2015 Austin City Guide – Eating in West Austin

AFBACityGuideLogo800

I love west Austin. I love the hills, the oak trees, and of course the delicious food. The first time I really appreciated how gorgeous Austin is was while driving on Mopac (pre-construction, of course) and especially 360 several years ago, so naturally I tend to gravitate westward when spending time in Austin.

That said, west Austin is a pretty large region (I’m defining it as everything west of Mopac or 183, whichever is farther west), so the restaurants listed in this post are not comprehensive. There a selection of some of my favorites and some ones I’d especially like to try. Enjoy!


Southwest

For the sake of this post, I’m defining southwest as west of Mopac and south of Bee Caves Rd.


Pieous



I wish this place was closer to the city (it’s just barely in Austin), or I’d visit it way more often. As it is, it’s become my favorite food stop on the way to/from the hill country. First, it’s adorable. I love the chalkboard-art-covered walls, the wooden wall wine display with paper tags for wine info, the marble tables, the exposed lightbulbs hanging over the bar, and more. I could keep going.



And their food is delicious. While margherita tends to be my go-to pizza elsewhere, The Simplicity is actually my favorite here. They also have a good selection of beers and wines on tap, and their desserts look divine.

What to Order: The Simplicity. I’ve also heard the pastrami sandwiches and the panna cotta are awesome.

Closest Freeway/Highway: 290

12005 U.S. 290 West, Austin, TX 78737 • T-F 11-2 & 4-9 Sa 11-9 Su 11-8 • https://www.facebook.com/Pieous


The Grove

20140330-221049.jpg

I love a good restaurant patio, especially one with gorgeous oak trees shading it, so I guess I’m lucky I live in Austin. That said, of all of the tree-shaded patios in Austin, this is a particularly impressive one. This tree is gorgeous and covers the entire patio, and at night they have beautiful lights strung across the patio. Just gorgeous.

20140330-221127.jpg

And in addition to atmosphere, The Grove has excellent food and a great wine menu. I generally get their mediterranean pizza, but my group and I have generally loved everything they make (bruschetta, soup, salads, sandwiches). Want to hear more? Check out my full blog post.

What to Order: Mediterranean pizza

Closest Freeway/Highway: 360

6317 Bee Caves Road, Austin, TX 78746 • Su-Th 11-10 F-Sa 11-11 • http://grovewinebar.com


Southwest Austin Food I’d Like to Try

Midway Food Park – This looks like a great place to check out a variety of food trucks in West Austin. They have a nice setting with picnic tables, oak trees and umbrellas to provide shade for midday visits, a stage for live music, and even a cute neon sign at the entrance. I’d especially like to try the Maine Event lobster roll from Dock & Roll. 1905 S Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746 • M-Th 11-8:30 F 11-9 Sa 10-9 Su 10-8:30 • http://www.themidwayfoodpark.com

Jack Allen’s Kitchen – Serving farm to table comfort food, I’ve been hearing awesome things about this place for a while. FYI if you consider doing brunch there, it’s buffet-only and expect an hour-long wait if you don’t make a reservation. 7720 Highway 71 West, Austin, TX 78735 • M-Th 11-10 F-Sa 11-11 Su 10-10 & Brunch 10-2 • http://www.jackallenskitchen.com


West

For the sake of this post, I’m defining west as west of Mopac, north of Bee Caves Rd, and south of the point where Mopac and 183 cross.


Chez Zee

20140507-224546.jpg

I love Chez Zee for its fun, eclectic decor, its beautiful vine-enclosed patio, and its delicious brunch food. While you might find more unusual brunch dishes elsewhere in Austin, Chez Zee makes their food well and creates a great overall brunch experience.

20140507-224618.jpg

I love that they bring fresh croissants and strawberry whipped cream cheese before your meal. They have a good variety of takes on eggs Benedict and they have a fun list of brunch drinks. Want to hear more about brunch at Chez Zee? Check out my full blog post.

What to Order: Smoked salmon Benedict

Closest Freeway/Highway: Mopac

5406 Balcones Dr, Austin, TX 78731 • M-Th 11-10 F 11-midnight Sa 9-midnight Su 9-10 • http://www.chez-zee.com


Mozart’s

20140330-125626.jpg

Mozart’s is another favorite oak-covered deck on my list. Check it out on a nice day (or stick to the smaller covered deck spaces on a not-so-nice day), bring a book or your laptop, grab a coffee and a pastry, and spend some time relaxing and watching the turtles, ducks, and boats on the lake.

