Located in Arboretum, the Cool River Cafe is a steakhouse and grill. If you think a 'steakhouse' is an embellishment for 'place where cowboys carve into meat', you will be pleasantly surprised. The elegant and formal ambiance of the Cool River Cafe is often a platform for business meetings and wooing couples. Master chef Jamie Gutierrez serves up some of the most delicious Certified Angus Beef steaks (Steak Oscar's a pick) and seafood (Devil Creek Shrimp wins this one) with excellent pairings from the 375 vintages wine list. Ideal for those looking to make their first impression a lasting one.
The Mesa Ranch could've been a hunter's lodge and you wouldn't have known the difference. Hats and lassos hang casually around the restaurant and you smell leather in the air. Pick a bar stool to be served a stiff drink, head out to the patio and you'll be served a traditional southwestern ranch meal. Expect steaks, seafood, chicken and game cooked over mesquite. The Mesa Ranch specialties are the nopalitos, cactus soaked in tequila brine and grilled poblano. They don't come much more rustic than this. The live music is southern but unlike the usual honky tonk.
400 Colorado Street Austin, TX 78701 +1 512 482 9000
With art-deco charm well in place, the wooden interiors and comfy booths make Truluck's extremely inviting. Given Truluck's 'commitment to crabs', no one doubts the restaurant's long standing relationship with seafood. The tiger shrimp, Brazilian pacu fish and virtually all of the appetizers come in large portions. To narrow down the array of entrées, pick from the salmon and flounder. Truluck's also serves steaks and chops but if you're at a place known for its seafood, why crawl back to land??
705 Colorado Street Austin, TX 78701 +1 512 482 8988
The remodeled Jean Luc's Bistro is now the Athenian Grill. Serving lunch (cafeteria style, ordering a la carte will take longer) and dinner, the restaurant has everything one would expect of a Greek grill. The mezze platter is well populated, with dolmades, spanakopita and tiropita and the lamb preparations are always a good choice. The entrées come with bread and salad. It does not have much to offer in terms of a wine list, apart from the Makedonikos Tsantali. The Athenian Grill serves an assortment of desserts. For those unsure, look around you. As they say, when in Austin, do as the Athenians .
The Shoal Creek Saloon is a sports bar that serves great Cajun food. The gumbos are good, the burgers are meaty and you can pick any seafood item cooked creole style. The Shoal Creek Saloon also has daily specials for lunch and dinner. If you're into catfish, crawfish or shrimp, try the po'boys. Better yet, make yourself comfortable with the all-you-can-eat catfish lunch buffet and the coinciding happy hour. The TVs always have a game on, the Shoal Creel Saloon also features live bands. Perfect for a guys night out or lunch with the family.
Evangeline's Cafe gets its name from a Longfellow poem and you're forgiven if you're surprised. True, the stuffed animals and neon beer signs don't say Longfellow but diners don't come here expecting a romantic setting for two either. It's for the food and the live music. The kitchen at Evangeline's holds its own in the cajun and creole department, the signature dishes being the gumbo and the crawfish, both with ample meat and cheese. The cafe features new acts every night and the dancing is sure to help you burn some calories. Ignore the no frills impression that you get when you first walk into Evangeline's Cafe and you're guaranteed to have a good time.
701 Congress Avenue Stephen F. Austin Hotel Inter-Continental Austin, TX 78701 +1 512 583 0000
This local favorite doesn't disappoint even the hungriest cowboy. Southwest favorites offered in huge portions are served with a bevy of libations to boot. Think saloon atmosphere with bistro fare but don't be fooled, the food packs a big punch. Try the green Chile mac and cheese or their ever-so-juicy 22oz bone-in ribeye, to make you remember why you love Texas cooking. Locals can't get enough of the oven baked kettle of green Chile pork stew. The mood here is just as lively as the food, thanks to tasty drinks like the Roaring margaritas and their kicking Happy Hour specials.
314 Congress Avenue Austin, TX 78701 +1 512 479 8131
If you're not tired of Italian cuisine, La Traviata gives you another reason to smile. Chef Gilchrist prepares innovative dishes of chicken, duck and other meats to suit every palette. The staff know their food, so feel free to ask for advice if you're not sure what to order. It's not surprising to find the restaurant crowded; reservations are wise. The all time Italian classic dessert, Tiramisu, is a must-try at La Traviata. The romantic interior makes it the ideal place to bring that special someone.
This Mexican eatery serves homemade grub in a home-like setting. The aroma of Corn Tortillas and Migas waft around as you are seated in a small area surrounded by bar stools. A great place for breakfast, it is pretty busy at other times as well. Those with vegan cravings, try the vegetarian enchiladas. Others can gorge on are Gorditas, Queso, Chalupa, and of course, tacos. Beer, margaritas, Cimichuri and Salsa Roja are available.
A cheap and satisfying eatery for barbecue lovers and non lovers, Green Mesquite offers it all; from lean and tender pork ribs, 'po' boys' to vegetable burgers. Sip on a chilled beer while you dig into your Chicken Fried Steak in the cheery outdoor courtyard or roll up your sleeves for the all-you-can-eat special. They also offer Low Carb Plates for the health conscious and reasonable Kid's Plates served with fries. Live music, succulent barbecue, beer and bright sunlight; this is a little piece of Texan barbecue paradise.
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