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"don't miss" places in Austin?

  • c

will be heading to Austin for the 1st time and am looking for suggestions on any not-to-be missed places for dinner/drinks, etc?

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    1. Vespaio for incredible Italian food. 1610 So. Congress.
      T&S Seafood for fabulous Cantonese Chinese food and the best Dim Sum this side of San Francisco.
      10014 No. Lamar.

      1. ixnay on Stubb's, IMO. Unless you're going there for concert. The food is way overpriced, undermeated, and there aren't many people who would put it in the Top 5 BBQ In Austin.. I will buy their BBQ sauce, though.

        What kind of food/atmosphere did you have in mind? Half the restaurants in town are a "must do" for some reason or another.


        1. Places somewhat unique to Austin:
          Saltlick BBQ for the ambiance as much as the food.
          Fonda San Miguel for fine Mexican dining.
          Hudson's on the Bend for Texas Game.
          Oasis for an extraordinary sunset view over Lake Travis

          1. Agree with several here that top places somewhat unique to Austin would include
            Vespaio, Salt Lick and, if its a clear warm day, The Oasis on Lake Travis for drinks, and maybe a few Apps. at sunset (overall food is mediocre). A couple of places in town somewhat overlooked with great vibe and excellent food that never disappoint are Cafe Josie, and Asti.

            1. I agree on the only go to a concert at Stubb's bit. BBQ crown in town belongs on other heads.

              It's kind of important to know where you're coming from and what you're looking for, to know what to suggest. That being said, I'd suggest Mexican at Polvo's on S 1st.

              5 Replies
              1. re: uarent

                thanks. coming from the east coast....looking for a nice place for drinks and a hightlight or 2 in austin's restaurant scene

                1. re: cem

                  For a drink: if you want a nicer place that's got some real cocktails, I'd try the Driskill. It's located downtown, has some comfy sofas, and has some genuine, old school, well made cocktails. If you go to a lot of the restaurants' bars between 5 and 7, you can get some great deals on some food, i.e. 50% off some great appetizers. If you want somewhere that's more relaxed and a little more hipster, I'd try the Scoot Inn or Liberty in East Austin.

                  For food: Parkside, Uchi, and Jezebel are probably the best upscale places in town. If you're here on a Wednesday, go to Parkside. They've got 1/2 off oysters and sparkling wine. Their oyster list is strong. Also, I'd go there for a drink around happy hour too. Good deals on food and some tasty cocktails. Uchi is legendary and the chef is well known outside of Austin. There's a place on the east side called Jezebel that's got a good feel and some tasty food.

                  1. re: uarent

                    thanks. all really interesting looking suggestions. 2 other questions..any suggestion for good steakhouse and how about a semi-quiet place for drinks?

                    1. re: cem

                      I'm going to try again. My last post just disappeared into the ether, so this will be briefer.
                      I second the Driskill for cocktails. I'd call it semi-quiet. It has a nice kind of formal Texan ambience. I've only been once, but i liked the Brown Bar, downtown as well. It was real quiet the one time i went, about 7:00 on a Sat. night.

                      1. re: cem

                        In my opinion, don't waste your time with a steakhouse. You probably have places just as good or better at home. BBQ and Tex-Mex are a must. There are many threads on both on this board.