Austin - Large Group Dinner
A group of about 30-40 of my college girl friends are having a reunion in a few months and we are looking for a place to go to dinner. We are mid-20s to mid-30s in age, most of the out of towners are staying at the Austin Motel and the in town people live South. I'm looking for a restaurant that is relatively inexpensive, with great atmosphere (maybe a patio) and drinks, as well as good food. I just moved back to Austin from NYC and can only think of places like Stubbs or the Salt Lick (too far of a drive). Hounds - please help.
Well, there's always Matt's El Rancho. I'm not wild about the food but the place is ideally equipped for a large group. For something more formal, there's Green Pastures, but I'll warn you that the last time I ate there was a Sunday Brunch and it ranked among the worst meals of my life. I do hear that they do better at dinner.
In front of the Austin Motel is El Sol e la Luna, which has a large patio and VG mexican, and Guero's down the street also has VG food and drinks. I'd definitely consider Trudy's, which is an easy drive (and still in bubbaland) and has great food (a recent test of the mole found it to be authentic and delicious and the stuffed avocado defines gooey gluttony), along with some of the best margs in town.
Overall, it took me a while to get here, but Trudy's would be my top pick.
Agree with Greg, Trudy's was invented for 20's - 30's chicks; El Mercado, Matt's, if you want to stay south. Iron Works is a better place for groups than Stubb's; a fun place downtown is the Bitter End; and for home-style, Threadgill's -- all these places cater to groups very well.
I had a great party for about 20 at Curra's south -- they gave us one side of the "L" shaped patio. The service there is pretty good, the margaritas are great, and, I dare say, the mole at Curra's is far better than at Trudy's (I'd probably vote it the best I've had in Austin, but that would be another discussion altogether).
I agree with the recommendation of Curra's. Better food than Trudy's, but Trudy's may be able to handle a large group more.
A little off the path but still close to South Austin is Nuevo Leon off East 6th Street. They don't have the greatest Mexican food but they're far better than Matt's El Rancho. I've been there a couple of times on the weekend and have seen groups of 15/25 people in there. They seem to handle large groups well.