better lake than never
Worldly restaurant with fancy plating and views floats to Austin lakefront
Austin classics Hula Hut and Mozart’s Coffee Roasters have a new neighbor: A “fun, upscale casual international” restaurant which quietly opened in the former Abel’s on the Lake building this fall.
Quince LakeHouse (after the number 15 in Spanish; not the fruit) started with a soft opening in October, at the Oyster Landing business park that has long been a hub of lakefront dining on Lake Austin.
The restaurant is the third location in the Quince Collection, which launched in 2016 with its first restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It’s also the second location in Texas – the first opened in Fort Worth in March 2023. And the Austin location has big shoes to fill – Robb Report Magazinenamed the Mexico location the “No. 1 Rooftop Restaurant in the World” and the "No. 1 Rooftop Destination in the World."
Quince LakeHouse will offer menu items inspired by all types of international cuisines, pulling flavors from Peru, Mexico, New Orleans, and more. Notable menu items include ceviche, sushi and sashimi, panko crusted Chilean sea bass, bao pork carnitas, French dip sliders, and drool-worthy desserts like French toast à la mode and sweet corn cake. The cocktails, too, are mostly simple classics made especially beautiful.
Photo courtesy of Quince Collection
As of November 18, it is also offering a new brunch service, and it has some special events scheduled already. It will be open on Thanksgiving with a special menu, and is planning ahead for an official grand opening dinner in “early 2024” that will benefit Pets Alive and the Trail Conservancy.
Quince Collection owner Brian Sneed compared the dining experience to “being on vacation near your home,” writing in a press release that the restaurant does “NOT try to turn tables quickly,” giving customers time to luxuriate over their meals.
Sneed said over email that he’s pleased with how the first month of the soft opening has gone.
“We were only super soft open without any announcement so we could have time to find great staff and get them trained before we had any rush of interest,” Sneed said. “We didn’t even tell our friends we were open, but people found out and thankfully have been very pleased.”
Longtime Austinites know that the city is really only treated to a few weeks of ideal weather each year, and some of those nice days fell right in the soft opening period – but Sneed was pleasantly surprised by those willing to show up on the not-so-ideal weather days, too.
“We made a big effort to make our place comfortable in all climates. Virtually all of Quince is temperature-controlled with heaters, and cushions, and comfortable seating, not to mention a huge fireplace. We want this to be everyone’s favorite place for our food, but also we want it to be their comfort place in all seasons,” Sneed said.
Photo courtesy of Quince Collection
The closing of Abel’s on the Lake was just as quiet as Quince LakeHouse’s opening has been – if you weren’t paying attention, you may not have even noticed that owner Ellis Winstanley confirmed the closure back in December 2022. Sneed said he’s honored to take over one of the most sought-after lakefront restaurants in town.
“It’s one of the best locations in Austin and we only do locations with great views and community,” Sneed said. “We have respect for Abel’s and their 13 year run on the property, and we hope that people enjoy our place as much as they enjoyed Abel’s.”
Quince LakeHouse is located at 3825 Lake Austin Blvd #201. Operating hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 am to 10 pm; Friday from 11 am to 11 pm; Saturday from 9 am to 11 pm; and Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm. Happy hour is on weekdays from 3-5 pm. Reserve at quincesma.com.