Friday, March 16, 2012

Eating Our Way Through Austin, TX (Best Places to Eat)

We can't stop ourselves. We came to Austin very hungry, and we're not leaving until we eat our way through it. Here are all the places we ate over spring break. I'm going to include some helpful information in each description, like what we ate, what dishes are vegetarian friendly, how easy/difficult it is to find parking, the average expense for a meal for 2 and a link to the yelp page. We hope our recommendations help make your trip to Austin enjoyable, or improve your experience in your own city if Austin is home. 

Julio's Cafe- This is my family's all time favorite brunch spot, and we eat breakfast here on Saturday or Sunday every single weekend (my parents go alone when we're not here). Huevos Rancheros are my parent's favorite dish, but Brendan, Graham, and I stick to the breakfast tacos. If you're a vegetarian, opt for the potato, egg, and cheese breakfast taco. It is so good. Parking is easy. Food is very affordable (I think our family of 5 eats for $30 with teas and coffees included). 

Chez Zee American Bistro- I've been eating at Chez Zee forever. It's a fabulous restaurant with a lovely atmosphere. It's very "ladies who lunch." The brunch is not to be missed, and I've enjoyed most dishes here with a nice mimosa. However, they also have excellent selections for lunch and dinner. I LOVE the salads here, and the pecan crusted goat cheese is my favorite, but the Blueberry salad is great as well. It's perfect for vegetarians, but meat eaters will not be disappointed, there are many wonderful selections on the menu. The parking is a bit tricky, but they do offer valet. You can usually skip valet and find something on your own, but having a small car helps. The menu is a bit pricier, with most entrees between $12 and $25. I ate here with a bachelorette party, and Chez Zee was the perfect place. I've always thought it would be great for a shower or rehearsal dinner too. 

Enchilada y Mas- I didn't eat here this break, but my parents took Brendan out, and I've been many times before. My family swears by this place. Brendan got "delicious fajitas" and says "they were awesome and spicy." For vegetarians, try cheese enchiladas. The margaritas are cheap, good, and strong, just the way I like them! The parking is easy and the food is very affordable, with most entrees being under $10. 

Alamo Draft House- (multiple locations in Austin). Every time I'm home, I must see a movie at Alamo, where you can order food while watching the latest films. Every other row is a table, and they also serve beer and wine. The most fun thing is they create "specials" to go along with some of the films. Plus, they have a no children allowed policy (outside of afternoons that are very clearly announced called baby days to give moms a day out) and are very strict about silence and no cell phones or texting during the film. I'm so thankful for a place I can watch movies in peace. There are plenty of vegetarian options, I recommend pizza, which is not only good, but easy to eat while watching a film. Parking at each location is easy. The food has gone up in price though, and it's quite sad how much. Here's my advice. Don't come here to eat "real dinner," eat lunch or a late snack: instead of ordering a small $9 appetizer, opt to share a $10 pizza, it's a lot more filling. Know that traditional movie foods are expensive (candy and popcorn are $6 each) and a glass of wine will set you back $7. If you order smart and pay attention, you can make the experience affordable. Remember, they still offer student discounts for tickets. Bring an ID. 

The Park- This was my first time eating here, and I liked it. We came for brunch, which entails a buffet and a make your own Bloody Mary bar for $5. The mimosas are a little less expensive and offered in 5 flavors. The food is delicious, and concentrates on both breakfast foods and lunch foods. It is nice to not have to wait on food, just get a plate and go. Plenty of vegetarian options here. Parking is easy. Buffet is $15 per person. Plan to spend $20 per person with alcohol. My family of 13 ate here, and it was very accommodating to large parties. 

Salvation Pizza- This place rivals with HomeSlice for my favorite Austin Pizza, but I think Salvation wins. It is New Haven style pizza vs. Homeslice's New York style. You can create your own pizza or order off the menu, and my family does both with great success. They have good beers, and you can share a pitcher with the table. Plenty of options to make a vegetarian more than happy. I like the margarita pizza. Parking is doable, but there is no lot, so you'll have to park in the neighborhood. The prices per pizza run about $15-$18, but it's reasonable, considering that 4 people could split one pizza. If you order beer to share, plan on $10 per person plus tip. 

Kerbey Lane Cafe- (Multiple locations in Austin).  Every time I'm in Austin, I must, must, must eat at Kerbey Lane. It makes a fabulous place for breakfast, but you won't be disappointed with lunch or dinner offerings. Try the pancakes. I even buy the mix to make at home. They're so good! The seasonal menu does delightful things with fresh, local ingredients. This place is super vegetarian and vegan friendly, with the menu marked to make ordering easy. They even have yummy vegan pancakes. Parking is easy at most locations (exception: the one on Kerbey Lane, where it can often be a challenge, but usually neighborhood parking can be found). The price is reasonable, with many entrees offered under the $10 range. 

Toy Joy- You can't really eat here, it's a toy store, but I do recommend stopping in for a delightful bubble tea. My favorite flavor is coconut. 

