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Need Some Recommendations for Places to Eat in Austin

The weekend of March 27-29 my father and I will be going to Austin to look at some property and get a feel for the area. We are coming in from the DC area so it will be nice to get some warmer weather than we've been having. We may be in town a day or two longer than just the weekend, but my father just recently got a new job in Austin so he will definitely be moving to the area in the next couple months.

I've heard great things about the restaurants and food in Austin so I am hoping some people on here can help out and point us toward some great places. We would definitely like some great restaurants for dinner each night. I'd like to go to a great steakhouse, great seafood place, and then maybe a fusion-style place for the third night. Also, if any of you guys have good recommendations for places for lunch then that would be fantastic, too. For lunch, I'm really up for anything...the only place I'd like to go specifically to lunch for is sushi so I'm hoping there is a great place for that.

On a final note, can anyone point me towards some great bars/lounges/clubs for the nightlife? I'm 21 and my father is 54 so we've got a bit of an age gap, but we have similar tastes in bars. It might be great to get a recommendation for places with people in the 20s-30s and then 30s+ so we can check out both. I'm sure he and I will probably split up one or two nights and check out some places on our own to see what we can find. I've already done a little bit of research, but I graduate this semester from the University of Maryland and I have a feeling I am going to be moving down to Austin with him.

Thanks for the recommendations in advance.

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  1. Here's a good start for you from the generous people of Austin:


    Definitely check out the DraughtHouse

    3 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      That is an awesome list of places. Exactly what I wanted.

      By the way, did you ever get a chance to check out Uchi? From all the great recommendations, I will absolutely be going there. I'm interested in your opinion of it, though.

      1. re: joconn

        Sad to say I was unable to get to Uchi. I tried to go there my last evening in town, but they could not accommodate me and I ended up at County Line BBQ.... If you read the whole thread, you will know my group was not into eating out too much and wanted to stay closer to the resort. In fact, we had two dinners at the resort.

        With regards to the recommendations given by others.....they were all spot on. There was a little dissension with the BBQ recommendations, but as I have come to find out.....it's a hot button topic with the folks from Austin. Look up Uchi on their website. It will give you a very good idea of what to expect.. My only regret beside three putting too many times......is not making it to Uchi for Happy Hour or Dinner.

        1. re: fourunder

          Uchi is number one on my list so I will give you a report after I try it. Sorry to hear the dining out didn't go the way you were hoping, but I'm sure you had a great time golfing.

    2. For nightlife, the 21-year-old scene is definitely 6th St. - just hit any or all of the bars on both sides of the street. A more mature scene is the warehouse district, a few blocks west and a couple blocks south from the 6th St. district, on 4th St. - the best bar, IMHO, being the Gingerman, which has an excellent beer selection. Both areas are fun, just in different ways; both you and your father will find something to enjoy if you hit both districts.

      You'll be there the weekend after the big SXSW music festival, so things might be a bit more low-key than normal - people will be just burned out - but it'll still be fun.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bat Guano


        Thanks for the Sam's recommendation......I enjoyed my Brisket, Ribs and Sausage......regardless of my friends experiences. I was also able to find someone to heat up the Barbecue in the middle of the night so I did not have to eat it cold.

        1. re: fourunder

          Glad you enjoyed it! You and your friends may have looked like... you weren't from the neighborhood, shall we say. But the occasional hassle is part of the experience, and I think the food is definitely worth it.

      2. For live music, usually there will be some pretty decent music at Antones (blues usually, also R&R), Continental Club (rock and roll), Broken Spoke (historic C and W club) and Elephant Room (jazz). At the first 2 you usually will have to stand up.
        For a more intimate place (usually an acoustic show), the Cactus Cafe on UT's campus usually has somebody interesting. Of course there are tons of other places. You can google all these places. They all have web sites. Pick up an Austin Chronicle (or visit their website), and see who is playing where. As ageneral rule, the best music isn't on 6th street, if that is your main focus.
        Esther's Follies on 6th street is a pretty fun place to bring out of towners. I haven't been in at least 10 years, so I can't give a current review. It is a comedy club (not stand up, more like skits).
        Eddie V's has both great steaks and seafood, and a nice bar. The Driskill (hotel) has a nice piano bar. As BatGuano says the Gingerman is the best beer selection, but no hard liquor there.
        Most of the places I've mentioned are either downtown or not that far from it. (broken spoke being the farthest away)

        1. Try Steiner Steakhouse for great food and an amazing view of Lake Travis. It'll give you a feel for the Hill Country without sacrificing on flavor.
          If you can be there to see the sunset for a drink at the bar, you won't be disappointed.


