Winter is officially over and we're now smack dab in the middle of prime patio season here in Austin. These are some of my favorite places to enjoy drinks outside. Ables on the Lake | 3825 Lake Austin Blvd You can’t beat the location, right on Lake Austin. Is it just me or do cocktails taste better when you're looking at a body of water? It’s a great spot to go for lunch as they offer a legendary Bloody Mary served with their signature garnish. They do a Bevo Tea that's super refreshing, and they also have happy hour Monday-Friday, 4-6 pm. Easy Tiger | 709 E. 6th Street They have a great location on 6th Street right along Waller Creek that creates a perfectly relaxing atmosphere. It feels like a Sunday Funday seven days a week here, with everyone mingling at their picnic tables or playing ping-pong. They also make some of the best baked goods in town, so I highly recommend their sandwiches and pretzels. El Alma | 1025 Barton Springs Road Mexican food and a killer patio. The patio is actually located on a deck above the restaurant, and it overlooks downtown and Butler Park. It would be criminal to go to a Mexican restaurant and not order a margarita, so I’d start with that, and then follow it up with some of their addicting sangria. Enjoy their happy hour daily from 3-6 pm. Hotel San Jose | 1316 South Congress Ave This seems to be one of those hidden gems that people often forget about. Their patio is located in their courtyard, next to their pool, and it’s a very chill atmosphere. Be advised that there's a limited food menu, so it’s not the place to go if you're hungry. However, if a cheese plate is what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place. I always get one of their House Specialties as they're some of my favorite cocktails in Austin. The Tropical Sangria is light, refreshing and made for easy drinking, as is the Champassion and Tinto de Verano. I always feel as if I am on vacation when sipping cocktails in their courtyard. Elizabeth Street Café | 1501 South First Street Go for lunch and continue sipping cocktails into the afternoon. Everything I’ve had from here has been delicious, both food and drink. The Green Mango & Cucumber Salad may be one of my favorite salads in Austin, and no meal here is complete without at least one carafe of punch. The punches change seasonally, but are always unique and delicious.Read More
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It’s three in the morning and you’re starving. Where do you eat? Here’s what’s open in Austin, from French bistro to sushi joints, and a 24-hour restaurant. Barchi Sushi Located right in the middle of downtown, Barchi Sushi is the perfect spot for late night dining. The reverse happy hour starts at 10pm and ends at 1:30am with super discounted sushi and drinks. Order a couple pieces of nigiri (starting as low as $1.50), agedashi tofu, and bloody sake mary. Justine’s Justine’s Brasserie serves up high-class French comfort food until 2 am in a casual, eclectic vibe. The menu includes classic French favorites like steak and frites, Coq au Vin with Ratatouille and a straight-up Royale with cheese. Grab a seat at the tiny marble-topped tables and start with the charcuterie plate featuring a trio of homemade pates and potted meats. East Side King Thirsty and have the munchies? Stop by East Side King at The Liberty for Asian street snacks. The Thai Chicken Karaage with deep-fried chicken thigh, sweet-spicy sauce, fresh basil, cilantro mint and onion is out of this world. Don’t forget about Paul Qui’s famous Brussels Sprouts salad with deep-fried roasted beets, kewpie mayo, schichimi togarashi and green onion. 24 Diner Feeling hungry at 3pm? 3am? 24 Diner is open 24 hours serving up elevated comfort food like homemade meatloaf with bacon-braised greens, chicken and waffles, and some of the best mac n’ cheese in town. Explore all our restaurant deals.Read More
Not long ago, Austin was sadly deprived of ramen. Fortunately, several pioneers have introduced this Japanese comfort food to the city in recent years. Austin has finally jumped onto the ramen wagon and as the demand grows, the variety will increase too. Below are a couple spots that are dishing up their unique version of the sought-after noodle dish. Ramen Tatsu-ya Located in North Austin, the wildly popular Ramen Tatsu-ya opens for both lunch and dinner. The chefs at this hip joint take their craft seriously. During lunch, they serve a Tokyo-style chicken based shoyu (soy sauce) ramen with traditional toppings such as melt-in-your-mouth chashu (pork belly), perfectly marinated ajitama (soft boiled egg), nori, menma (bamboo shoots), and white and green onions. For dinner, Ramen Tastu-ya widens their selection. Creamy, porky tonkotsu broth is complimented with sho-yu, miso, or spicy miso. A veggie ramen made with vegan broth is available on Sunday nights. For me, their tsukemen is the menu’s highlight. Guests are presented with al dente noodles alongside a bowl of savory and rich dipping broth. Tatsu-ya spells out 7 ramen rules to promote optimal enjoyment. Sorry, no takeaway allowed! Komé A few years after starting out as a food truck, the sushi aficionado opened their first brick and mortar location. The cozy eatery with a funky vibe offers a variety of lunch options. It transitions to an izakaya-inspired menu for dinner. They recently expanded their lunch-only ramen offering to 5 distinct varieties. Their slow-simmered tonkotsu broth can be served as-is or kicked up with spice. They also offer a miso ramen with a kimchi option. I like that their bowls already come loaded with a range of toppings, from pork belly, to fish cake, to corn. For hot Texas days, they serve up 2 cold, dipping-style noodles: hiyashi chuka (ramen with salmon sashimi) and tenzaru (buckwheat soba with shrimp tempura). A side of pork gyozas always makes a nice companion. Daruma Daruma is a "spin off” from Komé's ramen menu. This boldly decorated Downtown nook is a convenient location for a quick bite. They specialize in simmering a clean, yet complex whole chicken broth. Keeping their menu tight, they spin out three variations: shio (seafood salt base), shoyo (seafood dashi stock and anchovy oil) and miso (miso-tare, ra-yu oil). They designed their eggless, tapioca-based noodles with a springy texture in mind. The bowls are topped with a range of comforting additions, from chashu, chicken breast, seaweed, to bean sprouts. Their vegan ramen is dressed with a vegetable and fruit broth and topped with fresh vegetables, avocado, lime, and ginger oil. My favorite part of dining at Daruma is wrapping up my meal with unusual soft-serves like shiso-umé, yuzu, and wasabi flavors. Michi Ramen Michi Ramen also began as a food truck. One year ago, they launched their spacious brick and mortar location on North Lamar. What makes Michi unique is that diners can choose the thickness of their pork-based broth. The viscosity ranges from light, to regular, to the substantially heavier “stout”. Like their counterparts, Michi also puts their own spin on each bowl. Besides their traditional Sapporo-style ramen (topped with chashu, bean sprouts, corn, wood ear mushrooms and a slab of cold butter), they also dish up some inventive combos. The Texas ramen with a tomato tonkotsu broth is styled with BBQ pork ribs. The lemongrass tonkotsu broth acts as the vehicle for the Thai chili-spiked Jungle ramen. Explore even more dining trends in Austin with our restaurant deals.Read More