I was 18 or 19 years old when I visited Austin for the very first time. I took a tour of the Capitol building, I visited the DMV (long story), and as a random choice I ate at the Magnolia Cafe. This icon of Austin cuisine is what started my long love affair with this city, and have always been happy to return each time since.
When I started working downtown after moving here, the second place I took my lunch was at Magnolia Cafe. It was the very first place I ever ate at in Austin, and each time I walk through those doors that sense of nostalgia comes flooding back. The entire restaurant is made from happy memories of its even happier patrons, and I am glad to count myself as a regular now.
They offer both inside and outside seating or at the counter, and the decor is wooden furniture and pop art like you see in many other places around town. What differs is the menu featuring an amazing selection of dishes to suit any appetite.
One of my favorite dishes so far has been the Salmon Dill Pasta, available only a few weeks a month. Made with spinach fettucine, capers, mushrooms, fresh perfectly seasoned salmon, generous helpings of parmesan cheese with a cream sauce. It was by far one of the best meals I’ve had in Austin, possibly my entire life. I told the waiter they should consider putting it on the menu full-time.
Today I had the Popeye Quesadilla, a regular menu item. Steamed spinach, cheddar and jack cheese, onion, and… wait for it… bacon. I topped it off with some sour cream, pico de gallo, and a splash of Cholula sauce. Magnolia Cafe knows how to do it right, and I have yet to be disappointed.
For more about Magnolia Cafe South or to view their menu, visit their website. They are located at 1920 S. Congress Ave.