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Dec 20, 2012 08:45 AM

Boston Hound coming to townS in February

We'll be in Austin and in San Antonio in late February. In Austin, we'll be at the Omni, and in SA, I'm hoping to stay within walking distance of the Riverwalk. We will have a car and we'll be in each city a few days.

So where should I go to get the real deal--local and delish? We're definitely not looking for fine dining or the ethnic food we can get easily at home (Indian, Asian, middle eastern, etc.). And what dishes should we try? We're pretty adventurous, and don't mind checking out a local dive, if the food/scene is great.

Will we need the car to explore beyond the areas near our hotels, or will we find sufficiently chowish experiences within walking distance?
Are there places that offer both good music AND good food, or is it better to eat somewhere, and go somewhere different for music?

Well, now we'll see if Texas hounds are as dependably chowish as their brothers and sisters have been in Miami, Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans and even France! I'm counting on you guys, and I promise to return the favors if you come to Boston!

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  1. On or near the Riverwalk:
    La Gloria (Pearl Brewery Complex)
    Ocho (Hotel Havana)
    The EsquireTavern....killer drinks
    Chris Madrid's for hamburgers
    La Fritte (french)
    Bohanan's (steak)
    Ostra has decent oysters and a good crabcake
    Drinks on the patio at the Westin....a great way to while away an afternoon

    Parkside, Backspace, Chez Nous, Bar Congress, Garridos are walkable from the Omni
    Short drive down Congress Ave: Swift's Attic, Home Slice, Enoteca
    South First St: LA BBQ, Polvos, Lenoire
    East Austin: Eastside Showroom, The Blue Dahlia, Justine's
    South Lamar: Olivia, Barley Swine, Uchi...expensive but worth it

    Lots of great food trailers...just google em

    4 Replies
    1. re: Poochinator

      poochinator has some good suggestions.

      as a transplanted bostonian, i would say in general, go for bbq, tex mex, and mexican. you can get better pizza, italian, and asian in boston. one thing you will notice here is the laid back restaurant dress code.

        1. re: Poochinator

          Thanks again, Poochinator! I'm following up on your suggestions. Is Eastside Showroom related to Eastside King?

          Is "Bar Congress" on your list the same as "Second at Congress"? Another poster said that there's a bistro part of the larger restaurant, that's less expensive and that they liked better.

          1. re: Lgalen

            You are quite welcome!!

            Congress, Bar Congress and Second Bar and Kitchen are three places in the same location. I only been to Bar Congress. Good people watching.

            East Side Showroom is different from East Side Kings (ESK


            ESK now has a new location at the Hole in the Wall on Guadalupe. I would put this high on my list.

            Clark's Oyster Bar just opened and getting rave reviews.

            Just got back from SA:

            Southtown has just blossomed with new restaurants. Walkable or a short cab ride. I can recommend Bliss and Blue Star.


        2. I take visitors to lockhart to get a good central texas bbq experience. its a small town and fun to visit. I'm a blacks bbq fan, but smittys is very nice as well.

          You can get more consistently better bbq at franklin if you care to brave the line. haven't been to LA bbq but I hear that is good as well.

          El Taco Rico is an excellent texmex trailer. great barbacoa

          1. I agree with and like all the other recommendations. Uchi is not BBQ, Mexican, or TexMex, but it is unique. Otherwise I agree with the focus on Mexican and TexMex. For Mexican I'd add Las Paloma's and, of course, Fonda San Miguel. For TexMex there are Hounds out there who are passionate about many places I have yet to try, but I love the Carnitas tacos at Angie's. For breakfast I am a fan of Taco Deli. For BBQ I like Smitty's, Blacks, and Kreuz in Lockhart, City Market in Luling, and Muellers in Taylor. Franklin may well be nirvana, but I just can't wrap my head around standing in line at nine in the morning for the possibility, but not the certainty, of Q. Last but not least the lowly TexMex cheese enchilada with chili gravy and chopped onions, mopping up afterwards with warm tortillas, washed down with a XX amber, is an institution. The cheese ranges from Velveeta to American. If you get cheddar you are not in a real TexMex spot. It may be good, but it is not IMHO the real experience. I like Enchiladas y Mas or Dario's. I also like Maudie's, but it has a polarizing effect on this board.

            5 Replies
            1. re: tim irvine

              We'll be driving from Austin to San Antonio and back, and it looks like we'll be going through part of the Hill Country. Any good German food? "Road food"? Nice stops along the way?

              Also--will we be able to sit outside to drink/eat in late February?

              1. re: Lgalen

                I'd stop in at the Gristmill in New Braunfels for a decent pork sandwich (however, not German) and an excellent patio and view of the river.

                I'd also suggest Coopers BBQ. While not quite as good as the original, seriously decent bbq.

                1. re: amysuehere

                  So really, no good German in this area? I thought it was a big part of the culture of this part of Texas--am I mixing it up with someplace else?

                  Not that it looks like we'll be going hungry! So much good food, so little time!

                  Also, local beer to sample?

                  1. re: Lgalen

                    The lack of good German in Austin is kind of hard to explain. Just outside Austin, you may get recommendations for places in New Braunfels or Pfleugerville, or out in Fredericksberg... but in Austin itself... I'd love to see me told I'm wrong, but there's not a great German place within 15 minutes of downtown.

                    But... as you are driving through New Braunfels... you might get someone to recommend a good place there. My experience is that most of the stuff there is adequate fair, not exceptional. [please chowhounds, lend a hand here]

                    As far as beer... Austin has you covered. There are a lot of very good breweries
                    most of these do tours but beers to try:
                    (512) Pecan porter is very nice
                    Live Oak breweries beers are great
                    Austin Beerworks has also got some fine offerings. Many/most are available on taps at good bars and at places like Alamo Drafthouse [if you want to catch a movie]

                2. re: Lgalen

                  My son's birthday is March 1 and we have celebrated it many times on the patios at Green Mesquite and Maudie's Too. The patios around here usually have space heaters, so the bigger issue can be getting to war if you are right by one.

              2. One more thing...check out the "tom in austin" posts.A lot of good info.