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Apr 6, 2005 10:31 AM

Austin 'casual' dining recommendations

  • g

I'll be in Austin for a 2 day business trip. I need recommendations for great, memorable food for breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Even though it's on an expense account, I'll be coming 'casual' so I prefer 'casual' atmosphere restaurants at low to moderate prices.

Also, I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to food, and I prefer local quality fare as opposed to chain establishments.

BTW, I'm leaving tomorrow!! (Thurs 4/7)


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  1. A few ideas...

    Las Manitas at 3rd and Congress (downtown) for any meal: great local Tex-Mex, get breakfast tacos, I cannot stress this enough. Very casual, seat yourself diner. If the weather is nice walk straight through the kitchen to the back patio.

    Green Mesquite and Shady Grove, both on Barton Springs Road (close to downtown). G.M. is bbq, gumbo, fried chicken and steaks, burgers...soul food. Seat yourself, waitresses in cutoffs are very helpful and make you want to pull up a lawnchair. Shady Grove is a few doors down, equally local and funky, made to look like a vintage trailer park....because it borders one. Get anything, lots of vegetarian food, sandwiches are great, homey food. These are both fun, casual, local.

    Noodleism is downtown at 5th and Congress. It's a pan-asian place that focuses on noodles and pasta. Soups, noodle bowls, a Kobe burger. I love the Just Wonton Soup, it's a huge bowl, kind of their 'kitchen sink' soup, lots of veggies, pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, and great wontons that are well flavored in the filling. Local, modern casual with sleek black surfaces, order at a counter. Its' owners wanted to do a cheap version of their pricier restaraunt Bistro 88, that I've not been to but have heard is Asian/French fusion and well reviewed.

    Kim Phung is near Hwy 183 and N. Lamar, in north Austin. Local Vietnamese, longtime favorite of mine. Pho is wonderful, as are the vermicelli bowls.

    I'm not a bbq person, but I've heard Ben's Longbranch at East 11th (I think) is the spot. Rudy's is a local chain that is good, and Stubb's BBQ is famous for their sauce.

    We have a ton of Tex-Mex places that are good. Chuy's is a local chain that is very 'Austin', Curra's is great and notable for avocado margaritas. Matt's El Rancho is a local favorite.

    Austinites eat lots of chips and salsa, drink lots of margaritas, and if you've never had a chicken-fried steak you must. See Green Mesquite above.

    Also take a look at, he's a local reviewer, his site is well built and pretty comprehensive.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lauren

      oops, forgot Hoover's and Threadgill's. Both home-cookin', both excellent places for Chicken Fried Steak. Both funky Austin, Janis Joplin got her start at Threadgill's.