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Only one night - South Congress restaurant recommendation?

Heya,
I'm going to be in town from SF (on my birthday no less!) with some friends and am trying to figure out a good spot for local eats on a Friday night. We're staying on South Congress before heading to the Hill Country for the weekend and would prefer not to have to drive anywhere for dinner that particular night. Was reading about South Congress Cafe... thoughts? As long as I've got a good margarita in hand, I'll be a happy girl!
Thanks!

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  1. You will like SoCo Cafe. Very good food at a reasonable price, and I suppose the drinks are good too. They do not take reservations, but they have call-ahead seating. You can also put your name in at the hostess stand, if they are busy, and give them your cell # and they will call you when they have your table ready.

    1. South Congress Cafe is excellent. I'd specifically recommend their seafood parfait, which is their take on ceviche. We haven't had anything bad there. If you're back in town another time, they are great for brunch. If you want to go way more casual, then hit the airstreams across the street. They are fun and delicious. A dinner of Might Cone (run by Hudson on the Bend) followed by Hey Cupcake will work.

      3 Replies
      1. re: dzaustin

        One night and from SF? Vespaio. Wonderful food. It's usually crowded but hanging at the bar is fun if you're not in a hurry. Cool people, cool atmosphere.

        South Congress Cafe is okay, Vespaio is golden.

        1. re: chispa_c

          Thanks for your help folks! I suspected South Congress Cafe would be it. Coincidentally, I had lunch at Enoteca Vespaio the one afternoon I spent in Austin on my way back home. Good stuff! Now that I think of it, I'm going back through town on Monday the 7th and will definitely need a Tex-Mex fix: what's the verdict on the best spot in that area?

          1. re: downdeharo

            Today is actually your best bet for SoCo Cafe; they have a large glass tank of Tito's vodka loaded with numerous colorful peppers. This infused vodka is their default for their Bloody Mary, but suffice to say it has made their vodka the best in all of Austin when wanting a bit of heat and chili zing. Killer. Beats my home experimentation. They won't serve you a drink this AM before noon w/o food -- get some corn bread bites (last time they charged me a quarter for 'em). The food here is alright, decent and forgettable except that it all costs a bit too much.

            If you're heading home on Monday, El Meson on Burleson will be open and is on the way to the airport. This is, as far as I can tell, the best little taco joint in all of Austin. I've tested them and tested them and they sometimes disappoint, but usually rock

      2. I'd vote Habanero Cafe for tex mex lunch in the SoCo area. The atmosphere may leave some to be desired, but it's def. more authentic than some of the other spots in the area & I've yet to have a bad meal there. Plus, the family that owns/runs it couldn't be more charming. http://habanerocafe.com/menu.html

        2 Replies
        1. re: ehill03

          i've been to most on SoCo. i would say South Congress Cafe is my favorite followed by Vespaio. Although SoCo cafe is definitely more economical.
          Perla is next on my list.

          1. re: caitlink

            I'm in Austin right now and just brunched/lunched at South Congress Cafe. Awesome! Had the sea bass with gnocchi and beure blanc sauce. Ate at bar with 20% discount today on food. Very friendly and helpful bar keep/waitress. We will definitely return to SCC before we leave this awesome city/area. We ate at Botticelli's last night and had an awesome dinner--duck with duck confit ravioli. Ohh, la, la. Great place, good service, nice atmosphere. and, right next door to the Continental Club for great music. Guerro's food not so hot, but their margarita's are awesome.

        2. Botticelli's absolutely rocks. It's become my favorite restaurant in Austin.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cookiedog

            I'd never notice this place even though it's been there a while. That was a mistake. Went there a few weeks ago. Fantastic. Had a ravioli dish, mussels, and the fried eggplant. Everything was fantastic and the wine recommendation was spot on. The fried eggplant is ridiculously addictive.