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SXSW Insider’s Restaurant Guide for Dining Without the Crowds

Posted by on February 20, 2014

SXSW Guide

Festival season is almost upon us, and the buzz has started! Are you ready? I’m not, it just seemed to sneak up on me too fast.  But I know I’ll be ready, a day or two before the fun begins.  And oh what fun it is, even though we love to complain about the hordes of tourists who invade our fair city.  I’ll admit I love that they spend dollar upon dollar when they visit us, supporting both local business and those who aren’t Austin-born.  Disclaimer: this post is a paid advertisement. I love being supported by tourism dollars, too.  

If you’re coming to Austin for the upcoming 2014 SXSW Festival, whether it’s for SXSW Edu, Film, Music or Interactive portion, you’re going to need to eat. There are literally hundreds of restaurants, food trucks, and pop-up food venues downtown near the festival – and literally thousands of people.

With the festival comes long wait times, crowds, elevated prices and noise that doesn’t stop. Why not take a break from the festivities for an amazing meal in a quiet spot – either for a client meeting, a brainstorming session, to reward your team, or impress the cutie that was making eyes at you during that last session? Our insiders’ guide to Austin’s best out-of-the way restaurants will help you find the best spot to eat – without waiting hours, and without the typical festival crowds.

  1. Soto Japanese – Cedar Park – This restaurant is only about 20 minutes north of downtown during off-peak traffic, and has amazing Japanese food. Traditional noodle soup, sushi, and sake are available for lunch or dinner, with reasonable prices – and a “social menu” with amazing happy hour pricing on appetizers and drinks all day Monday, Tue-Fri 5-6:30 and Sat-Sun 3-6:30
  2. The Grove – About 7 minutes south of downtown, but it feels like a different world. Set in the heart of woodsy Westlake Hills, a posh Austin neighborhood, The Grove offers gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options on their modern menu, and an impressive wine list – with price points in most budgets.
  3. Smitty’s Market – Got some time to kill? Take a quick side trip to Smitty’s in Lockhart, TX. Just a 45 minute drive will take you to this historic spot, which has been used as a set for many movies –  and some of the best barbecue you’ll eat – just don’t ask for sauce, if you know what’s good for you.
  4. Noble Pig – Featured on Diner’s, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Noble Pig is in a strip mall in North Austin. Don’t let the shady exterior fool you as the food is top quality. Breakfast is served until noon and lunch is served all day – to call these masterpieces “just” sandwiches is the understatement of the year.
  5. Din Ho – You’re in Texas, you need to eat barbecue, but if you’re not up for a slab of beef, check out this traditional Chinese BBQ spot. A true diamond in the rough, you can get traditional Peking Duck, whole fish, and other traditional Chinese dishes. It gets crowded, so call ahead for your duck!
  6. Fonda San Miguel – Need to step it up? This Austin institution has been serving up classy Tex-Mex for decades. They open at 5 for dinner, and serve up a wonderful brunch on Sundays. The perfect spot for a business dinner or drinks – this out-of-the-way spot is sure to impress.
  7. Wildfire – About 20 minutes north of downtown in picturesque Georgetown you’ll find this foodie heaven. A varied menu will allow all your guests to find something they like – and the wine list will keep things moving along. Open for lunch, dinner and late-night (by Georgetown standards – they close at midnight on weekends) – this is a great spot for a drink and snacks and getting it done.
  8. Ka-Prow – Another spot that is off the beaten path – this Thai and Sushi bistro offers a modern Asian menu and a cool, fresh ambiance. Open for lunch and dinner, with menu options for your gluten free, vegan and vegetarian friends – they even offer sushi for folks who are scared of raw fish.

If you’re in town for the Festival, and you want to visit one of these spots, don’t push your luck hoping for a cab.  Plan your excursion now with Austin Choice Limo – we can get you and your guests – either clients, investors or just your buddies to any of these spots without a hassle.  Don’t waste an afternoon waiting for a table, book a car with us and whisk your client away from the hustle and bustle of the Festival so you can grab his or her attention.

We book up fast for SXSW so click here to book your reservation online, or call us at  (512) 690-3378 and our friendly staff will help you arrange your transportation.

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