What started as an upscale shopping center has evolved into a small city of its own in north Austin. In addition to high-end stores, the Domain has outdoor concert venues, green spaces, hotels, restaurants, and bars. The Rock Rose area hopes to become the northern version of South Congress Avenue and 6th Street combined. It may not be quite as weird or funky as those other entertainment districts, but it’s still a fun place to spend a weekend. The food options are abundant also, ranging from pub grub to gourmet cuisine.
A high-end shopping complex may seem like an odd setting for a quaint French bistro, but somehow Toulouse makes it work. The beef bourguignon is obviously a fairly heavy meal, but if you’ve got a big appetite, you won’t leave disappointed. Served with buttered noodles, pork belly, and mushrooms, the dish may send you into a sleepy state of bliss within a few minutes. If you have room for dessert, try the light almond croissant or the Grand Marnier souffle.
Doc B’s crispy chicken sandwich puts all others to shame. The outer coating provides just the right amount of crunch, and the meat has a mildly spicy kick. On the side, opt for the hand-cut sweet potato fries. Other standout dishes include the smoked salmon pizza and oven-roasted wings. For dessert, try the decadent cinnamon toast crunch cheesecake.
Located within the Nordstrom store, Bazille makes an excellent lobster mac and cheese. The gooey, savory dish provides a satisfying way to wind down after hard day of shopping. The Margherita pizza also earns high praise from regular customers. If you’re looking for something lighter, try the cilantro lime shrimp salad with baby greens, grilled corn and cilantro lime vinaigrette. For dessert, don’t miss the bread pudding with fresh whipped cream and raspberry coulis.
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Served with horseradish cream, beef jus, and mashed potatoes, the braised short ribs are meaty, tender, and unforgettable. For a lighter option, the Asian chicken salad is as visually appealing as it is tasty. Covered in spiky crispy wontons, the salad has Marcona almonds, snap peas, radishes, and roasted chicken. It’s served with a peanut vinaigrette. Finish the meal off with a piece of towering chocolate cake, which is both filled and frosted with fudge.
Featuring a dome-like pretzel bun with swiss cheese and coleslaw, the turkey pastrami sandwich offers a wonderful mix of sweet and savory flavors and crunchy, chewy textures. It’s served with fresh-cut jumbo fries. For a lighter meal, go with the seared ahi tuna salad, with wasabi peas, cucumber, red pepper, and avocado drizzled with a casher ginger vinaigrette. Adventurous diners also rave about the charred Korean-style Brussels sprouts. Leave room for the chocolate s’mores pudding, with pecan toffee, marshmallow and crushed graham crackers.
The Thai cashew quinoa bowl is a hearty meal on its own, with snap peas, celery, zucchini, onion, shiitake mushrooms, jalapenos, basil, cashew, and red quinoa. To give it a protein boost, you can add grass-fed steak, chicken, salmon, or tofu. If you’re craving Indian spices, order the Madras curry, with carrots, potatoes, green beans, sweet onions, and coconut. For a grab-and-go option, the Thai Dye is a vegan wrap with avocado, spicy tofu, Thai basil, daikon radish, and cilantro.
Tucked away inside the hip Archer Hotel, Second Bar + Kitchen is the north Austin outpost of a wildly popular restaurant in downtown. The high ceilings and open, airy dining room will instantly relax you. Executive Chef David Bull has designed the menu around small plates meant to be shared. The truffle fries are served with truffle aioli, and you can make a meal out of the dish with the addition of seared foie gras. The baked brie is another favorite that’s ideal for sharing. It’s served with toasted baguettes, current-apricot mostarda, basil and roasted garlic. Finish the meal off with a slice of peach cheesecake made with lemon sorbet and honey foam.
The combinations at Velvet Taco are like nothing you’ve ever seen at your average Tex-Mex restaurant. In addition to the tasty shrimp and grits taco, there’s the equally popular Ahi Poke taco with tuna, seaweed, avocado, and ginger-soy vinaigrette. The Cuban Pig is stuffed with pulled pork, bacon, gruyere cheese, and house-made pickles. Keep the cultural incongruity going by finishing it all off with a slice of red velvet cake.
At first glance, this looks like a giant beer bar, and Yard House does have tons of great beer on tap. But the food is not just your average pub grub. The Poke Nachos are made with marinated raw ahi tuna, avocado, nori and sesame seeds on fried wontons. The crispy treats are drizzled with sriracha aioli, white truffle sauce and sweet soy sauce. The burgers and truffle fries and fish and chips are also crowd pleasers. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the s’mores brownie, with marshmallow and graham cracker crust.
All of the tiny plates served at Mia are wonderful, but the bacon-wrapped dates are next-level delicious. Served with arugula and a red pepper sauce, the dates deliver a sweet/savory taste combined masterfully with a crunchy/chewy texture. Other favorites include the Caprese salad and potato gnocchi. You can also get larger, shareable dishes such as spaghetti carbonara served with a poached egg, bacon, and Reggiano cheese.
Despite the mellow-sounding name, Waterfall Pork has a spicy kick to it. Made with grilled pork shoulder, red onions, tomatoes, and pickles, and drizzled with tiger cry sauce, the dish will give you a low to medium tongue burn, depending on your tolerance. The pickles and other ingredients have a cooling effect, though, so the burn never gets out of control. Another popular choice is the crispy roasted chicken served with several sweet and spicy sauces. The mango sticky rice is a must-have for dessert.