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What's good at Central Market?

I visit Austin often and just 'discovered' Central Market at Westgate. I often stop by to pick up dinner.

What is good at the Cafe and what is good for takeout? I see lots of bread and yummy desserts.

Are the soups any good? Thanks.

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  1. I go to the Central location but probably about the same. The salmon salad and entree are pretty good at the cafe (a little pricey but usually feels worth it). The sweets are not right for me there. The burgers are also pretty good. I don't like the "take out" food at all and I've tried many different things, hoping to get it "right". Usually way too much salt and/or fat.

    1. One of my housemates regularly goes there for the salad. The other one sometimes gets the whole roasted chicken. Personally, I think the prices rather outrageous for pretty ordinary food that I can cook up pretty fast for a lot less money (even paying the exorbitant CM prices). The soups are decent, from what I hear, though nothing special. One thing I will say good about Central Market takeout is I've never heard of anyone getting food poisoning from any location.

      Though its not in their takeout section (usually) the one thing I get sometimes is a squid salad thing at the fish counter--usually ammended with delicious seaweed and sesame oil. That is always excellent.

      1. They have several great soups that I do for take home sometimes.

        1. An out of town visitor, I have been taken to the central location on several visits and have been very entertained and impressed. Their bakery is indeed very good -- one of the best store-made baguettes I've tasted. They source their produce well, and items that are in season are usually ripe and attractive. I have been particularly pleased by their cheese department -- many choices in every category, and almost always an attentive and informed specialist around to give suggestions, provide tastes, and often cut to order. With that in mind, I'd minimize the expensive prepared take-out fare and have a dinner with crusty bread, cheeses, some accompanying grapes, apples, pears, figs or berries, and maybe some charcuterie.

          5 Replies
          1. re: nosh

            I always pick up a tub of the Pure Luck chipotle chevre. Grab a baquette & some olives!

            1. re: chascates

              That, with a selection of their charcuterie as mentioned above, makes a lovely meal. Again, my experience is mostly at the north location, but the people who work the cured meat case there are always ready with suggestions and samples. I have had some delightful meats that I might never have tried were it not for their suggestions. And don't forget to get nuts, too! Love the bulk section, try the spicy roasted cashews.

              Also, a good hummus from the cold case, along with the aforementioned olives, nuts, cured meat of some sort and pita or potato chips... bliss.

              1. re: Ashforth

                Can you describe the charcuterie at CM? Both locations are too much of a drive for one item ... unless it is special... then I am there!

                1. re: Rene

                  Oh dear, you have asked the wrong person. I know very little about the art of charcuterie, I only know that I like what I have gotten there. I know there is one with a name similar to caprese that is divine, and to tell you the truth, I do a lot of pointing and tasting there. They seem to have a pretty extensive selection and are very willing to discuss what you are looking for taste-wise and what you will be using it for. My best advice would be to make the trip, buy a few selections with lovely accompaniments, and take your chances.

                2. re: Ashforth

                  Their Spicy Cashews come from Austin Nuts and they taste different every time I buy them. They're still good - I buy them often - just not very consistent.

            2. I go to Westgate and I agree that I don't like their ready to take food all that much. The one thing I like is sometimes they have peppers stuffed with chicken and cheese and such and it's good. There is also a salad that has chicken and strawberries that is good, but it's like $9. I think that's a bit high. In the cafe the chicken salad sandwich is good and the breakfast tacos are good. I haven't found much else there that I like.

              1 Reply
              1. re: GenieinTX

                I am going to add more to my original thought. The breakfast tacos are really good. I went this weekend again. I love their potatoes. One is usually plenty for me with bacon egg and potato. If I'm really hungry I'll get the platter that comes with two and adds cheese. They are always overstuffed and tasty.