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2006 SWALL Annual Meeting - Restaurant Guide

Based on guide compiled by the UT English Department and Division of Rhetoric and Composition.

Price Guide

$ entrees under $10
$$ entrees between $10-15
$$$ entrees between $15-20
$$$$ entrees over $20


Cafe at the Four Seasons $$$$
98 San Jacinto
With a view of Town Lake, the Café at the Four Seasons serves upscale food flawlessly twenty-four hours a day. Particularly known for their prix fixe ($40) Sunday brunch featuring breakfast breads and pastries, egg dishes, breakfast meats, blintzes, savory appetizers, vegetable side dishes, pastas, platters of fresh fruit, an omelet station, prime rib carving station and a bagel station with smoked salmon, chopped onions, boiled eggs, cream cheese spreads, and caviar. It is 1/2 mile from the Driskill.

Castle Hill $$$$
1101 W 5th St , 476-0728
Superb and unusual food in an elegant but casual setting. Definitely one of the best restaurants in Austin. Their mission is to provide affordable fine dining, and they manage it nicely. If you're a wine person, you'll find their selections tasty and their prices surprisingly low. They don't take reservations, so you might have to wait on a busy night; but don't forget about them as a lunch option! 1 mile from the Driskill.

Chez Nous $$$
510 Neches St., between 5th and 6th streets
Very nice French bistro on Neches between 5th and 6th, a good prix fixe menu for around $25 plus wine and coffee. Excellent food and service.

Fleming's $$$$
320 E. Second St.
Austin location of well-known, upscale steakhouse.

Hut's Hamburgers $
807 W 6th St.
Tasty burgers with great and varied fixin's, within walking distance of the Congress Street bridge. There's always a 2-for-1 deal (you and another diner must order the same burger), and the onion rings are large and peppery. Get a malt, or a diner-style cherry or vanilla Coke to drink.

Iron Cactus Mexican Grill & Margarita Bar $-$$
606 Trinity St.
Fabulous Mexican food, a great bar, live music, and (according to Spirits and Cocktails magazine) it was voted the 6th best tequila bar in the nation. Casual but sophisticated atmosphere. Local owners.

Kyoto Japanese Restaurant $-$$
315 Congress Ave.
Excellent & elegant sushi selections. Stop by for a quick, inexpensive lunch or visit at night for a relaxed meal in the tatami rooms. Very close to the Driskill.

La Traviata $$$$
314 Congress Ave.
Italian, quite good, not nearly as pricey as Vespaio (listed below). Expect to pay $30-35/person with wine.

Las Manitas $
211 Congress Ave.
Las Manitas serves delicious, fresh, creative and inexpensive interior Mexican and Tex-Mex food. Las Manitas is known for its lunch specials (especially the shrimp enchiladas and fish tacos on Fridays) and serves a terrific breakfast. Las Manitas serves many vegetarian and vegan foods (soybean gluten chorizo, for example), as well as fresh salads, rice milk (horchata) and watermelon juice (agua fresca de sandia).

Manuel's $
310 Congress Ave.
Just north of the river, Manuel's is a nice Mexican place that has an excellent cheap happy hour. Try the queso con hongos. Take advantage of half price appetizers at happy hour.

Mekong River $
215 E. 6th St.
Excellent and inexpensive ($5-10) Vietnamese and Thai food. No beer or wine available, but you can bring in a bottle or a six pack from the convenience store two doors down.

Moonshine $$-$$$
303 Red River St.
Restored old building, nice menu, nice wine list, very nice atmosphere.

Stubbs' Barbecue $$
801 Red River
This is one of our favorite restaurants because of its variety of great sides. The serrano spinach is very yummy and it bites back; the whipped yams are sweet and southern. On Sundays, there's an all-you-can-eat gospel brunch!

Sullivan's $$$$
300 Colorado St.
Austin location of well-known, upscale steakhouse connected with Ringside at Sullivan's, a cigar and jazz lounge featuring live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Z Tejas $$
1110 W 6th St.
For Austin atmosphere, seriously good casual food (especially the chocolate Ancho pie!), and great margaritas. Nice patio for outdoor dining. 1 mile from the Driskill.

UT Campus area

Amy's Ice Cream $
3500 Guadalupe St.
An excellent selection of freshly made, unique ice cream flavors!

Clay Pit $$
1601 Guadalupe St.
Not "authentic" Indian cuisine, but fusion-style food that seems much healthier than your usual Indian fare. Great lunch buffet specials on week days ($6 all-you-can-eat!), in a classy but casual atmosphere.

East Side Café, $$
2113 Manor Rd.
Best described as Austin eclectic. Excellent food and service at reasonable prices featuring a gardening shop and an organic herb and vegetable garden. Particularly noted for their salad dressings, soups and veggies.

Hoover's $
2002 Manor Rd.
How Austin does down-home. Menu features such classic items as chicken fried steak, southern fried pork chops, catfish, barbequed pork ribs, macaroni and cheese, and garlic cheese grits. Also open for breakfast on the weekend featuring breakfast tacos, sweet potato pancakes, and biscuits and gravy.

