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Feedback on Austin Food Itinerary

Hey everyone! I've been reading Chowhound for a good while but this is my first time posting.

Just wanted to get your opinion on the list of restaurants that I've put together. Mostly, I'm looking for help spotting huge errors -- terrible, waste-of-time choices OR glaring must-visit omissions. Where are the places that, after coming back home, I'll be kicking myself for not visiting while here?

We've got seven days in Texas; six in Austin and one in San Antonio. Here's my list:

Breakfasts:
- Juan in a Million
- Gordough's
- Flip Happy
- Mozart's
- Guenther House (SA)
- Bouldin Creek Cafe
- Tacodeli

Lunches:
- Franklin's BBQ
- Torchy's Taco
- Lockhart BBQ (Smitty's, Black's, Kreuz)
- Acenar (SA)
- Three Little Pigs
- Home Slice
- Somewhere near Fredericksburg (help?)

Dinners:
- Uchi
- Salt Lick
- Perla's
- Boudro's (SA)
- Barley Swine
- ???
- ???

Treats:
- Sno Beach
- Bananarchy
- Amy's Ice Cream
- Sugar Mama's
- ???

Additions, Subtractions? Really appreciate your help. This site is such a great resource.

-Josh

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  1. When are you going to be visiting? If this is around now (SXSW), I'd recommend avoiding anything close to downtown, and be prepared for HUGE waits at places like Uchi and Franklin.

    For dinner, I'd add a few tex-mex places. I personally like Polvos.

    Where are you visiting from? Depending on the part of the country you're from, you may find some better examples of food you mention here locally at home.

    I have no idea about the breakfast at Mozart's, but if you're going there for coffee, there are much better places in austin, like Once Over Coffee Bar, Cafe Medici and Houndstooth Coffee, to name a few.

    I'd say none of the places you have listed in your treat sections are "must visits" (I've never heard of bananarchy, so I have no idea about that). I wouldn't kill myself trying to get to those places.
    I'd skip home slice. The pizza is good by austin standards, but not enough for it to be a must-visit for an out-of towner.

    If you do both lockhart and Franklin's I'd skip salt lick.

    I think thai food in austin is under-rated. I'd try and add titaya's to your list.

    14 Replies
    1. re: sisundar

      Thanks for the feedback!

      We're visiting April 1-7, so things should have quieted down. I've already made some reservations for places like Uchi and Perla's, just to be safe.

      We live near DC in northern Virginia. There's certainly a variety of cuisine, but not really sure we do anything super-well around here.

      For Mozart's, I was more interested in the location. Willing to sacrifice a bit to enjoy a spot by the lake. I'll keep the other coffee places you listed in mind, though.

      For desserts, I just wanted to have some places handy in case we get a sweet craving while out and about at night.

      I'll definitely look into Titaya's. Love good Thai food.

      Thanks again!

      1. re: jdwilcox

        Another place that came to mind was : http://3littlepigsaustin.com/ . Great trailer food. Also, a new place called Jmuller BBQ on South 1st is getting great reviews, and may not (yet) be as slammed as Franklin's.

        1. re: sisundar

          Yep, 3LP is on our hit list and we actually just got a nice coupon for it. We'll be there!

          1. re: jdwilcox

            Dinner choices are good, lunches are respectable, breakfasts are terrible.
            Austin has excellent Tex-Mex breakfasts. Look to Habanero on the south side, Joe's Bakery on the east side. And lots of other places on S. Lamar, S. First, E. 6th and 7th. All much better than anywhere on your list.

            1. re: frankcross

              Well, I don't want tacos and migas every single day. You think I should ditch Juan and Tacodeli for these other places?