20140330-125532.jpg

My sister first introduced me to this place, and I’ve been in love with it since. She also introduced me to the fact that you can get breakfast tacos here if you go early in the morning on weekends (I think they get them from one of the restaurants nearby, and they sell out quickly). They’re pretty delicious.

20130427-8833

Want to hear more? Check out my full blog post and my post on their holiday light show.

What to Order: Mexican hot chocolate (or other hot chocolate flavors near the holidays), cinnamon roll without icing, breakfast tacos if you arrive early on the weekend

Closest Freeway/Highway: Mopac

3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703 • M-Th 7-midnight F 7-1a Sa 8-1a Su 8-midnight • http://www.mozartscoffee.com


Torchy’s Tacos

20140402-223049.jpg

This restaurant is all over the Austin area now, and I love that. I’ve never had a taco I disliked here, and you get amazing food for a good price. One taco is enough for a meal when I’m not super hungry. I’ve tried so many tacos on their menu (including the awesome tacos of the month that they come up with) and loved them all, but the favorite I keep coming back to is the Baja Shrimp taco. Yum. I’ve also heard they’re one of the best places in Austin to eat queso, so that’s on my to-do list for my next visit.

What to Order: Queso, the Baja Shrimp taco, the taco of the month

Closest Freeway/Highway: Mopac

4211 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759 • M-Th 7-10 F 7-11 Sa 8-11 Su 8-10 • http://torchystacos.com/


P. Terry’s

20141210-6728

P. Terry’s was one of the first really good local fast food burgers I tried in Austin. That was years ago when they were still only on S Lamar. Now they’re all over Austin, just as good of quality ingredients, and still as delicious. I love that each location has a totally different architecture design with a retro 1950s burger stand look. It’s also pretty cool that they keep doggie biscuits on hand for their diners’ best friends.

What to Order: Burger, fries, seasonal shake

Closest Freeway/Highway: 360

701 S Capital of Texas Hwy • M-Th 7-10 F 7-11 Sa 8-11 Su 8-10 • http://www.pterrys.com/


West Austin Food I’d Like to Try

Troy – Delicious-looking Turkish food. I hear the beef iskender and the mixed plate are good. 8105 Mesa Dr, Austin, TX 78759 • M 10-2:30 Tu-F 10-9 Sa-Su noon-9 • https://www.facebook.com/troy.restaurantaustin

Xiang Yun Tea Room – If you want to travel the world but just can’t quite get away right now, this sounds like a taste of travel close to home. The Buddhist temple on 360 now serves a set vegetarian lunch in its tea room. The few Yelp reviews of this so far are glowing and the food photos make my mouth water. You can bet I’ll be checking this out soon. 6720 N Capital of Texas Highway, Austin, TX 78731 • Tu-F 11-2 Sa-Su noon-4 • http://www.ibps-austin.org (check out the Yelp page for info about the tea room, though)


Northwest

For the sake of this post, I’m defining northwest as west of 183 and north of where 183 and Mopac cross.


Pour House Pints and Pies

20140507-225839.jpg

I never noticed any of the predecessors to this restaurant that faces Jollyville Rd, but as soon as Pour House opened I felt drawn to check it out. They improved on the location significantly by adding a big, shaded patio seating area that just calls to you when you drive by. They have a good beer selection and a great atmosphere, and I enjoy their pizza (particularly the Rasta with its pesto sauce base).

20140507-230053.jpg

This place is a great find tucked away in the Northwest Austin neighborhoods, but it’s definitely no secret. I often see its patio full and parking lot overflowing, so plan to arrive early for happy hour or dinner if you want to avoid the wait and park in the lot.

What to Order: The Rasta, Potato Pizza, The Mexico

Closest Freeway/Highway: 183

11835 Jollyville Rd, Austin, TX 78759 • M-F 11-midnight Sa 11-1a Su 11-midnight • http://pourhousepintsandpies.com


Blue Baker

20130608-9547

This is actually an Austin branch of a small College Station bakery/cafe chain. If you’re looking for interesting flavors of fresh bread in Northwest Austin, check this place out. They have a rotating bread flavor selection (calendar of flavors posted online), and I’ve liked just about every one I’ve tried. I also love a couple of the pizzas I’ve tried here.

IMG_0016

Bonus tip: If you’re cost-conscious and don’t mind slightly-less-fresh bread, check their day-old selection, priced at half off. Just make sure you eat it quickly, as like all bakery bread it doesn’t contain the preservatives that extend the shelf life of grocery store breads.

