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Good Outdoor, Al Fresco, and/or Patio Dining Experiences?

Aloo0628 Feb 14, 2009 09:29 PM

The weather in Austin is so lovely for most of the year, I thought it would be useful for the CH community to compile a list of places(restaurants, bars, coffee shops) with outdoor seating. The food should, of course, be good (if not great!), but the focus here is really on the outdoor experience. If you are so inclined, details about the outdoor setting (casual, classy? plastic chairs? covered? live music? heat lamps?) and why you particularly like the place, as well as tips on the food, would be greatly appreciated!

I'll start:

-Vivo: Beautiful patio with lush landscaping and waterfall. Known for their puffy tacos; my meal was forgettable, however - so not bad, not great.

-El Chile: Casual covered outdoor patio; plastic chairs, each draped with a Mexican blanket (which I appreciated when the night got breezy). Solid Tex-Mex fare.

-Shady Grove: Large and largely uncovered patio area with lovely oak trees; nice and shady ;-) If I remember right, they have live music outside at times as well. Decent burgers and American food with a southwest twist.

-Maudie's Milagro in Westlake: Lovely second-floor covered wooden deck seating with wood-burning fireplace (I doubt they light it in the summer months.) Decent Tex-Mex.

-Bess Bistro: Haven't actually eaten on the patio, but met a friend at the bar and saw the patio on the way in. Wooden deck, heat lamps, strings of tiny white lights - the effect was very pleasant. Hope to go back soon and experience it fully.

I know there are tons more out there, so please, fellow 'hounds - fill in the blanks! :-)

  1. a
    Aloo0628 Nov 2, 2009 11:51 AM

    Goodness! I shouldn't be surprised that Austin has so many outdoor gems, but this really is quite a response. Thank you everyone! And I hope this thread will stay alive as the restaurant scene in Austin keeps growing and changing! :-)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Aloo0628
      rudeboy Nov 2, 2009 12:53 PM

      Thanks for starting this - I'll definitely use it. It is funny that the list was started in Feb and no one posted about it since April. A little too caliente for al Fresco was this summer!

      1. re: rudeboy
        jjs21582 Nov 6, 2009 09:11 AM

        Paggi House is supposed to have a really nice patio, too.

        Paggi House
        200 Lee Barton Drive, Austin, TX 78704

    2. y
      yorkshirepud Apr 1, 2009 04:55 PM

      Lunch out back on the patio at Triumph Cafe (on Spicewood Springs Road between Mesa and Mopac) is always an absolute delight on a lovely Austin Spring day...

      1. r
        reina_de_fideo Mar 3, 2009 07:47 AM

        i'm shocked nobody's mentioned blue dahlia, on e. 11th. it's definitely one of the most pleasant outdoor eating experiences in austin.
        another is fino. delicious, upscale food, nice outdoor area.
        and casa de luz, if you're down with hippie cuisine.

        1. y
          yankeegirl Feb 28, 2009 07:50 PM

          Add Matt's El Rancho. I've only eaten there once though. Chuy's on Research has nice outdoor seating as well.

          1. n
            nyc_girl13 Feb 28, 2009 01:44 PM

            I'll add:
            Buenos Aires Cafe
            Cafe Medici
            Central Market (the Central location)
            Dog Almighty
            El Arroyo
            Fliphappy Crepes
            Food Heads
            The Grove
            Mighty Fine
            P. Terry's
            Phil's Icehouse
            Salvation Pizza
            Torchy's Tacos

            1 Reply
            1. re: nyc_girl13
              AustinRocks Mar 30, 2009 10:35 AM

              I would add Z Tejas both the central location and the one in the Arboretum area (great views)

            2. p
              peddani Feb 27, 2009 12:58 PM

              I'd add
              Manuel's (Jollyville)
              San Francisco Bakery
              to the list!

              2 Replies
              1. re: peddani
                dinaofdoom Feb 28, 2009 01:54 PM

                manuel's jollyville is a really great al fresco spot, but for the past year the food has really gone downhill.

                1. re: peddani
                  marfaboy Mar 3, 2009 02:02 PM

                  Also North, in The Domain, Peddani - when they roll up the windows in nice weather, it's a great open air dining experience. Cru, just across from North, also has outside tables....

                2. amykragan Feb 18, 2009 11:43 AM

                  Iron Cactus in the Galleria Mall
                  McCormick & Schmicks in the Domain
                  Waterloo Ice House
                  Little Woodrow's

                  1. p
                    Paul Silver Feb 18, 2009 09:50 AM

                    I keep a list handy for those beautiful temperate days:

                    1886 Café
                    Dog and Duck
                    Hickory Street
                    Hula Hut
                    Mansion on Judges Hill
                    Mother Egans
                    Shoal Creek Saloon
                    Sweetish Hill
                    Thai Tara
                    Trattoria Lisina
                    Whole Foods

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Paul Silver
                      brattpowered Feb 18, 2009 10:07 AM

                      Nice list! Some places not mentioned....

                      El Taquito
                      El Mercado
                      Juan in a Million
                      Baby A's in North Austin
                      East Side Pies
                      Green Mesquite

                      1. re: Paul Silver
                        ridgeback Mar 1, 2009 01:03 PM

                        Santa Rita Mexican Restaurant on 35th has very nice front and back patios. They're opening a new location near 360 down south fairly soon and I understand it will also have a nice patio.

                        1. re: Paul Silver
                          Scargod Apr 1, 2009 02:55 PM

                          Though a little far, I would add the Iguana Grill, 2900 Ranch Road 620 N, Austin, TX‎ - (512) 266-8439‎. What a view! Very relaxing place to be.

                          1. re: Paul Silver
                            malarkey May 2, 2010 12:08 AM

                            I'm reviving this thread as it is just what I've been looking for. Thanks for the list!

                            Shoreline Grill has a deck that's supposed to be pretty good. Their site says you can watch the bats from there.

                            Shoreline Grill
                            98 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701

                          2. j
                            jwynne2000 Feb 15, 2009 12:13 PM

                            Freddie's - casual, but oh so much fun. The food is pretty blah, but their queso and ice cold Lone Stars stand out.

                            Sampaio's on 45th has a nice quaint patio. Reviews on the food vary here, but i like the coffee crusted pork tenderloin, their salads, and anything with chimichurri on it.

                            1. s
                              singlemalt Feb 15, 2009 10:29 AM

                              Mansion at Judges Hill has a great front porch for coffee and dessert. Trio at the 4 Seasons has without a doubt the best view in the from their patio(BTW, their hamburger is a real winner). Billy's on Burnet has a deck but not too interesting , Russel's bakery next to Andersons coffee (forget the street name) has an outdooor with a canopy.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: singlemalt
                                Aloo0628 Feb 17, 2009 07:30 PM

                                Ooh yeah the newish Russell's location on Kerbey Lane! I drove by it the other day and thought the patio looked really nice, but it was closed. Is there food any good, or should I stick to coffee/baked goods there?

                                1. re: Aloo0628
                                  ridgeback Mar 1, 2009 12:59 PM

                                  The lunch menu is limited to soup, sandwiches and salads. We stopped there for lunch on Saturday. The soups of the day were tomato bisque and chicken enchildada. I had the bisque and enjoyed it, along with half a sandwich. Everything was nice and fresh. I don't know if the lunch and dinner menus are the same.

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