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San Diego hound looking for Austin-only eats

I'm going to be in Austin for several days next week, and I'm looking for recs. I'm not looking for places that do food I could get elsewhere, but rather food that is representative of the area. I trend more toward local joints with character than fine dining.

From browsing the boards, it seems like Tex Mex and BBQ are two local food categories. Others?

I'll be staying at the Austin Motel on South Congress, so close to there is a plus (but I have a car and am willing to drive).


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  1. Two restaurants that I like and find rather unique are Uchi and Roaring Fork (although they have another location in Arizona). If you look them up in the search you will find opinions that others hold.

    BTW, I spend most of my time in Northwest Austin so I will have to leave the other gems in your preferred locations up to the experts on that area.

    1. Where's the best fish taco in SD ? ;) I keed, I keed.

      Someone had a good template response to this oft-asked question .... I can't find it.

      I'll do a little work as long as you promise the same:


      The MPH series (can't seem to locate Part 1) -

      Part 2:

      Part 3:

      Part 4:

      Part 5:

      Part 6:

      Part 7:

      Part 8:

      Part 9:

      Part 10:

      Part 11:

      Part 12:

      Part 13:

      Part 14:

      'Top 3 Taco Trucks':

      The taco stuff will be a different breed than what you have in San Diego.

      Then there's "gringo-mex", and unfortunately I cannot help out there since that's not really my bag.

      Get you some soul food:

      I don't recall SD having good Sichuan food, and while it's not exactly "Austin-y", Sichuan food this good is not easy to find around the country.

      Asia Cafe:



      And, you probably already know where to go for barbecue -- ie, Lockhart & Luling & Llano (Cooper's).

      Have a good time MIP !

      1 Reply
      1. re: Nab

        That's because part 1 was in response to another topic. There's a link to it at the bottom of part 2, also here:



      2. Thanks for the responses!

        I found this thread with the template response from Honey Bee - not sure how I missed in my board run-through:


        The MPH series looks awesome, if a bit daunting...

        Oh, and I got in a fish taco argument just the other day on the California board :-)

        1. When I want places that are Austin unique I take folks to Hyde Park Cafe or Mothers for lunch, and to Eastside Cafe or Chez Zee for dinners. Not gourmet food, but representative of the old Austin before we got all upscale and fancy. Lots of charm and character.

          1. Go to Polvo's on South First between Barton Springs and Oltorf. Have the Guajillo fajitas, beef and carbon. Try all the salsas inside.

            1 Reply
            1. re: amysuehere

              We got in today mid-afternoon, Polvo's was within walking distance, and I love to try different regional American incarnations of Mexican food.

              We shared the guajillo fajitas as recommended (I'd seen them referred to elsewhere as well). The chile flavor was great, and the nuts added a really interesting twist - it had my brain thinking Sichaun (ie: kung pao). Good stuff.

              Tomorrow I think we're going to do a Lockhart trip...

            2. Hill's Cafe is on South Congress, and the food is delicious. They're in an old building that used to be the courthouse (I think), and have been around 56 years according to their website. I've had the chicken fried steak (with yellow gravy), BBQ Turkey Platter, Truck Stop Enchiladas, The Hawaiian Smokehouse Burger, and the Fat Bob (which is currently my fave menu item). Hubby has had several other things, and has settled on the Monster Chopped Beef Sandwich as his favorite. The burgers and sandwiches are on "kolache-style" buns, which is something you'd only find here in Texas. They're a little bit sweet. Sides are tasty, except for the steak fries. I get Sweet Potato Fries, Corn Nuggets or Fried Mac n Cheese. Yes, *Fried* Mac n Cheese... YUM!!! It's all good... home-cookin' Texas style.

              1. Given that the guajillo fajitas are controversial on this board (as is Polvo's), I thought I'd add that I've now got some pictures of them up here:


                Barbecue in Lockhart was fantastic - definitely the best food on the visit. I'm already thinking about going back...

                1. Are you still in Austin? If so don't miss lunch at Enoteca just a few short blks from your hotel

                  1. Hey San Diego.. back at ya
                    I am visiting your fair city in june & am hoping to eat some of your local foods such as seafood on the waterfront or some great cal mex...