Kismet Café $
24th and San Antonio
Large portions of good Mediterranean food—great garlicky hummus and really savory chicken schwarma.

Madam Mam's Noodles and More $
2514 Guadalupe St.
Excellent, inexpensive Thai food on UT campus. We recommend everything on the menu!

Ruby's BBQ $
512 W. 29th St.
Good and inexpensive BBQ; fast service, too. Buy some BBQ sauce to take home!

Zen Japanese Fast Food $
3423 N. Guadalupe
Sushi and other good eats for cheap!

Elsewhere, but worth a drive

Ararat $$
111 E North Loop Blvd.
Good Middle Eastern food in vast portions. Atmosphere is nice if you like belly dancers. Bring your own wine.

Fonda San Miguel $$$-$$$$
2330 West North Loop
459-4121 or 459-3401
A 5-star interior Mexican restaurant; great for ambiance as well as food. Tasty mango margaritas and wonderfully aesthetic meals. Entrees range about $15-22. Their verde sauce is amazing! If you have time Sunday, call ahead for the fixed price ($30) all-you-can-eat brunch. It's well worth it––beautiful, unique and delicious foods served by the chef who prepares and garnishes them.

Green Pastures $$$$
811 W. Live Oak
Excellent French cuisine.

Little Deli $
7101 Woodrow Ave. Suite A
Delicious and unique sandwiches. Owners are friendly and enthusiastic, and offer excellent conversations when you order at the counter.

Tam Café and Deli $
8222 N. Lamar Blvd. Suite
Phenomenal French-influenced Vietnamese food. Choose from a huge menu that includes noodle bowls ($6) delicious (and large) sandwiches (grilled pork and egg/shrimp are our favorites, $4), and fabulous appetizers. Take Lamar Blvd. North all the way under the 183 highway; it's oddly located in a characterless corporate strip mall, but the food is wonderful and the owners are absolutely charming. Great for vegetarians as well as meat-eaters.

South of the River

Chuy's $
1728 Barton Springs Rd.
This is (one of) the infamous scene(s) of a famous daughter's attempt(s) at underage drinking. Decent Tex-Mex served in big portions. Décor is Austin-quirky and fun, and you can buy some cool t-shirts.

Curra's $
614 E. Oltorf St.
Good and reasonably priced. You'll pay about $7-12 for an entrée, and less for breakfast items. There are good vegetarian options, and the molé sauce is superb! Great breakfast tacos as well, for meat eaters and veggie-lovers who want to try the Nopalitos tacos (filled with tasty cactus stems!). Buy a souvenir pint glass for only $3.

El Sol Y La Luna $
1224 S. Congress Ave.
El Sol is a local, one-of-a-kind restaurant serving Latin American cuisine. They serve breakfast and lunch every day and dinner Wednesday-Saturday; they have a rotating art exhibit featuring local artists; and they have Indian music on Fridays, Cuban music on Saturdays, and various kinds of music for Sunday brunch.

Green Mesquite $
1400 Barton Springs Rd.
Good and often overlooked BBQ. Cheap, too!

Guero's $
1412 S Congress Ave.
Has good, standard Mexican food in an old building that used to be a feed warehouse. Offers particularly good breakfasts, which sometimes feature live music and dancing. Be forewarned, there's a long wait at peak times (dinner especially).

Jo's Cafe $
1300 S. Congress
Jo's is the ultimate south Austin people experience. It's a small outdoor cafe (by cafe we mean kiosk with a bunch of tables gathered around it) right on South Congress avenue. Along with excellent people watching, Jo's has excellent baked goods, and occasionally there is live music out back.

Jalisco Restaurant and Bar $-$$
414 Barton Springs Rd.
Reliably good interior Mexican food. Eat while listening to live Mariachi bands that play there weekly.

Magnolia Café $-$$
1920 S. Congress Ave.
Magnolia is the quintessential Austin restaurant. it's been here forever and is completely casual and very unpretentious. It's open all night, serves good, big plates of food (including breakfast all day), and has lots of vegetarian options. As a bonus your server is bound to have excellent tattoos.

Shady Grove $
1624 Barton Springs Rd.
Fun place to eat and drink with such Austin favorites as Frito Pie (served in the Frito's bag!) and the Hippie veggie sandwich. Excellent patio seating, often featuring free live music. The wait for a table can sometimes exceed 45 minutes, but it's easy to pass the time by sitting in the outdoor waiting area with a margarita or ice tea, on antique and kitschy lawn furniture.

Threadgill's $
301 W. Riverside Dr. (Cross Street: Barton Springs Road)
An Austin standard! Once the hangout of Janis Joplin, Jimmie Rodgers, Jerry Garcia, Bruce Springsteen and many other musicians that made—and make—their way through Austin. The restaurant features pictures and antiques that recall an older Austin, while catering at the same time to a newer music scene. The food is southern and delicious.

Vespaio $$$$
1610 S. Congress Ave.
Splendid "nouvelle" Italian. Expensive, but very very good. There's usually a long wait, so plan ahead.


Last Updated: March 22, 2006