It’s been a while, but I can’t think of a better way to come back than to tell you about Austin Restaurant Week! It’s coming up from April 10-13 and 17-20 (delayed for technical reasons and to allow the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival its spotlight). Two delicious chances to try out special menus around Austin at exclusive restaurants we college students can’t afford every day (or even every month).
To see my previous post about Austin Restaurant Week, click here.
The original point of Austin Restaurant Week is to bring awareness to the Sustainable Food Center as well as highlight the best that Austin has to offer. In a nice package, the week encompasses all of Austin food culture with sustainable food, unique dishes, and support of the community. This year, the charity doesn’t seem to have been chosen, but there will be a wrap party on May 8 to finalize the choice that will receive a portion of the dining bill for the week and award the restaurants who helped out. Either way, everybody wins as Austinites get to check out restaurants they may have never been to, the restaurants get publicity and added revenue, and a portion of your dining bill will go to a good cause. I can’t think of a better reason to go out and try out Austin’s food!
So how does Austin Restaurant Week work? Well, special prix fixe menus are offered by participating restaurants for dinner and possibly lunch and brunch at a set price. Make your reservation at the restaurant you want to try and just let them know you want to order off the special Austin Restaurant Week menu. You get the opportunity to try out a new restaurant and what it wants to show off to you and the restaurant gets business and publicity. A portion of the dinner bill will go to charity and you can dine happily knowing that you are supporting your Austin community. Lunch is offered from $10-15 and dinner is offered from $25-35. This year, there is also brunch available at some restaurants like Carmelo’s with a $16.95 brunch, buffet style, and 360 Uno Trattoria with its included cocktail.
Advice: Make sure to make reservations! Restaurants fill up fast during this time and it’s best you guarantee your spot. Sometimes there are special wine accompaniments with meals and substitutions may be a little more difficult at this time. With so many new people coming to try out the restaurants, service tends to get a little more frazzled so please be patient. It’s a busy week for everyone so be prepared for a crowd!
New surprise this year for those of you with smart phones, there is an Austin Restaurant Week app that has been developed to let you take the menus with you on the go. Now you can easily access the menus for Restaurant Week and decide whenever and wherever what you want to be eating that week. It is a pretty application, but freezes sometimes and doesn’t seem to quite fit the dimensions of the smart phone. However, it’s a solid application to use for this short period of time. Perhaps, who knows, the app may update itself for every Austin Restaurant Week!
Now, the question every year is what is the best deal? It’s hard to say, but it seems like Uchi and Uchiko, Fabi & Rosi, and the Carillon are never a letdown. The Brazilian steakhouses also seem to be a good deal with their usual buffet style dinners getting $10 off. The best thing to do is go through the menu and see what sounds like something you could order. Or surprise yourself and go to a restaurant you’ve heard is fabulous and see if it lives up to the expectations!
So, take a little time for yourself and your friends. Go try some new restaurants (or enjoy discounted meals at restaurants you love). You’ll help support the Austin food culture and a good cause. Have fun and hope you all had a good Spring Break!
P.S. It’d be fun if you could put in the comments your own review about Austin Restaurant Week menus and let us know what you think! 😛