              1. re: jdwilcox

                i can respect not wanting tacos and migas every day for brekkie.
                what about chuy's panaderia one morning instead, for mexican baked goods?

                i like taco deli, but think their lunch specials shine, vs. breakfast.
                for a breakfast institution, i would suggest tamale house.
                it's good, cheap food and quite an austin experience.

                you should add 1 more trailer to your lunch repertoire, to replace home slice.
                here's a list:
                http://austinfoodcarts.com/

                will you be in austin on a sunday?
                if so, a gut-busting sunday brunch buffet would be a good choice.
                moonshine (southern style country food
                )lamberts (fancy bbq; $$$ but great for brunch)
                green pastures (southern; they have milk punch and peacocks)
                fonda san miguel (interesting mexican decor; big brunch spread)
                tacos n tequila (includes mimosas, yum!)

                1. re: dinaofdoom

                  Very helpful post, thank you! We're not huge buffet fans, but Lambert's looks pretty interesting.

                  1. re: jdwilcox

                    if you're not buffet fans, that's cool.
                    i was just thinking it could be a good way to combine a breakfast and lunch while sampling a wider array of austin-y foods.

                    both lambert's and moonshine are downtown, so you can walk around the 2nd street area afterwards and check out the shops and whatnot.

                2. re: jdwilcox

                  Well, I think you should want tacos and migas every day, with an occasional huevos rancheros. But I would ditch Juan and Tacodeli for better Mexican. There are great non-Mexican weekend brunches. You might try The Egg and I on a weekday. It's a chain but was good when I went there

          2. re: jdwilcox

            Austin Restaurant Week is going on then, Uchi and Uchiko are part of it. You may want to get reservations for some places on that Sunday through Wednesday. I think the website is restaurantweekaustin.com.

            1. re: nadinep

              if you do a search of this board for restaurant week, you'll find some posts about which places were meh, and which had good value and/or offerings.

              some places do rather lackluster prix fixe meals for ARW, which has been a kvetch.

          3. re: sisundar

            Sisundar, I'd love to know what you like at Titaya's. I loved them when they first opened, but the last time I went, the dish I got was so disappointing that I wouldn't go back without a strong recommendation from someone I trust.

            1. re: sisundar

              Oh, and I totally agree with Sisunder about skipping Salt Lick if you're hitting both Franklin's and Lockhart, and about skipping Home Slice. If you want pizza, go on Saturday to the downtown farmer's market and get a breakfast pizza from the Bola trailer.

              1. re: Optimista

                Had ice cream at Lick this weekend...definitely worth adding to your treats list!

            2. For one of your treats, you MUST go to Mrs. Johnson's Donuts (4909 Airport Blvd) Absolutely the best donuts...be sure to go late night/very early mornings to get them warm off the belt. Nothing like fresh warm glazed donuts after a night out on 6th street. If you go in the morning the kolaches make a good breakfast on the go. Be careful though, their hours are different...7:30 pm until noon the following day...fresh donuts start being available around 8:30/8:45 pm. Don't just take my word on them, google them for more reviews.

              You might also add the Omlettry (4811 Burnett Rd) to your itinerary...very unique, quintessential Austin place. I have not been in a while, but they used to be fantastic for breakfast or lunch. I loved their pancakes. Bring cash, they do not take credit cards.

              1 Reply
              1. re: PuniceaRana

                kolaches are definitely texan, and probably not something easily found in DC.
                they have sweet varieties, or savory ones stuffed with combinations of cheese, eggs, chiles and sausages.

                all kolaches, however, have a sweet portuguese or hawaiian roll type yeasy bread dough, so if you hate things like that, you probably won't like kolaches.

              2. I would move Flip Happy to the sweets category - they have excellent dessert crepes and it frees you up to add weekend brunch at Eastside Cafe (a wonderful non-buffet Austin experience - ask to dine inside and avoid the garden room).
                I would also accept the Green Pastures suggestion :)

                For dinners, consider adding Justine's and/or Contigo. You could also go to Hoover's for the Chicken Fried Chicken dinner - a classic Texas meal you are not likely to find in DC.

                Also, here's a link to some recent Fredericksburg suggestions http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/816495

                1 Reply
                1. re: Alan Sudo

                  I haven't eaten at most of the places on the thread that Alan linked to, but I'll second the recommendation on that thread for Cabernet Grill - I had a meal prepared for their chef and it was really excellent.