1302 S. First
Mystery Mondays are the staple at this Tex-Mex restaurant – perfect for those avoiding nearby South Congress chaos. Every week, Christine Albert and Bill Kirchen join a surprise guest in what usually turns out to be an unrehearsed yet can’t-be-missed jam session loved by locals. During the rest of the week, the all-ages (and dog-friendly) patio stage is frequented by country, blues, and rock & roll staples in the Austin scene.
Fresh seafood from Gulf Coast and West Coast waters appears in a variety of enticing forms. Plump Gulf shrimp, arranged on a luxurious pool of silken atole corn sauce, are topped with a crunchy crown of Manchego cheese and herbed bread crumbs, and enlivened by a piquant chile arbol aioli and flavor bombs of grilled cherry tomatoes. But be warned, the dessert menu will leave you wanting more.
1816 S. First, 512/401-3161
Chef Alma Alcocer-Thomas' take on casual Mexico City cuisine is approachable, affordable, and delicious. Brunch includes Huevos Franceses, made with eggs and spinach resting on corn pudding; or Thomas' version of migas, called Huevos Revueltos. Throw down a Mimosa Feliz and don't miss the gorgeous views from the upstairs patio.
1025 Barton Springs Rd., 512/609-8923
This Austin-style Tex-Mex joint has been family-owned since the Fifties. Try the cabrito, and stay for the mariachi trio that plays Thursdays through Saturdays.
2910 S. Congress, 512/444-6696