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Feb 14, 2009 09:29 PM

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

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! :-)

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  1. 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

      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

        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.

    2. 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. The original comment has been removed
        1. 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

            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

              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

                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

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