What to Order: Neapolitan pizza, BBQ pork pizza, mocha brownie, foccacia, any of the specialty breads

Closest Freeway/Highway: 183

10000 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78759 • Daily 7-10 • http://www.bluebaker.com/


Rudy’s

20121027-6775

The Austin area has so many excellent BBQ options, but Rudy’s is still one of my favorites, and this location is my favorite Rudy’s in Austin. They have good Texas BBQ and sides at good prices in a laid-back environment. Their counter ordering system and picnic tables make it easy to bring a group here, especially if you have people arriving at different times or you want to be able to sit and catch up for a while without being rushed out.

20100606-0695crop

Likewise, when we don’t have time to make dinner but would rather have something a step up from fast food, Rudy’s is our go-to. It’s fast (unless you go during the weekend dinner rush hour), transports easily, and we’re usually in the mood for it. AND it’s economical in large quantities. I know others who have used their group meals for large family events, and we used Rudy’s catering for our wedding a few years ago (it was a hit, especially with the people from out of state). Oh, and if you’re a Texan homesick for Texas BBQ (or know one you want to do something nice for), you can actually order a brisket by mail surprisingly easily.

What to Order: Brisket, sausage (regular or jalapeño), turkey, creamed corn, potato salad, beans, banana pudding

Closest Freeway/Highway: 183

11570 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78759 • M-Th 6-9:30 F-Sa 6-10 Su 7-9:30 • http://www.rudysbbq.com/


Northwest Austin Food I’d Like to Try

Saccones – I plan to check out this New-Jersey-style pizza soon. 11416 FM 620 North, Austin, TX 78726 • M-Sa 11-10 Su 11-9 • http://saccones.com

Noble Sandwich Co – I’d like to try the duck pastrami sandwich here. And just about everything else on the menu. Yum. 12233 620 N, Austin, TX 78750 • M-Th 10-8 F 10-9 Sa-Su 8-9 • http://noblesandwiches.com

Asia Cafe – I haven’t successfully made it here yet (FYI if you go for lunch, plan to eat early to miss the rush), but I’ve heard the food is excellent. 8650 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759 • Daily 11-9 • http://www.asiacafetx.com

Chen’s Noodle House – A smaller restaurant in the same center as Asia Cafe, I hear this place makes excellent food (especially noodles). I think it would make a great date night sometime when we’re feeling antsy to travel and don’t have a big trip coming up. 8650 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759 • M 11-9 W-Su 11-9 • No website


Near Lake Travis

Considering a drive out to Lake Travis? Here are a couple of my favorite restaurants in the area.


Hudson’s on the Bend

20140510-195158.jpg

This is another one of my favorite oak-covered outdoor seating atmospheres. You get what you pay for at Hudson’s: An interesting menu including game meat that you don’t often see in restaurants (elk, rattlesnake, buffalo, rabbit), and it’s all excellently executed (game meat doesn’t have to taste gamey).

20140510-195415.jpg

At $30 to $55 per entree, it’s more of a special occasion restaurant for us, and unlike many restaurants in this bracket it actually feels special when we go there. Their choice of dishes and flavor combinations are unique and delicious, their wine list is great (they’re happy to split a glass between two people with differing wine preferences if you’d rather not drive back to Austin buzzed), and the atmosphere is excellent both inside and outside. I particularly love the outdoor tables surrounded by huge beautiful twinkle-lit oak trees.

20140510-195135.jpg

What to Order: If you’re dining for two, order the rattlesnake appetizer to start, and the Espresso/chocolate/chili-rubbed smoked elk backstrap (my favorite) and the Hudson’s mixed grill for your entrees. You won’t regret it.

Closest Freeway/Highway: 620

3509 RR 620 N, Austin, TX 78734 • TWTh 6-10pm, FSa 5:30-10pm, SuM 6-9pm • https://www.hudsonsonthebend.com/


Iguana Grill

I tend to prefer smaller restaurants, so if you’re looking for something a little more intimate than The Oasis with equally good views, check out Iguana Grill. They have excellent chips and salsa, good food, and gorgeous views of the lake from a large casual patio. Check their website for a live music schedule.

What to Order: Fajitas

Closest Freeway/Highway: 620

2900 Ranch Rd 620 N, Austin, TX 78734 • Daily 11-10 • http://www.iguanagrillaustin.com/

Advertisements

One thought on “2015 Austin City Guide – Eating in West Austin

  1. Pingback: 2015 Austin City Guide – Eating in Round Rock and Pflugerville | The Food Goob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s