HOME > Chowhound > Austin >

Discussion

Saturday night near Hotel San Jose

Will be driving up from San Antonio Saturday to visit our daughter who goes to school at UT. Will be staying at Hotel San Jose, anything exciting (food) within short walking distance? I know about South Congress Cafe and Vespaio. Not interested in BBQ, chains or steakhouses. No mexican unless it's something amazing. Can drive if we have to, but I'm coming up in my 2-seater, so would rather walk or even take a cab since there's 3 of us. Yes, I know it will be hot, yes I did search.
May be interested in the food truck scene, if there's something in the area.

-----
Vespaio
1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Odd Duck over on Lamar, maybe three quarters of a mile away for the trailer scene. The brick and mortar, Barley Swine has the weakest menu of recent visits, but the heirloom tomato, foie, and fried risotto are worth getting (as are the other offerings, just those are the favorites). Other venues nearby: Botticelli's, directly across from HSJ, has such a friendly vibe, and the food-- Chicago-Italian-- is serviceable and even good, but the place is all about the vibe (indoors, outdoors, live music, or intimate). Perla's is right there as well. Grab a po-boy or lobster roll, and maybe some gazpacho, and see Austin's version of Mary's Fish Camp. What else? A caramel and sea salt shake at Hopdoddy's, a 'rita at Guerro's, and a Michelada at the HSJ bar. Just my favorites on your block.

    -----
    Barley Swine
    2024 S. Lamar, Austin, TX

    Odd Duck
    1219 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

    1 Reply
    1. re: bubbleboy79

      I think Hopdoddy serves the best burger in town. That lamb burger is worth the 20 hours of exercise you have to do after eating it.

    2. This is a pretty sexy problem. You're literally walking distance away from great Italian (I prefer Enoteca Vespaio to the main restaurant), seafood (Perla's), a whole bunch of trailers (just across the street and a half-block to the south), and the best pizza I've had in town (Home Slice, right across the street).

      10 Replies
      1. re: gilintx

        I'll definitely +1 the comment about Enoteca over Vespaio. I think that'd probably be my number one pick for somewhere good to eat near the San Jose. Perla's is also fantastic. South Congress Cafe is totally overrated, kinda the tourist hub of the area (maybe second to Guero's) and besides– it'll probably take you like two hours to get a table. BUT... they do have the best bloody mary I've ever had in my life, I think.

        1. re: popvulture

          They house-infuse the vodka w/ peppers in a tank in the bar. One of my favorite drinks in Austin.

            1. re: popvulture

              I like South Congress Cafe. They're at least consistent, and their seafood parfait is as good as any ceviche I've had in this town. Agreed that it's a real PITA to get a table there, though. And it's loud.

            2. re: gilintx

              I had my birthday dinner at Perla's this week. Wow... that lobster roll was wonderful... really, really wonderful! The lobster was lightly dressed with some sort of mayo with tarragon and served with drawn butter. The oysters were a great start, my friend loved the calamari with the green sauce, my sister was very happy with the Crab Louis and the Crab BLT made hubby very happy... it's a bit pricey but not too much so and the ambiance is nautical-casual. I'd go every week if I could. BTW, the cocktails were substantially delicious and potent. I had the Caesar, which is a Bloody Mary type drink with lots of pepper and Clamato.. Two others greatly enjoyed a gin drink which was called the Passenger. We think we know how it got that name.

              1. re: Rene

                Perla's sounds really good, thanks.

                1. re: Rene

                  Am I the only one here who doesn't love Perla's? I've been three times, spent a boatload of money each time, and thought I could get more for less elsewhere. Am I just having a string of bad luck?

                  1. re: Optimista

                    I hear ya. I don't disagree. It's pricey, but honestly where do you get fresher, better seafood in landlocked Austin? I like Quality Seafood and have had passable meals at Captain Benny's and Sam's Boathouse, but for food from the ocean that isn't fried beyond all recognition, where do you go?

                    1. re: willtryanythingonce

                      I hate to say this, as I prefer to frequent local places, but I've had consistently better seafood meals at Eddie V's than at Perla's. I don't have as much recent experience at Shoreline Grill, but was at an event there recently and the food impressed me - and they use sustainable seafood and local produce.

                      I don't mind dropping a lot of money for an amazing meal and do so on probably too a regular basis - but it needs to be worth the $$. I haven't felt that way at Perla's.

                      -----
                      Shoreline Grill
                      98 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701

                      1. re: Optimista

                        Honestly, thanks for the recommendation. Maybe the nature of a chain, with its necessary distribution channels or whatnot, make it a better option for seafood this far from the coast. After I posted I realized that McCormick and Schmicks is probably better for some (not all) folks than the ones I mentioned.

                        Gonna hit up Eddie V's and Shoreline based on this soon.

              2. Sounds like Vespaio Enoteca may be the ticket, keep the suggestions coming, I appreciate it.

                -----
                Vespaio
                1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

                Enoteca
                1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

                1. Had a great weekend. Started with brunch at Eastside Diner, had dinner at Perla's, then brunch at Enoteca Vespaio yesterday. Will post more detailed report later once I get caught up at work.
                  Thanks for the recommendations, we had an amazing time!

                  -----
                  Enoteca
                  1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: saeyedoc

                    Excellent! Looking forward to a follow-up report.

                  2. After a fun drive up to Austin from San Antonio taking the back roads, we met my daughter at her new apt. just off campus and went to Eastside Cafe for brunch. Nice setting, love the garden out back. I had the chicken sandwich with bacon and poblano, good with nice fresh veggies. Highlight was the fries, great, crispy handmade.

                    Checked into our hotel and wandered around some before the heat wore us out. I like all the food trucks in the area, will have to make another visit just to try some.

                    Got to Perla for our 6:30 reservation, seated immediately inside. Ended up ordering most of the apps, the lobster roll and a few sides. Highlights were the charred octopus, baked oysters and lobster roll. Also had calamari with jalapeno, BBQ shrimp, crab louis with fried green tomatos, some raw oysters, okra and brussel sprouts. Service was good, but a little fast. We were out in about an hour. Most things were very good, a little pricey for what it was, but not bad considering the neighborhood.

                    Next morning we walked up to Enoteca Vespaio, seated right away, around 11am. I had the panino with prosciutto, fontina and egg, very tasty.

                    Had a great 24hrs, look forward to going back when the weather cools down. Thanks for the suggestions, glad to see this board is more active than the general TX board.

                    -----
                    Enoteca
                    1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704