My daughter loved toddling around the vegetable and herb garden of this east-side eatery as we waited for a table when she was only two. That was many years ago, so it surprises and pleases me when I see how little this garden-fresh café has changed since then. Not that this simple farm-to-table restaurant is old-fashioned—it's not—it just was ahead of its time when our family friend opened it in the 1980s. Set in an old house just east of I-35 from the UT campus, the restaurant is an inviting, casual place with blonde hardwood floors, large sunny windows, and big shade trees. There's an organic garden where the chef picks fresh lettuce and herbs, and fresh ingredients are also sourced from the restaurant's farm just two miles away. Vegetarian options abound, like wild mushroom crepes with walnuts, ricotta, Monterey Jack cheese, and two kinds of mushrooms, or fresh homemade garden burgers made with lentils, brown rice, fresh herbs, and cheese. There are always fresh fish dishes, like sesame catfish, and Eastside Cafe can be counted on for pasta, too, like a yummy artichoke manicotti. Daily “blue plate” specials are often a good value. The menu changes fairly often, with a beet and goat cheese enchilada a dynamite recent addition. The little gardening and cookware shed/shop is a fun place to browse while waiting for a table. The wine list offers more than 20 vintages available by both the glass and the bottle, at reasonable prices. The style of this place is a bit bohemian and breezy—a good fit for an old Austin neighborhood that hasn't yet been gentrified.
2113 Manor Rd.
Our Rating Neighborhood East Austin Hours Mon–Thurs 11:15am–9:30pm, Fri 11:15am–10pm, Sat 10am–10pm, Sun 10am–9:30pm (brunch Sat–Sun 10am–3pm) Phone 512/476-5858 Prices Pastas $14–$18, main courses $12–$24 Cuisine Type AMERICAN, VEGETARIAN Web site Eastside Cafe
Map2113 Manor Rd. Austin
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