I'm going to be in Austin for a few days. I like most foods besides Asian and seafood - I recognize Austin is likely to have a lot of Mexican / Latin places, and anyplace high-quality in that area would be tremendous. I also like to go to places that I can't go to anyplace else - unique to the area.
What are the "do not miss" restaurant recommendations for the city?
What is a great place for a Saturday evening dinner?
What is a good recommendation for an Easter Sunday breakfast/brunch?
What is a good recommendation for a late night (after midnight, probably) tapas-style place?
What would be a good sports bar for watching ballgames on Saturday? One that has good food, etc...
I'm certainly not an expert on all Austin has to offer, but I do get down there occasionally and try to find good food. My wife and I were there last night for dinner and today for lunch. We went to Vespaio and Castle Hill Cafe and had excellent meals at both places.
Vespaio doesn't take reservations after about 6:30 p.m. and the wait can be long (we waited about an hour last night after arriving at 8:15) but I think it's worth it. We started with the Insalata Tricolore, a mixture of radicchio, Belgian endive and baby arugula arranged to look like an Italian flag. It looked better than it tasted, but was OK. The second starter was on the specials list -- warm duck confit tossed with escarole, red onion and goat cheese with a sherry vinaigrette. This was outstanding.
Entrees were veal tenderloin medallions with eggplant and housemade fresh mozzarella baked in their wood fired oven. This was good, but not great. What was great was the risotto of the day -- the Carnaroli risotto with english peas and pea shoots was topped with a generous portion of rotisserie smoked pork shoulder. The pork was very tender, very moist and very delicious.
Lunch today at Castle Hill Cafe was also excellent. My wife had what they called something like an interior mexico style chicken salad. I can't start to tell you what all was in it, but it was excellent. I had a small dinner salad with a roasted poblano-pecan vinaigrette that was great for a buck fifty. Entree was roasted pork tenderloin with a Thai sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans. Really a little too much for lunch, but worth the sleepiness it brought on during the afternoon.
Good luck finding some good food in Austin. It's there if you look for it.
For my money the best and most atmospheric Sunday brunch in Austin is at Green Pastures, an old mansion on Live Oak Street in South Austin, surrounded by green lawns, live oaks (of course) and occasional peacocks.They've been there at least 40 years, maybe longer. A brunch buffet, champagne, white tablecloths, and afterwards you can recover in rocking chairs on the wide porches. Better ceck to make sure they will be open Easter Sunday, and reservations are a must.