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Jan 31, 2009 01:03 PM

Favorites near S. Congress and Oltorf?


We will be coming to Austin for the first time and spending a week, from Feb. 8th to the 15th. We are staying in a VRBO in Travis Heights that is a couple blocks north of Oltorf and east of S. Congress. We'll have a rental car and also plan to take the Dillo into town, so I've already done some note-taking from previous threads about places to go in town and short drives out....but right now I'm looking for recs for places that will be walking distance for us from our place. We like all kinds of food, and any/all ideas for either breakfast, lunch or dinner that we'll be able to walk to from our home for the week, will be appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

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  1. Hi Laura, You're in for a treat, On Oltorf between S.1st and S. Congress, closer to S. 1st, is the Habanero Cafe. Make sure you go there for breakfast and try the "machacado". I'll bet you make a return visit before you leave Austin !

    1 Reply
    1. re: Philly369

      Wonderful! After reading your post I did a search here on CH on Habanero Cafe, and so read about other people's favorite dishes there too. Can't wait to go!

      Any other suggestions, anyone?

    2. Here's a fairly recent link with a few recommendations:

      Use the "Search" box at the top right of the screen to look up more specific info on dishes to try or to try to avoid, or Google the restaurant menus to see what excites you. Also, to clarify -- Enoteca and Vespaio are sister (or brother?) restaurants and Enoteca is open only for lunch and Vespaio only for dinner.

      One more spot to try if you're in the mood for a simple dinner or just a snack while strolling Congress is Homeslice, a pizza joint that I personally prefer over the nearby SouthSide Flying Pizza. Again, more specific opinions can be found on this board through the "Search" function.

      Lastly, I strongly caution against Magnolia Cafe unless you are going for breakfast, for which I can still only recommend their pancakes and yogurt/granola/fruit option. Avoid their mexican food at all costs and don't even think about going on a weekend morning unless you like to wait 45 - 5000+ minutes to be fed.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Lara_Noel

        Enoteca is open for lunch Monday through Saturday, just to clarify. They have a nice brunch Sundays, too.

        I've never made it over the Vespaio side, but I've been to Enoteca many times and enjoy it a lot.

        I also like Homeslice a lot. They make a mean eggplant parm sandwich (why are they so hard to find in Austin??).

        You might like Curra's, too, and that's very close by.

        1. re: Lara_Noel

          I agree!! Home Slice Pizza is great! And for a sweet treat, a stop at the silver trailer on Congress with the giant cupcake is a must. The red velvet cupcake with an extra shot of cream is to die for!

        2. Torchy's Taco's - a trailer on S. 1st. Excellent lunch spot when the weather is good. Don't miss the Green Chile Queso.....

          1 Reply
          1. re: LakeLBJ

            Torchy's trailer is at 1311 S. 1st but their sit down place is 2809 S. 1st, about 3 blocks south of Oltorf.

          2. Thanks so much for all these ideas, we are looking forward to trying many out (we better do a lot of walking). Counting down, 6 days til we go (can you tell I need a vacation?)!

            1 Reply
            1. re: lauracohenromano

              Dittos to Habanero- excellent family owned spot.

              Personally, I enjoy Sugar Mama's bakery on S. 1st & Mary more than Hey, Cupcake on S. Congress. Might be worth a try.

              The food isn't my favorite, but I do like the lime margaritas at Guero's on S. Congress & generally enjoy the atmosphere- especially the "Beer Garden" under the live oak trees. Also, cocktails in the courtyard of the Hotel San Jose on S. Congress when the weather is good is always nice.

              Have a great visit!