Austin, Near Hilton/Convention Center, E 4th?
I'll be in Austin in February, and would love to know what I can find nearby. I'll mostly be running out quickly for meals, but then again, food is important!
Breakfast places, Mexican (prefer real mex to tex-mex), BBQ, late night? Stuff I won't find as good anywhere else? Love family run hole in the wall joints, but don't mind spending once in a while for something special.
Is there enough to keep my stomach happy nearby, or will I want to rent a car for the few times I might be able to sneak away? Is there anyplace I can park the car relatively nearby, without spending an arm and a leg?
Thanks so much for your help!
Don't rent a car, but you might want to take a $5 cab to Guero's Taco Bar on South Congress for some awesome Mexican food that is way beyond Texmex. And then if you can get to John Muelers BBQ on Manor Rd you will have found the best BBQ in Central Texas. Muellers is 1/2 mile east of the UT Football Staduim, again about a $5 cab ride.
How long will you be in town? Mike's Pub on E. 7th just east of Congress Avenue for good burgers--lunch only. On W. 5th just a block or so west of Congress is a noodle shop called Noodle-ism that I haven't ever been to. The same person also owns Bistro 88, which has a totally different menu, but I have been to Bistro 88, and it is very, very good. Check the link for the Noodle-ism menu (pdf). I'm dying to try the "Nitro Noodles." You will need wheels and some time to get to good barbecue. The place next to the convention center isn't very good.
re: Jim Washburn
I disagree about the barbeque - Iron Works, right next to the Convention Center, is one of the best in town. Also highly recommend heading over to Manor Road to Hoover's for the best chicken fried steak - across from the earlier recommendation of Mueller's for bbq. Mueller's keeps odd hours though, so check before you go.
Near the convention center are mostly upscale chain restaurants, PF Chang and the like. Walk west to Congress Ave for great interior Mexican at Manuel's (between 3rd and 4th), and good Mexican breakfast at Las Manitas (between 2nd and 3rd). A twenty minute walk, south over the bridge, will get you to South Congress Cafe, my current favorite for brunch (it opens at 10AM) and tasty, trendy southern style lunch and dinner. Over on Colorado St, at 8th, is the Athenian Grill, our best Greek Restaurant, and not expensive. It is open for a quick lunch.