i've been to thai passion and leaf. i need places that won't take forever, but are delicious. any tips? i ride my bike to work, so i can bike somewhere, though i probably want to stay in the immediate downtown vicinity for now.

outdoor areas are great especially while this amazing weather holds up (though i could get take-out and sit by the river, i'm so close!)

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  1. I'm also a downtown lunch frequenter and I've been meaning to post about this for some time now.

    I love a good sandwich when I'm eating quick, but sadly the options around 6th and Congress are pretty bad: Subway, Murphy's, Schlotzky's (now gone), Jimmy John's (the best of the worst).

    Until now.

    Check out Baker Man's Bakery and Patissierie on 8th and Brazos. They recently changed ownership as I understand. They're now my go-to for not just a decent sandwich, but a great sandwich. I've sampled the caprese, chicken salad, ham & smoked gouda and a turkey sandwich and they've all been wonderful. The ingredients are fresh and made in house. They also have homemade soups each day that are to die for. A sandwich + a cup of soup will run you $9.69 after tax.

    Please report back if you end up trying it. I'd love to hear other people's opinions on this place.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jwynne2000

      I've worked in downtown for the last 4 years, and sadly, there aren't just a ton of great and quick options. Athenian Grill was great for a quick greek salad with chicken or gyro, but they are now closed. I somehow always forgot about Baker Man's, so I will make a point to try it this week.

      I'd say the best quick sandwich within biking distance of 6th and Congress is going to be at Whole Foods.

      1. re: LakeLBJ

        Athenian soon to reopen at 6th and Congress

    2. Traviata( my fav), Manitas (fairly good, cheap and Austin personified,eat there before it is another Austin place down the tubes).Iron Works (somewhat decent BBQ), Moonshine (pretty consistently good American food, nice atmoshphere), Thundercloud(for some reason this place beats all the rest), Delaware subs (love their sandwiches, hope it is still there),

      3 Replies
      1. re: singlemalt

        Unfortunately, Delaware is long gone. IMO, Thundercloud is just plain bad. The bread is somehow soft and tough at the same time and the ingredients are lousy and meager. You'll be a very happy 'hound if you bike over to 12th just east of Lamar and have excellent barbecue at House Park Barbecue. I'll also second the motion for La Traviata. Despite your proximity, avoid Kyoto. It's really bad. Really.

        1. re: singlemalt

          is traviata good? it's right next to my office. what do you recommend eating there?

          1. re: reina_de_fideo

            Almost anything I've had at Traviata is good, especially the pasta dishes. My favorite in the Putenesca and second is their Bolognese. I have had some of their sandwiches (pannini?) but don't remember which ones but enjoyed all that I have had. I really like the interior of that place. It is the only place in A. that makes me feel that I am anywhere near close to a European bistro. Also they sell Prosecco in the individual bottles. Too bad about Thundercloud. Years ago when I ate there I thought their sandwiches were pretty good.

        2. What about Hog Island Deli? I've only been a couple of times since I don't spend so much time downtown during the day, but I really like their cheesesteak!

          http://www.hogislanddeli.com/menu.html

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rene

            I'm also a huge fan of Hog Island on 16th and Lavaca.
            Another place I like is Little City. My favorite there is the poet's plate--cheese, bread, spreads, fruit, and raw vegetables. And I enjoy drinking coffee out of a mug rather than a paper cup.

          2. I second the Hog Island Deli comment-- their subs are to-die-for. I have to say I prefer Texadelphia's philly cheesesteak, but that's because I'm addicted to their mustard sauce. I like Hog Island's too, and the chicken cheesesteak gets rave reviews.

            Also you should consider Texas Chili Parlor-- I don't care for the chili, but the burgers are decent. They're at Lavaca just south of the intersection with 15th.

            Finally, Arturo's (between Lavaca and Guad, on about 17th? same side street as Dog & Duck) has good wraps, burritos, and salads. I especially like the garden salad, with ginger sesame dressing. They include whole wheat garlic toast with all the salads and it's quite yummy and cheap.

            1. An article in today's Austin Business Journal mentions a new delivery service for downtown lunches.

              http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/sto...

              1. Today I tried Bellisimo (where Noodle-ism used to be). I was pleasantly surprised. I had the gnocchi. It was in a fontina cream sauce. It hit the spot on this slightly cool day. Their prices seemed reasonable for downtown lunch ($7-14/entree). Their serving sizes are reasonable. All in all, tasty vittles.

                Also, I second the Kyoto comment. They are craptacular. Nothing worse than sushi that does not taste fresh.

                As for downtown sushi for lunch, I like Silhouette. It's not cheap, but it's sushi.

                1 Reply
                1. re: craveytrain

                  thanks for your answers, all. though it's not super close to my office, i ventured over to counter cafe on lamar (where the old g&m steakhouse used to be) this weekend for lunch and fell in love. with a burger. I'm not a huge meat-eater(especially red), but this burger may make me a frequent carnivore. the fries were really tasty too. my only complaint -- i ordered a caesar salad, the obvious reason for doing so being the croutons, and it came without. when i mentioned this to the waitress, she said that there were none (very unapologetically!)

                  so far i've tried: jo's (loved the soup -- it's apparently all made from scratch, and i know because a friend of mine works as a cook there)
                  kyoto (which i actually kinda liked, despite horrid reviews -- the eel seemed tasty to me -- perhaps i'm not a discriminating enough sushi eater to know it wasn't fresh?)
                  las manitas -- not crazy about the food but LOVE the atmosphere
                  thai passion -- had already liked this place -- don't love the service and i've had better food elsewhere, but like it enough to go & satisfy my frequent thai food cravings.