Best Outdoor Dining Near Downtown
I'll be in town for 3 days the first weekend in October with my wife and 2 year old daughter. We are coming from New Orleans and my 2 year old is generally well behaved in restaurants as long as we aren't doing something like a 5-6 course tasting menu.
What I would really like to find are places that have outdoor dining, possibly live music, and where the food doesn't suck but service is fairly speedy. Too tall a list?
I went to Contigo the other day with a friend and I really enjoyed it. There were plenty of families there but still a cool Austin vibe. They didn't have live music at the time so I don't know if they do that or not. It's East of I-35 but not too far. The food/drinks/service were quite good.
I had another friend recommend Contigo as well. These recs have all been great. Live music isn't a deal maker or deal breaker, it simply makes my daughter much more well behaved as she adores live music and dancing. Being outside really helps as there is so much more for her to see and keeps her entertained.
Garridos fits the bill. They have a nice patio next to Shoal Creek, they make great fresh corn tortillas for their tacos, they have music some of the time outside (call for times). We take our 1.5 year old there and it works well. It is upscale Mexican which is overdone downtown, but I think it is the best of the lot. The tacos, chile rellenos, even the steak dish have been winners and no consistent losers. Prices are also moderate given the setting.
I can't really think of any places that regularly have live music and chow-worthy food with outdoor dining. But, if you're willing to do without the music, these might fit the bill:
- Parkside (I *think* has an upstairs outdoor patio)
- Easy Tiger
For me though, the best outdoor dining in the downtown area is on Rainey Street. The whole street in general is a great place for visitors to wander around. My faves:
- El Naranjo
- Bangers (might seem a little kitschy, but the sausages and all their sides are quite legit)
- G'raj Mahal
Enjoy your stay!