Let's Take This Outside
Where to eat in Austin right now: The best restaurant patios and decks to check out this spring
Spring is just around the corner — we can only hope. And with it comes warmer days, refreshing breezes and restaurant patios. This month, we share a few of our favorites as well as a few favorites from other Austin-area foodies.
There’s something a little precious about dining on the lawn at Josephine House. But it’s a worthy indulgence when sharing an afternoon lunch with friends — especially with a sparkling Champagne cocktail in hand. Daily selections from the restaurant’s marble counter include a variety of seasonal salads, cheeses and charcuteries, which are perfect for “ladies that lunch,” but the Josephine burger is nothing to blush about for those looking for a heartier meal. Daily cakes and tarts are delish, but I’m always a sucker for an order of assorted cookies with a cup of coffee — the house made “Oreos” are the best!
At Parkside, you can sit on the upstairs patio and catch the often entertaining goings-on along East Sixth Street while enjoying a glass of Champagne with oysters on the half shell. The happy hour menu is also a steal offering half-off beer, cocktails and bar food.
Perla’s also earns top patio points. The expansive wooden deck is a great vantage point to catch the action on South Congress from a cozy patio seat. Cocktails are refreshing and well-executed and items from the “afternoon snacks” menu are great for sharing among friends.
If you’re willing to make a trek north of Austin, the lushly landscaped patio at Georgetown’s El Monumento overlooks the San Miguel River and is a definite reward for driving the extra miles. Of course, the sultry menu of house made cocktails including island-inspired Jasper's Planter's Punch and a classic El Monument margarita doesn't hurt either. Drop in for drinks and appetizers, or settle in for a flavorful feast of interior Mexican-inspired cuisine. Either way, with late evening sunsets heading our way, you'll enjoy every second at this locale.
These days it's hard to find a list that Qui isn't featured on, but this patio rates high with us for its exclusive patio-only Pulutan menu of Philippine pub food. The menu features great snacks for sharing that are easily washed down with a Tepache, the new Official Drink of Austin, a sweet Mexican drink enhanced with Balcones Rumble, lemon, Thai basil and mint for a refreshing warm weather cocktail.
- Jessica Dupuy, CultureMap
Red's Porch would be my call for best patio. It has a great view from the second level deck. Plus, there are washers to pitch and it's family-friendly so my wife (Rachael) and I can take our daughters with us. Last time we were there I had a tasty Tripel B from Adelbert's while Rachael had the Porch Swing — Waterloo Gin with ginger and lime. Of course, we had to have some boudin balls and Frito Pie to round out the evening as well.
- Daniel Barnes, Treaty Oak Distilling
Easy Tiger has that cool Austin vibe: laid-back, but it still delivers on the food and drinks. I start with beef jerky, a chef's board, or keep it simple with the best baguette and butter in the city. The sandwiches are all good, but the pastrami and the smoked turkey are my favorites. Everything is made in-house and the quality of ingredients really shows. Easy Tiger is a beer garden, so the selection of cold beers is huge and fun to explore, but I think the wine list is great, too. It's always fun to hang out on the back patio. An added bonus is that most of the patio is not in the direct sun so you stay comfortable even in the blazing summer.
- April Collins, Vintage Wine Marketing
I'm a fan of cocktails and snacks on the patio at Weather Up. Kristine Kittrell is doing an amazing job of serving up delicious food in what must be the smallest kitchen in town. And while you can't go wrong with anything from the bar, I'm a big fan of the Artist's Special. The sherry component makes it especially food-friendly.
- Steven Dilley, Bufalina
Salty Sow has a great happy hour menu offering $5 snacks, signature sips and wines by the glass. You can also get draft beer for $4. I love sitting out on the patio at Salty Sow. The food is great and I love the 'Blanche' blood orange margarita and honey rosemary fried chicken.
- Jack Gilmore, Jack Allen's Kitchen
My favorite place to sit on the patio is The Grackle on the east side. Food was great when East Side King (ESK) and Go Bites was there. Unfortunately, Go Bites burned down and ESK has just moved out. It is however, a great launch pad. We usually have a few drinks there, and then we are so close from my favorite places, Salt & Time and Bufalina.
A new place that I have only been to a few times, and am putting into a weekly rotation, is The Hightower. Chad is doing some great food there, they have a covered, dog-friendly patio, and the most scarce resource in all of downtown — parking! The fried smelt is amazing, and the pork carnitas are divinely na- inducing. Lori Bule behind the bar knows how to pour my favorite, Bourbon.
- Zack Northcutt, Swift’s Attic
For an unobstructed sunset view of downtown — sans I-35 traffic — I suggest spending an evening on the quaint patio of Uncorked. Nosh on the hummus plate while enjoying a glass of sparkling wine (it is spring, after all!), or indulging in one of the many wine flights available for tasting.
- Arden Ward, CultureMap
I recently spent a Saturday afternoon relaxing on the church benches perched on the front lawn of The Blackheart, sipping cocktails and watching the crowds go by. This spot also has the best whiskey and bourbon lists in town. While this isn't technically a restaurant, there's no rule that says you can't eat bourbon for dinner. (There probably is a rule somewhere, but I don't know many people who follow it.)
- Katie Friel, CultureMap