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Jul 10, 2004 06:15 PM

Austin Upscale

  • f

I'm searching for upscale French, Italian for a special occasion.......any idea?

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  1. For upscale Italian, I really enjoy Carmelo's on 5th. Although I haven't been in a while (I no longer work in a position with an expense account to entertain), I always very much enjoyed their food. And for a complete evening with an Austin feel, you may consider dinner at Carmelo's and then walking next door to Esther's Follies for their always hillarious comedy shows.

    1. i

      For Italian, pass on Carmelo's and try Vespaio on South Congress. Easily one of the top 5 restaurants in Austin..

      6 Replies
      1. re: iamtigerwoods

        Who you are isn't nearly as important on this board as your opinion of italian restaurants, which is absolutely correct. Compared to Vespaio, Carmelo's is overpriced, has poorly prepared food and is a waste even of expense account money.

        1. re: Greg Spence

          I concede: Vespaio does beat Carmelo's, hands down.

          And it's been at least 3 years since I've been to Carmelo's (so I guess I should limit my recommendations to places I've dined at recently). At the time, Carmelo's was good. On many occassions, we would do the Carmelo's / Esther's Follies combination, but this also probably had a lot to do with the fact that Carmelo's could handle a group of 40 or so diners in their private room.

          1. re: Nacho

            I wonder why Carmelo's has gone so far downhill? Virtually everyone feels this way.

            1. re: rudeboy

              Good to know. I was thinking about doing another carmelo's / esther's outting soon (mainly b/c I've been missing esther's, but also to check up on carmelo's). Sounds like I'm better off skipping Carmelo's.

              1. re: Nacho

                Thanks for the tip on Carmelo's. I will try Vespaio for Italian. Further, how would you rank Bistro Jean Luc for Fren......I've read great things. Finally, is Jeffrey's worth the money, or would you do the upscale dinner somewhere else?


                1. re: Frank Stein

                  Jean Luc's is closed, sadly. It has been replaced by a Greek restaurant which has not opened yet. While we desperately need good Greek food in this town, it was sad to see Jean Luc's go.

      2. Since my Italian recommendation sucked, what do hounds think of Aquarelle for French? We were going to try it a few months ago, but the chef or owner was on their annual vacation and they closed down for a few weeks. Seems like this may have been last, how the months fly by.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Nacho

          I ate at Aquarelle about 2 years ago and did the chef's choice thing and found it pretty great but not staggeringly so. I haven't been back since then, so others probably have a stronger opinion. It may be one of the last of the really good French restaurants in town.

          1. re: Carter B.

            I also ate a Aquarelle a year or so ago. Very good, but a touch uninspired. Nothing to complain about. In fact, I hope to go next time I'm in town, but it's not mind blowingly good.

        2. What's wrong with Sienna? My husband and I have enjoyed it a couple of times & it's definitely romantic.