          2 Replies
          1. re: amykragan

            This looks like a nice place and recommendation.......which begs me to ask......where were you the past month when I was seeking information during my stay at Barton Creek Resort.....do you have something against golfers ;-)

            1. re: fourunder

              Just not a big fan of BBQ and it seemed like you were being overwhelmed with those requests.

              Cooper's (or Opie's in Spicewood) are my favorites but I probably only eat BBQ once or twice a year which really puts me in a minority on this board. Glad you enjoyed your stay!

          2. Well, I'm in your father's age category but still like to go out for a drink, so a few that I'd recommend are:

            Draught House -- very low key, very neighborhood. Good beer selection. Probably our favorite for relaxing.

            Gingerman's -- they may be in the process of moving to their new location at that point so it's hard to say what it will be like.

            Opal Divine's (on w. 6th) -- Great porch for sunset downtown. Good scotch and beers.

            NXNW -- Brewpub with decent food

            The bar at Entoca Vespaio

            Ginny's Little Longhorn -- for that Texas dive honky tonk atmosphere

            Vino Vino on Guadalupe

            Momo's -- depending on the band that's playing, nice rooftop bar

            Cedar Street -- again depending on the music. Nice sunken outdoor courtyard

            Lovejoy's -- because it's still a smoky dump

            1. I agree, I was at the Driskill Tuesday night and had a fantastic dinner. Chef Gelman's cuisine reins supreme for sure.

              1. Check out Austin360.com there is a lot of usefully links on restraunts there.
                Great Steaks at: Salt Grass or Ruth Chris
                Great Steak and or seafood: Truluck's or McCormick & Schmidt in the Domian

                1. +1 on Uchi. Tyson Cole has been featured in lots of Food Magazines. In fact, he's in the April 2009 issue of Bon Appetit.

                  BBQ = Salt Lick...nice drive to Dripping. They have a website.

                  Lunch - Check out the Landmark Whole Foods Market at 6th & Lamar. Very fun, great food and good people watching.

                  I like Zocalo for lunch too. That's in the Clarksville neighborhood. They have really fresh, simple mexican food. Not TexMex so much, but healthy and good. Clarksville also has Jeffery's for high end dinner, Nau's Pharmacy for a great hamburger (think vintage, neighborhood pharmacy/soda fountain type), Medici for coffee is cool.

                  Vespaio on S. Congress is great. S. Congress in general is a ton of fun.

                  Bars...I personal can't stand the heart of 6th Street (between I-35 and Congress Avenue). I prefer The Ranch. Star Bar is for older folks, Little Woodrow's has a mix of people. These are all West of Congress, on 6th Street, East of Lamar.

                  Antone's is a must too. I saw that someone already mentioned that. Have a great time!

                  1. Bars: I second Ginny's Little Longhorn, & Cedar Street. Don't forget LaLa's Little Nugget on Justin Ln , The Pier, The Saxon Pub (music), Horseshoe Lounge, Dry Creek Cafe, and The Carousel Lounge.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chowmick

                      I thought the Pier was gone. What about Ski Shores? If you're going to toss in the Carousel, you might as well have 'em checkout Donn's Depot; it's the same crowd.

                    2. Check out Matt's El Rancho it's a safe bet for all ages.

                      Matt's El Rancho
                      2613 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

                      1. I want to thank everyone that has submitted some input for the trip down to Austin. I've got a pretty sizable list to work off of now so I am going through each place, checking out the menu's, and looking at the details each of you have posted.

                        I'm pretty excited to be getting down there. I've heard a lot about it from some close friends and I love checking out new places for food. If anybody thinks of anything else, please feel free to give some more input. I will be checking this thread until I leave and I will list out the places I went and how I liked them when I get back.

                        By the way, are there any must-see things when I down there beside restaurants and bars? I will be trying the best I can to fit in as many things as possible when I have the chance. Anything additional is welcome. Thanks again.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: joconn

                          Other than the UT Campus, Capital, LBJ Library, 360 Bridge, Congress Bridge (for the bats), Steiner Ranch for Lake Travis Sunset and a great steak for Prime Rib (you won't be disappointed) Mt. Bonell is a great view!

                          1. re: amykragan

                            That's a great list, thanks. I'll actually end up being down in Austin a couple more days than expected now so it'll give me a great opportunity to get a few more things checked off the list.

                            1. re: amykragan

                              I doubt that the bats are back yet.
                              Also if you are into museums, besides the LBJ library, there is the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, and the Blanton Museum, both within walking distance of each other, and a brisk walk from the Capitol.

                              1. re: TroyTempest

                                For updates and approximate emergence times of the Congress Avenue Bats, call the Austin American-Statesman/Bat Conservation International's - Bat Hot Line: 512-416-5700 ex. 3636. You have to listen to an advertisement for the Bat Boat first; but the end of the message gives you an idea of what time the bats start flying in the evenings.