Austin >Food & Dining > El Mercado Restaurant
7414 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX | Directions 7875730.350078 -97.734843
Mon. - Thu., Sun. 11am - 10pm;Fri. - Sat. 11am - 11pm
Hours of business are missing! – hours aren't posted here or at website! Called early morning and no answer machine at 7:30 am.
Beware, Juarez Triple Sec – When You order a top shelf margarita or Mexican Martini they put in a splash of Couintreau and then make the drink with Juarez Triple Sec. Inexcusable.
Very good margaritas! Best brisket tacos!! – Excellent service, margaritas and food! My wife and I had margaritas and the brisket tacos...ooohhh sooo good!!
Good service and friendly staff – Friendly people made conversations, on time service.
Food was par with other regular Mexican (TexMex) restaurants. Good atmosphere. I wasn't accepting anything extra ordinary when I went to this restaurant because of location and prices. Most entree's were under $10 and good place to eat with family too.
Horrible Service, Medicore Food – After living just 2 blocks away from El Mercado for the last 14 years, and being a regular customer during that time, I decided after last night's experience I will never return.
I had sworn them off, because about 2 months ago, a dear friend of mine and I went and were sitting at the bar, when the bartender made what I thought was a completely rude comment. Two women walked in together to pick up a phoned in order, and when they left, the bartender turned to me and my friend and said "well, they were a couple of cute gay women (I can't publish the word he actually used)". I'm a straight woman and my friend is a gay man, so I felt immediately uncomfortable after that comment was made. So, the bartender went on to say to me "I can tell you don't like women" and then to my friend "and I can tell you don't either. I have good gaydar". It was completly inappropriate. My friend, being the nice person that he is, replied "well I guess that cat's out of the bag."
So, after not going for several weeks, my friend suggested we meet up there again. I figured, ok--let's give them another chance. So, we arrive at 7pm, and the restaurant was not crowded. We saw our waiter exactly 2 times and were there for 3 hours. We still left him a good tip (22%) and as we were leaving, my friend excused himself to use the restroom. So, I sat at one of the booth's next to the front entrance--it was not a table, mind you, but rather a booth seat to the left of the front door when you walk in. Across the room, I noticed 2 men staring at me--and I looked cute last night, in my red shirt, black pants and high heeled shoes. And, the Manager of the store (Ruben) decided to walk over to me and asked if I needed something? I explained that we'd just finished dinner, had paid our bill and I was waiting for a friend in the restroom. To which he replied "well you were looking at me"...to which I replied "well you and your friend were staring at me, so I looked back."
I felt uncomfortable and I left the restaurant, knowing my friend would come to my home. And I decided I should call and talk to the owner about these 2 experiences. So, I called El Mercado and spoke to Ruben, requesting the owner's contact information. To which Ruben laughed at me, gave me the number and then hung up on me.
After being a loyal customer for 14 years, I will never go there again. The service is terrible and this restaurant has a lot to learn about simply treating people with kindness, if they have any hopes of staying in business.
A lot of solid Mexican food for very little $$$ – El Mercado is a typical run of the mill Mexican Restaurant. The margaritas a are solid and their beer selection has all the standard Mexican beers. For an appetizer we tried the jalapenos stuffed with bacon wrapped shrimp, and they were amazing, a nice kick from the pepper mixing with perfectly boiled shrimp and thick juicy bacon. As an extra bonus it was served with a garlic sour cream dip, which was a little runny (think ranch dressing texture), but tasted incredible, it honestly tasted just like sour cream with a kick. We each tried a different dinner special that had a little bit of everything. The plates came out over flowing, in fact after dinner we ended up with lunch and dinner the next day from the left overs. The food was solid, not the best you've ever had, but good. The main feature here is that you get a LOT of quality food for very little money, for example, 2 people, 1 margarita, 1 Mexican beer, an appetizer and 2 dinners the bill was only $30.
The service was also solid, they served at the perfect rate in which you felt like you really got to sit back and relax, but you were never left feeling impatient on anything.
Terrible Food – This was one of the worst Tex Mex restaurants I have visted in Austin. The food was incredibly bland looking and very bland tasting. It was as if they forgot to season everything. There was very little cheese (and it was fake looking). Usually you can count on the refried beans and rice to be good but even this was missing salt and seasoning. Don't go; you will waste your money and end up eating some of the worst food. Only plus: the services was great.
Avoid completely – Terrible food - I ordered enchiladas and they didn't come with sauce on them. Have you ever heard of enchiladas with no sauce? Rice and beans were inedible. My dining partner picked at his food as well. And it wasn't particularly cheap. Lots of other places are cheaper and tons better (i.e. Maudie's). Do yourself a favor and go elsewhere.
Family friendly local Tex Mex chain on Burnet Road. – In Short
El Mercado stands out with its comfortable, relaxed scenery and kid-friendly attitude. Brightly colored balloons for the kids, festively painted decor and tasty margaritas for mom or dad--it's a match made in Tex-Mex heaven. Cheese is well-represented; in fact, the only non-cheese items on the kids' menu are the breakfast items. If your child is fussy and won't go for anything even remotely connected to foreign cuisine, there's always the Elmer cheeseburger with fries.
My favorite Tex Mex – I've tried a lot of Tex Mex in Austin and this is my current favorite. The food is very tasty and reasonably priced. The hot latin kisses - jalepenos stuffed with cheese and wrapped with bacon - are excellent. They have several off-beat menu items like fish or shrimp tacos or spinach enchiladas. I don't really care for their refried beans - made with shortening - but their charro beans are wonderful. The atmosphere is colorful and fun, although I find the TV's placed around the perimeter a bit distracting.
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