The Austin, Texas, city council has approved a plan to expand the Lone Star State capital's convention facility to match its impressive dining, music and arts offerings. When it's time to leave the Austin Convention Center [link] for the day, you and your meeting attendees only need to stay within a two-mile radius of the facility to find the best food in town. We have picked five great restaurants in the area after trolling lists from Texas Monthly, Travel & Leisure, Zagat's, TripAdvisor, Eater and more. Just reading about these spots will make you want to bring your group to Texas.
- 301 E. 5th Street (512472-1860)
- Estimated walk time from the convention center, 4 minute
Just around the corner from the convention facility, Eddie V's Prime Seafood has that upscale formal vibe and a menu full of specially prepared seafood delights and steak standouts. An oyster bar offers pearls flown in from around the country, and there's a menu of caviars for those who love the salty treat. Fun and sharable appetizer options come straight from the sea. The Shellfish Tower piles Maine lobster, shrimp, oysters and lump crab meat together. The Big Eddie features king crab legs, Maine lobster, ahi tuna poke, shrimp and oysters.
For entrées, there's choices for all tastes, such as bacon-wrapped filets "Oscar" style with king crab and grilled asparagus in a béarnaise sauce; gnocchi with shiitake mushrooms and asparagus with a sundried-tomato pesto; and Georges Bank scallops sautéed with citrus fruits, roasted almonds and brown butter. Eddie V's two private dining rooms, the Congress Room and the UT Tower Room, seat 32 people each. Find the full dinner menu here.
- 2708 E. Cesar Chavez Street (512-494-4593)
- Distance from the convention center, 2 miles
With ingredients harvested from the garden next to owner Seth Baas' house, the food concepts at this popular eatery are truly farm-to-table. The restaurant's décor is marked by natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows and the wood warmth of cedar. While many of the seasonal and regional dishes can be categorized as vegan, veggie-forward or gluten-free, you will find items like barbecued beef ribs on offer.
All options are served family-style, so sharing is the name of the game here. Recent diners tasted dishes such as beef tartare and new potato with a sauce of tuna confit and bone marrow; steamed zucchini, candied squash seeds, coconut and mint; and grilled cabbage and collard greens with smoked pork and peanuts. Pitchfork Pretty welcomes groups of up to 100. Find the full dinner menu here.
- 2612 East Cesar Chavez Street (512-599-4052)
- Distance from the convention center, 2 miles
This Italian restaurant's tagline underscores the draw: "Come for the food, stay for the chocolate." The establishment's name means "whole," so the focus here is on traditional Italian preparations that use the entirety of the chosen ingredients, among them locally raised animals and locally grown produce.
Recently on the pasta menu were gnocchi with roasted chicken, yellow squash, brown butter and pecans; pappardelle, pork bolognese, field peas, eggplant, manchego cheese and pine nuts; and spaghettini with charred corn, mushroom, sottocenere cheese and chives. Entrée choices included smoked quail with braised farro, acorn squash, pear, walnuts and cheddar cheese; and risotto, wagyu beef confit, chevre cheese, tomato, sweet pepper and basil.
Oh, yes, and there's the artisan chocolate case displaying hand-crafted treats such as truffles and barks. Intero welcomes buyouts for groups. See the full menu here.
- 1610 San Antonio Street (512-474-2796)
- Distance from the convention center, 1.5 miles
Set in a little white house with black shutters and graceful Southern charm, Olamaie is a spot whose menu changes daily to capture the flavors of the season and the region. The sample menu online gives an idea of the types of dishes that might be available on a given night. These include starters of Ranger cattle beef tartare with okra, brown butter and potato chips; Barton Springs Mill hush puppies with smoked fish, turnip, and bread and butter pickle; and Hickory King cornbread with Benton's bacon, sorghum syrup and butter. For entrées, diners will be able to choose from options like Dewberry Hills Farm Chicken served with potato salad, shishito peppers and southern belle onion; and Rittenhouse rye-brined pork chop accented with pecans, apple and paprika.
The restaurant's rooms offer several nooks for private gatherings, welcoming dinners for up to 60 people and receptions for 120. A fun night also can be had at the chef's table, which seats 12.
- 1204 West Lynn Street (512-477-5584)
- Distance from the convention center, 2 miles.
Restaurateur Larry McGuire and chef/partner Tom Moorman are the powerhouses behind this elegant fine-dining spot for your VIPs, serving French-American classics with flair. But not just the food is curated: You can call over the martini cart to make the perfect cocktail choice (there's also a cheese cart for lovers of all things fromage).
Among the entrée options recently were shellfish risotto with wood-roasted lobster, king crab, bay scallops, clams, gulf prawns, lemon, English peas and uni butter; Texas gulf snapper en papillote with baby turnips, king trumpet mushrooms, golden potatoes, Thai basil, lemongrass and carrot broth; and Rohan duck breast au poivre with celery root mousseline, wild huckleberries and pickled ramps. The establishment has two private dining spots, the Napoleon Room and the Apartment, and welcomes groups of up to 120 people. Peruse the menu here.