Dining “al fresco”—that’s French, baby.

Part II: If you’re feeling a little classy…

NoRTH

Smack-dab in the middle of what should be a chain-restaurant wasteland, NoRTH at the Domain puts a great spin on Italian food, keeping it more fresh and light, less Olive and Garden. Good weather allows them to open the floor-to-ceiling glass windows and make the entire restaurant open air—and right next to the live music area. Find your way there when the Mrs. wants to hit up the high-end stores; you’ll still be stuck at the Domain, yes, but a cold Peroni and some fried zucchini chips will ease the pain.

Moonshine

The rocking chairs, the fire pits, the ample patio seating—take your pick. Moonshine may offer truly comfortable outdoor dining, but nothing bests their food. Remember all the dishes your mom used to make, like mac-n-cheese, meatloaf and pork chops? Well, chef Larry Perdido could teach her a thing or two with his green chile macaroni, buffalo meatloaf and molasses-and-chile cured pork chops. If you’re there with a woman, go ahead and order her a Ruby Slipper. Even if she’s not the type that enjoys hearing “the lady will have a ____”, she’ll forgive you once she tastes it. Moonshine: Go. There. Now.

Taverna

Like NoRTH, Taverna is a chain restaurant—these two are the only chains the list, and almost the only two chains the AG will frequent. Nevertheless, Taverna is one of the best (arguably, THE best) spot for brunch in Austin. Stumble in after a night of bad decisions for $1 mimosas, daily frittata specials and some of the best brick oven pizzas you’ll find this side of Naples (Italy, not Florida, gentlemen). If you don’t want to wait, you’d be wise to make a reservation for a table on the small but geographically-sublime patio. Mimosas, fresh Italian brunch, pretty girls window shopping on 2nd Street… Does the AG really need to convince you?

Embrace the trip to the Domain, try eating buffalo at Moonshine and start living life better.

*Each of these endorsements is 100% unsolicited (though the AG is open to bribes). If you agree with the list, great! If you don’t, well, it’s a good thing you live in America and can think whatever you like—boo communism! Just drop us a line in the comments section and give a pitch for your favorite outdoor eatery.

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~ by An Austin Gentleman on March 2, 2010.

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