There is much to love about modern Austin dining. With so many new restaurants and bars, chefs and beverage directors are getting creative in showcasing their offerings with theme nights, specials and happy hours. No matter what night you’re heading out, check the list below for summer specials to make any night a cause for culinary celebration.
On Sundays, La Condesa goes off-menu with a “Sunday Cena” of goat four ways. The goat is prepared as croquettes, grilled loin, ribs and barbacoa; it's supplemented with tortillas, borracho beans and cured nopales (cactus paddles). There’s also a butterscotch cajeta blondie with ice cream for dessert. The dinner is served Sundays only from 5-10 pm at $80 per group of four.
There’s an open secret about Jeffrey’s wine list: On Sunday nights, all bottles are half-off, with no exceptions. Bargain hunters can use this to buy grower Champagne for as low as $44 a bottle, while big spenders can splash out on trophy bottles from Colgin, Peter Michael or Domaine de la Romanée Conti and save several hundred dollars. There’s also a family-style Sunday chicken dinner special, complete with spring greens panzanella, potato purée and crispy Brussels sprouts served for $75.
Péché has long been a happy hour and cocktail favorite, but don’t look past the seasonal and farm-driven food menu. On Sundays and Mondays this summer, the bar offers a “dinner for two” special at market pricing ($24-$29) combining a protein with seasonal produce. The menu varies weekly, but recent offerings have included a roasted pork loin with confit Johnson’s Backyard Garden eggplant and purple potatoes and a lamb shank with Johnson’s red potatoes, carrots and spring onions. Since Péché also does an all night happy hour on Mondays (with select $5 cocktails), it’s a great value for a nice early week date.
Andrew Wiseheart and Ben Edgerton’s vegetable-driven East Austin spot decided earlier this year to give diners an affordable path to sampling their menu: on Mondays, they feature a four-course dinner for just $28 per person. Dishes in recent weeks include okra prepared three ways; watermelon with turnips, beets and sour peanuts; and Ribeye with zucchini, Yukon gold potatoes and basil puree. The menu is served in the main dining room and the patio bar. For summer only, they’ll extend the prix-fixe to all other nights as well at a price of $38 per person. This is a great chance to dine well while still keeping the check reasonable.
Jacoby’s has begun a new charitable tradition with “Burger Tuesdays.” The concept is simple: on Tuesdays, diners ordering the burger special (a hormone-free patty from the Jacoby ranch topped with local produce) will see the restaurant match their order with a burger donation to the Capital Area Food Bank. In June, 137 burgers were donated to CAFB as a result of the promotion. While you’re dining, grab wine from the thoughtfully selected menu — the list is short but well-curated and food friendly.
North Austin seafood fans will find much to like at the beautiful new Garbo’s brick-and-mortar. On Tuesdays, oysters are discounted to $2 each, and a selected bottle of bubbles is on offer at $5 per glass. Garbo’s full regular menu of lobster rolls, shrimp cocktail and other sea-based offerings is available to supplement your meal.
Jesse Griffiths and Dai Due continue to go from strength to strength: a hit from day one, Dai Due remained packed from open to close by simply delivering the goods. This locally sourced Manor Road gem has always had a thing for theme nights, but our current favorite is the “Wild Card,” the Wednesday night menu that focuses on wild game and foraged items. Griffiths is a hunter and butcher and shows great skill in the kitchen with his game. Wednesdays at Dai Due offer the chance to see the chef working with products he’s incredibly passionate about and to try something far from the norms of a traditional dinner menu. For those a bit less adventurous, Sunday’s fried chicken night is another great pick here.
Shane Shark’s new east side seafood shack Mongers has been drawing consistent crowds with the Gulf seafood-focused menu, but Wednesday afternoons are the best time to visit. A new “oyster social” brings half-price oysters and $5 wines by the glass to the menu from 2-6 pm, with the standard menu also available.
During the work week, it’s always good to know of a happy hour that lasts beyond your time at the office. New Italian entrant Juliet has launched with a summer happy hour running until 7 pm daily, with half-price glasses of rosé as a summer centerpiece. This applies to all rosés on the glass pour menu, so pair one with a $6 happy hour pizza or a discounted cheese or charcuterie plate. For those who prefer other tipple, $7 cocktail and $4 beer specials are also available during the happy hour window.
A favorite of Austin’s adventurous foodies, qui’s patio pulutan menu showcases Paul Qui’s Filipino heritage with a collection of traditional dishes. Among them, crowd favorites include the sisig (fried egg and crispy pig’s head), the dinuguan (seared pork shoulder with blood sauce) and the cheddar cheese ice cream sandwich. You can try all three for $10-$12 each on the patio, and wash them down with $5 aperitif cocktails for an affordable outdoor feast from Austin’s most acclaimed chef.
Kerlin BBQ is one of Austin’s best barbecue stops and is ranked in Mike Sutter and Matthew Odam’s top 10. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Kerlin serves barbecue from 11 am until (quickly) sold out. The other four days a week, you’re simply out of luck. Kerlin boasts great quality without some of the unwieldy lines of other top Austin ‘cue joints, so show up around opening time and indulge without all the hassle.
With talent like Craig Collins and Scott Ota behind the beverage selection at Arro, you’d be right to guess that the bar is a great idea for a post-work drink and snack. From 5-7 pm (even on Fridays), the bar has $10 bar snacks like frog legs, beef tartare, and mussels and frites. There are $4 aperitif drinks and $3 off wines by the glass from the all-French list. You can also grab a Kir Royale (creme de cassis with white wine) for just $5. From top to bottom, wine selections here are well-sourced, often tough to find elsewhere, and well worth your time.
Affordable dining at the W? Consider it done with the TRACE summer dinner series, which gives diners $25, $35 and $45 options for two- to four-course meals. Dish options include local heirloom tomato and melon salad, rice crusted drum with grilled okra and black garlic, and brown sugar brined chicken with Anson Mills sea island red peas. You can even choose a glass of wine as a course with selections from Sonoma’s Iron Horse and New Mexico’s Gruet available as options. After your meal, consider stopping by W’s Living Room bar, which has half-price cocktails from 7-10 pm.
El Chile’s South First Street location has morphed into seafood-focused Alcomar, a coastal Latin menu from Alma Alcocer-Thomas and Jeff Martinez. The restaurant’s 3-6 pm happy hour (available daily) offers weekenders the chance to try dishes like Gulf oysters, snapper ceviche, grilled pastor octopus tostadas and mushroom gorditas for $3 off regular menu pricing. Alcomar pairs this incentive with half-price bottles of wine and $3 cocktail discounts, meaning that drinks like the Rosita (Espolón blanco, Cointreau, watermelon, lime, cholula) run in the $7 range. Seven discounted cocktails are available.