Imperia- Imperia is an amazing sushi place, and Brendan and I took advantage of a recent Groupon offer to make eating here a bit more affordable. The sushi is divine, and one of the best sushi places in Austin (I'll tell you about other places another time, keep reading, dear reader). Our rolls: BBQ Salmon skin (interesting and unique, try it), Red Devil (spicy and delightful), Bank (my favorite, cream cheese, oh yeah), and 4138 (really tasty). The wine is expensive by the glass ($10), but a nice addition to the meal. Vegetarians, there are offers here, but I always cheat when it comes to sushi, sorry. Parking is a terrible pain, bring $7 for the valet, it is so worth it. We didn't have cash and poor Brendan spent $10 and half an hour parking. With alcohol, appetizer, wine, and tip, Brendan and I spent about $90. Our Groupon took $30 off the bill. A nice splurge for a fun date out. The atmosphere here is fancy and romantic. The service exceptional. Afterwards, why don't you head down the street to...

The Ginger Man- This is a fun bar with an amazing selection of beers and ample comfortable seating. Brendan pick out my beer for me: Blanche de Bruxlles, which was so heavenly and light, I'm still dreaming about it. For those that know me: it came with a slice of lemon. Divine. Beers are about $5-$6 dollars each, and you'll have your choice of over 100 (on tap + bottles). Parking-again a total pain, this place is right near Imperia. I recommend doing both in the same evening, that way you won't get double slammed on parking. 

Avenue B Grocery- I've been coming here since high school, so this old time grocery store is chalked full of memories for me. From the moment you step in, you'll be delighted with the selection of old candies and sodas. The food (sandwiches and soups) is absolutely delicious. Vegetarians- try the apple and brie sandwich on health nut bread, you won't be sorry. Owner Ross has been here forever, trust his taste, I promise. I also like the deviled eggs. Parking, pretty easy, the neighborhood usually has plenty. Price: sandwiches are under $10. Plan to add $2 for an old time bottled drink and $1 for 2 deviled eggs. About $10/person exactly. 

Yogurtland- The first chain I've mentioned, but it is so good. I'm a Yogurtland addict.  Create your own yogurt from about 16 flavor choices (rotating) plus toppings. The fresh fruit is amazing. The parking is easy. The price is more than fair at 33 cents/ounce. They have free flavored water. Yum. 

Austin Terrier- New to my neighborhood, but we've been twice and loved it both times. Good pizza, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Amazing beer and wine selection. I love everything I've tried, and there are tons of offerings for vegetarians. Parking is simple. Price: entrees are under $10, but you'll spend more if you drink the amazing selection of alcohol (duh).  

Magnolia Cafe (multiple Austin locations). A lot like Kerbey Lane. Good breakfast (yummy pancakes), good lunch and dinner. Good beer selection. I happen to prefer Kerbey, but it's just personal, and a true Austinite always has one favorite between the two. That said, I'd still never pass up a chance to eat at Magnolia. I love it, and it's very vegetarian friendly (I had a delicious veggie stir fry this time). Parking, a bit tricker than Kerbey, but doable, unless you come at a crowded time. Price: Under $10 per entree.

Mother's Cafe and Garden- Vegetarians/Vegans rejoice, you need to eat here! Everything on the menu was made just for you. Brendan and I split the Jamaican stir fry, a favorite dish of mine, but seriously, everything here is good. If you're a smoothie fan, get the energizer, and thank me later. Parking-Usually easy. Price- Affordable, with most entrees between $10-$15. To make it more affordable, just split something. The desserts here, FYI, are amazing as well.

Blue Dahlia Bistro- Thank goodness for my bestie Corley, who introduced me to this wonderful place. Where do I start? Breakfast is amazing. Lunch is amazing. I love it all. Mimosas are $2. Everything made with local, organic, fresh ingredients. Today, I had the brie, walnut, apricot sandwich and I'm still reeling. Do yourself a favor and split, the offerings here are really big. We didn't split, but it was all we're eating for hours and hours. Parking is so/so (I believe because of SXSW), but you'll find it if you're patient. Price is incredible. HONESTLY. We each had a meal, shared a fruit salad, and I had a mimosa all for $22 (before tip). You can't beat it. GO!

One thing I just love about Austin is the food. We're thankful to my parents, who have treated us to a few of these meals. We've spent little more than our average Midland grocery bill in the week here really. Our tips? Split a meal when possible. Limit alcohol to 1 drink when eating out. Use Groupon or Living Social or Yelp deals. Know that you'll be in Austin? Ask for giftcards for your birthday or Christmas if someone requests an idea. We had one to Alamo Draft house that covered our whole date, and what a nice present that was!

Here's to eating out! Bon' Appetit!
<3 S, B, L&Z 


  1. I'm so glad you put ave. B I was gonna say something if you didn't good times at lunch :)
    -Danielle Barr

  2. I'm so glad you read Danielle! I miss you and wish you still lived here, so we could hang out like the good old days. I saw Cassie last night!

    1. it would be great to get the group back together! I always talk about our very long lunch breaks.

  3. Great list! I want to go back to Austin and eat :)

  4. I love Enchiladas Y Mas and Mothers. Here's my list!

  5. Cool list Sarah, thanks for sharing! Let me also recommend (from pre-vegetarian days-chicken fried chicken at Threadgills. Think you would love it. I love that place too!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...