Dining options neighborhood by neighborhood
Downtown: Walking to Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill from the Austin Convention Center takes about five minutes and the place offers both a historic setting and hearty fare to fuel up on between long days of sessions, meetings and seminars. The restaurant takes up part of the old Waterloo Compound, original home of some of the first commercial buildings in the city. The food, meanwhile, is quintessential go-big-or-go-home Texas: Even the asparagus is beer-battered and the signature dish is called Corn Dog Shrimp. Groups of up to 25 can dine in the Sunday House, built more than 150 years ago by a German settler as a warehouse to store his trade goods.
Second Street: Malaga Tapas & Bar evokes the eponymous city of Spain with a colorful aesthetic and menu filled with Spanish wines and delicacies, including tortilla catalana, a Catalan version of the traditional tortilla baked with potatoes, onions, eggs and poquillo peppers. Up to 40 can enjoy semi-private dining, or an entire restaurant buyout can accommodate 140. Book the first or third Wednesday of the month to catch a live flamenco show.
SoCo: Vespaio Ristorante offsets the funky Austin scene with its classic, rustic Italian atmosphere and food to match. In a private dining room for up to 18, attendees can enjoy wood-fired pizza and a fine glass of wine. Also don’t miss a trek to Amy’s Kitchen, a local fave serving homemade ice cream scoops and addictive chocolate-covered strawberries.
The Domain: Urban, An American Grill inside The Westin Austin at the Domain serves comfort food with an upmarket twist—think chicken and waffles with braised greens and maple syrup. During Brunch of Soul Sundays, your group can wake up with breakfast classics (don’t miss the malted waffles) and live music. Private dining space for up to 150 is available.
Riverwalk: A daily changing menu at Biga on the Banks means items are always fresh and seasonal—though you’ll find Texas Axis venison and sticky toffee pudding year-round (they’re so popular, swapping them out just couldn’t be justified). An array of private dining options can accommodate groups, including a sweeping atrium area and open-air wraparound terrace along the river. Tasting menus are available, as is a Chef’s Table for up to 10 guests.
The Alamo: The Colonial Room Restaurant at Menger Hotel plays a crucial role in the hotel’s historic atomsphere. It is filled with neoclassical touches and has hosted, among others, presidents Grant and McKinley and Civil War general Robert E. Lee. Groups can dine on surf and turf inside the dining room or in an outdoor garden courtyard, stopping by beforehand for a classic drink at Menger Bar, designed in the style of London’s House of Lords Pub.
Hill Country: You can’t go wrong at any of the fine-dining restaurants at the area resorts, all offering innovatively prepped local cuisine, far-reaching wine lists, settings that play upon the stunning Hill Country backdrop and elegant private dining space. Each offers its own nuances as well, including wine on tap at JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country’s Cibolo Moon, ingredients sourced from a local farm at The Westin La Cantera’s Francesca’s at Sunset and a centerpiece chandelier made from 500 sets of naturally shed antlers at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa’s Antlers Lodge.
Image: Francesca's at Sunset at The Westin La Cantera, San Antonio
For more of what Austin and San Antonion have to offer as meetings destinations, see "In the 'hoods" from the May issue of Smart Meetings.