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

Part III: Good music + good food+the good Lord…

Shady Grove

Surrounded by antique RVs and unmistakable from Barton Springs Road, Shady Grove has been a great place for good food and good music for almost 20 years. The atmosphere is great for kids and adults alike, and the outdoor area is one of the best in town. Get there early on Thursdays for Unplugged at the Grove, a live broadcast in which some of Texas’ best saddle up to the microphone with little more than a six-string. Most importantly, don’t forget to try one or more of their famous desserts. (The AG’s partial to the homemade cobbler of the day, not that you’re asking.)


Make your way to Perla’s on South Congress (not SoCo, you nerds) and you may just want to sit inside. The bright pastels and nautical-meets-upscale décor really offer a pleasant area for dining, and the bar—J-shaped and connected to the oyster well—is equally pleasant. It’s the patio area that will win your over, though. By the AG’s best guess, it spans nearly 1,000 s/f and covers diners with a mass of tall oak trees. Enjoy $2 beers and the best oysters in town during happy hour (3-6), or drop in for dinner and enjoy some of the best fresh fish dishes and homemade sauces Austin has to offer. Either way, kick things off with the incredible jalapeño hushpuppies and tartar sauce. You’ll never want to start with chips and salsa again.

The Oasis

This last one, gentlemen, was tough. Why was it difficult to put an Austin classic like the Oasis on the list? There are a few arguable reasons, the biggest of which is the food. Simply put, it’s mediocre chain-restaurant style food, that, due to the restaurant’s popularity, comes out of the kitchen suspiciously fast. Alas, there is still the view. Undoubtedly, indisputably and unequivocally, the view from the Oasis’ giant outdoor seating area is the best in Austin central Texas. Even with Lake Travis running low, that sunset over the water is truly some of the good Lord’s finest work. Make your way out to there with friends to enjoy some good music, tasty drinks and one of the best sunsets you’ll ever see.

Time to take in some music, watch the sun go down with a lovely lady 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.


~ by An Austin Gentleman on March 3, 2010.

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