The corridor between the Capitol and the University of Texas can feel like a gastronomical purgatory — lodged between the casual options of campus life and the more refined sensibilities of downtown. It’s an area that you pass through, not one where you think to stop.
Indian restaurant The Clay Pit has earned ‘destination location’ status and the triumvirate of Texas Chili Parlor, El Mercado and Dog & Duck have established themselves thanks to character and specializing in things Austinites have always loved (chili, Tex-Mex and beer), but the area can make for a hard sell for newcomers. Just ask the nearby Japanese-inspired Lavaca Tappan.
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1612 Lavaca St. 284-9954, CherryStreetAustin.com
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Prices: Antipasti and salads, $7-$16; Panini and pizza, $8-$12; Pasta, $14-$18.
What the rating means: The 10-point scale is an average of weighted scores for food, service, value, ambience and overall dining experience, with 10 being the best.
The Bottom Line: Cherry Street shines when it keeps things simple, but will need to execute with more precision if it’s going to turn into a destination dinner spot or neighborhood favorite.
Notes: Happy hour specials on small plates and cocktails 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily.