Restaurants & Bars

Where to Eat DOWNTOWN During SXSW 2008

kathryn | Feb 15, 200809:58 AM     50

Hi Hounds!

I'm writing my annual cheatsheet of where to eat during SXSW in the downtown area, and was wondering if there were any new, notable, and good spots that have popped up in the last 12 months.

I know that Capitol Brasserie has closed, but Las Manitas is still open, anything else downtown that you could recommend?

Yes, I know Austin has AWESOME food elsewhere OUTSIDE of downtown (especially in the hill country) but you need a CAR or CAB to get there and that's just not feasible when you are pressed for time. The worst is lunch where you have 1.5 hrs to grab your friends, go to a restaurant, sit down, eat, pay your bill, leave, and get back to the convention center early enough to grab seats for a speaker so you don't have to sit on the floor.

I've eaten outside of downtown but it's just NOT FEASIBLE logistically during most of SXSW due to the insane scheduling.

I'm looking for places that are
1. in close proximity to 6th Street and the Convention Center at 4th St and Neches (I like the Warehouse District a lot but most people won't be willing to walk all the way out there for lunch)
2. accessible by foot (cabs are unreliable and in extremely short supply during SXSW, and if you even have a rental car, finding parking downtown can be a hassle)
3. relatively inexpensive and casual (or are of good value)
4. relatively fast (get in, sit down, order, eat, pay, get out in time to snag a seat at a panel/film/etc.)
5. not national chains like IHOP or PF Chang's and the like
6. not Katz's (which I find gross) or Mekong River (which I find mediocre)

My list so far:

Las Manitas (breakfast/lunch)
Ironworks (close, convenient BBQ -- yes I know there's better but we need to stay downtown)
Taco Shack (breakfast/lunch)
Casino El Camino (although the burgers take forever)
Stubb's (not my favorite but my friends seem to like it, it's an alternative to Ironworks, the sides are pretty good)
The Hideout
Habana Calle 6
Boiling Pot (I know it's a chain but my friends really like it, it's fun for a big group)
Chez Nous (great hidden gem)
Roaring Fork (happy hour in the bar ONLY)
Eddie V's (happy hour in the bar ONLY)
Moonshine (pricier but I loved their mac and cheese)
Lambert's (haven't actually tried it -- has anyone gone lately)
Go Bites (late night only)
Best Wurst (anybody know hours? only at night?)
Hot Dog King (ditto)
Kebabalicious (ditto)
Jackalope (yes? no? I have friends who keep trying to drag me there to drink.)

Again, please keep non-downtown recommendations out of this. I'm thinking of places that are a 10-15 minute walk from 4th and Trinity. SXSW is manic enough without having to worry about eating crappy food! My friends have a horror story about some Mongolian BBQ place that closed down...

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