Dining Del Lago

Low water, haute dining

Lakeside Roulette

Estimated meal cost per person:
$ = <$10; $$ = $10-25; $$$ = $25-40; $$$$ = $40+


Fine Dining

Cafe CastroNova The eclectic menu includes everything from Russian-style beef stroganoff to jambalaya. Before you end the evening, stop by the Casbah for a cigar. 900 RR 620 S. Ste. C-104, Lakeway, 512/263-3322. $$$

The Emerald Restaurant For more than 20 years, this cozy, candlelit cottage has been known for voluptuous European meals with ample cuts of meat, fish, and fowl, and a lengthy, expensive wine list to match. 13614 Hwy. 71 W., 963-4272. $$$$

Hill Country Pasta House We loved the pizza with sun-dried tomatoes and melting morsels of Texas chèvre – it's worth the drive from town. 3519 FM 620 N., 266-9445. $$

Rocco's Grill This festive, theatrically decorated family restaurant dishes up classic Italian food with a Texas twang. 900 RR 620 S. Ste. A-106, 263-8204. $$$

Steiner Ranch Steakhouse It doesn't come any more authentic than the Steiner Ranch Steakhouse. If you're not in the mood for steak, try the excellent double-bone pork chop. 5424 Steiner Ranch Blvd., 381-0800. $$$$

American Cafes

Fion Wine Pub & Bistro The inventive American bistro fare focuses on quality ingredients. The huge stock of beers, ales, wines, and Belgian and Lambic brews draws a good crowd. 2900 N. Quinlan Park Rd. Ste. A-150, 266-FION. $$$

The Gnarly Gar Shrimp Diablo, crab cakes, burgers, and Delayne's Fried Pickles keep exhausted boaters happy after a hot day on the lake. 18200 Lakepoint Cove, Point Venture, 512/267-1845. $$

The Grille at Rough Hollow provides casual fine dining by the lake. The crispy pickles, half-price during happy hour, are served with an intense Creole mustard sauce. The delicate panko breading and crispy chicken make the chicken marsala pasta a standout. 103 Yacht Club Cove, Lakeway, 512/261-3444. $$$

Lee's Almost by the Lake Carnivores will love the Leeburger, a huge double-meat, double-cheese hamburger stuffed with fresh jalapeños. The Philly Cheesesteak is also terrific. Stop by for takeout on your way to Pace Bend Park. 801 Pace Bend Rd., Spicewood, 512/264-2552. $

Moon River Bar & Grill Try some lake-style living at this friendly bar that offers three squares and snacks besides. 2002 N. Pace Bend Rd., Spicewood, 512/264-2064. $$

Poodie's Hilltop Road­house A place with music mojo and damn fine burgers, Poodie's channels old Austin music treasures like Soap Creek and Checkered Flag. Don't miss the Poodie Burger. 22308 Hwy. 71 W., Spicewood, 512/264-0318. $

Ski Shores Cafe After a major renovation, Austin's "oldest family establishment" still serves up great music as well as burgers and cold brews. 2905 Pearce, 394-7511. $$

True Grits Texas Bar & Grill The food is of the real-deal, made-from-scratch, Texas-cafe variety. Beef anchors the menu, assisted by chicken-fried everything. Dozens of homemade pies and sturdy coffee round out the offerings. 18645 FM 1431, Jonestown, 267-4749. $$

Deli/Sandwiches

The Market at Steiner Ranch may look like a neighborhood convenience grocery, but inside, there's a chef-run delicatessen specializing in premium quality hot and cold deli sandwiches, soups, deli salads, catering, and gourmet meals to go. 4300 N. Quinlan Park Rd. #120, 266-8808. $

Barbecue

Lighthouse Bar-BQ & Grill Located above the Briarcliff Marina, this place is the ticket for great barbecue, fancy sides, and tender steaks. 406 Sleat Dr., Spicewood, 512/264-7040. $$

Buster's BBQ Buster's meats are smoked over green pecan wood in a custom-made smoker, East Texas style. Try the Garlic Bomb: a pork shoulder studded throughout with garlic cloves prior to smoking. 2125 Lohmans Crossing, Lakeway, 512/263-2340. $

R.O.'s Outpost B-B-Q A complete barbecue menu is available, as well as chicken-fried steak and fried quail. No matter how much you eat, you gotta save room for the pies and cobblers. 22112 Hwy. 71 W. #2, Spicewood, 512/264-1169. $$

Smokey J's Barbeque is a definitive Texas barbecue joint with window service, picnic tables, and a smoking pit out back. Meat is available by the sandwich, the plate, or the pound, and it's still BYOB. 7008 RR 620 N., 331-4888. $

Southwestern, Mexican

Carlos'n Charlie's "No shirt, no shoes, no problem." Local music happens every weekend over the summer, so try the grilled shrimp, fajitas, or crispy chicken salad while you party. 5973 Hiline Rd., 266-1683. $$

Dee Dee's Tacos & More Everything in this bright, clean, charming establishment set back from the road is homemade: the fluffy flour tortillas, the superb salsa, the creamy refried beans, and the menudo served on Saturdays and Sundays. 7717 Lohmans Ford Rd., Lago Vista, 512/267-2300. $

Iguana Grill A medium-priced menu offers most of the standards, but the flautas and sauces really stand out. Fabulous margaritas and a stellar beer selection go well with the killer view. 2900 RR 620 N., 266-8439. $$

Los Pinos Restaurant provides Tex-Mex with a bit of Southwestern cuisine mixed in for flair. Be sure to try the fish borracho: tilapia swimming in chipotle-cream sauce, corn, and mushrooms. 4919 Hudson Bend Rd., 266-3231. $$

The Oasis Live music and great food continue on the terrace at the "sunset capital of Texas." It's still the perfect ending to a day on the lake. 6550 Comanche Trail, 266-2442. $$

Rosie's Tamale House With a quarter-century in Austin dishing out tamales and fajitas, Rosie's also boasts homemade pralines. 13436 Hwy. 71 W., 263-5245. $

Two Hot Mamas Grill was started by a pair of longtime Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival winners. The concept at lunch and dinner is "build-your-own" – choose a base item (burrito, tacos, tostadas, torta) plus a meaty filling, add toppings, and finish with a salsa or dip. 2418 RR 620 S., Lakeway, 512/992-2136. $

Vivo The original Manor Road location won a Chronicle Restaurant Poll award for Best Bathroom, but the puffy tacos are also worthy of your attention. 12233 RR 620 #105, 331-4660. $$

Asian

Pao's Mandarin House One of few Asian eateries in the Lakeway area, this Chinese restaurant offers daily lunch and dinner specials as well as delivery. 2300 Lohmans Spur #134, Lakeway, 512/263-8869. $$

Thai Spice In a bright space that belies its location in a strip mall, you'll find a fairly complete selection for the Siam-deprived with a menu heavy on the seafood. 1310 RR 620 S. Ste. 7-A, 263-2221. $$

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