Austin >Restaurants >
8557 Research Boulevard Ste 146, Austin, TX | Directions 7875830.361112 -97.716629
Neighborhoods: North Austin Civic Association
Two words: Banh Xeo. These are Vietnamese crepes made with rice flour and coconut milk, and stuffed with bean sprouts, mushrooms, tofu and shrimp. These rolls leaves deliver a rich, oily coating to the inside of your mouth on the first bite, with the vegetable interior providing a bright contrast.
Great Vietnamese Restaurant for Lunch – Sunflower is a great Vietnamese restaurant on the North side of Austin. The place can get really crowded (because it's not that big and is pretty popular), but if you can beat the lunch crowd then I strongly recommend coming here for the food. The service is adequate at best, but I think they do now want to hire that many people. The prices are a great value, but be careful that you can only use credit cards for charges over like 6 dollars or so. Despite all that, the food is awesome. It has some of the best Vietnamese vermicelli, pho, clay pots, and rice dishes in Austin (especially on the north side). I used to come here for lunch all the time despite the small annoyances with the service.
Outstanding food – There are some places you can overlook everything for the food. This is one. As others have said, the service is a tad slow and the restaurant isn't incredibly posh (which really, was anyone really expecting it when a) its Austin and b) the average entree price is about $8??). The food is just outstanding and the prices are incredibly cheap. Everything is superbly fresh and balanced, and your food arrives as it comes out of the kitchen, which means your table won't always get all dishes at once. The flip side is that your dish is piping hot when it arrives. We just share the entrees as they arrive.
good food, they need to wash their dishes before sending them out again though – I thought the food was fine, my wife is vietnamese and she likes it. My problem with this restaurant was that the water glass had a distinct taste of lemon on a particular spot on the rim of the glass, left over from the previous time it was used for someones iced tea. Clearly, they are not sufficiently washing their glasses, one can only guess what else they are not doing, or doing. This is in an asian center, and as we left, the back doors were wide open (no screens to keep the insects out) to the other two asian restaurants in the center, another clear violation of restaurant standards. One can generaly find that restaurants that are managed by people from third world countries often do not follow western standards in terms of sanitation. So this comment is not to single out Sunflower, you will likely get similar kitchen "policies" in most of these kinds of places. I do think it is time for Americans to point these issues out to these operators, I think they are hard working people and they make delicious food, but they are not trained in proper western techniques, and our city oversight on these issues here in Austin is a joke.
The best Vietnamese I've had – The service may be a bit slow but the food is well worth waiting for. Great flavors, good size portions, light enough not to feel stuffed after the meal. Very simple place. If you are looking for a high class place, that one is not for you but, if you just want a good meal and simple unpretentious service, go to Sunflower.
Good Place to Eat – My wife & I went to Sunflower last night b/c we'd heard it was a great place for Vietnamese food. That recommendation was spot on! The food was very good. The restaurant was pretty crowded, but we got a table quickly. There isn't a place to wait for a table other than standing outside on the sidewalk....which is no fun in the summer heat. The interior of the restaurant is pretty sad. Mirrors were smeared and furnishings were well past their prime. But, the food is so good, you don't even pay attention to the interior. Service is pretty lack luster as well, as the restaurant was severely short-staffed. There were only two waitresses for about 60-70 seats. Those same waitresses had to cover the register as well. The staff was friendly, but obviously too busy to be personable. If not for the lack of appropriate staffing, I would highly recommend this restaurant. But, as it is, I can only recommend it.
Research Boulevard restaurant serves fresh Vietnamese fare. – In Short
Two walls of windows, fresh flowers on each table and many mirrors create a bright atmosphere for the solo diners and groups flock to Sunflower. The menu includes thick, rice flour vegetarian and non-vegetarian Vietnamese crepes: both with bean sprouts and shitake mushrooms, one with shrimp and pork.
Stir-fry lemongrass chicken features green beans, zesty with scallions, chilies and sesame seeds. Various dinner selections are offered as smaller, lower-priced dishes at lunchtime.
Mediocre Food and ambience – My wife is vietnamese and she was curious to try this place since it was so highly reccomended:
We tried 3 different dishes; all of them were mediocre and tasteless.
The place mediocre as well.
Service was Ok maybe because someone in our table was speaking vietnamese.
The only good thing is that is not expensive.
Overall: I do not reccomend that place.
Great Food – The food was great! The decor is what I expect in an Asian restaurant. A good place for a casual meal. But don't expect to impress anyone.
good food vs. service – I have recommended this restaurant to many friends with specific dishes to try. The food is flavorful and close to homecooking. The Vietnamese egg rolls (cha gio) are good. The catfish in clay pot is a dish that my mom used to make that you can't get at very many restaurants - the catfish is cooked and rendered in its own fat in a brown caramelized sauce that is slightly spicy. It's delicious with just plain, white jasmine rice. The Vietnamese crepes are delicious and made with shrimp and pork the way that they are supposed to be. The service is NOT top notch but fair to middling. I come back for the food that's decently priced. Their lunch specials are a great value. I have taken my whole office there for lunch and everyone found something that they liked on the menu and had to take to go boxes.
Amazing lemongrass tofu. – Every time I go to Sunflower, I get the lemongrass tofu. I've tried other dishes, but none of them ever compared to the lemongrass tofu. It is excellent. The spring rolls and thai tea are also good. I've never had problems with service like the other reviewers - they've always quickly complied when we asked for a pitcher of water, etc. I've never had to wait to be seated. My friends and I go here often, and it's always lemongrass tofu for everyone. They also have a lunch special where you get a salad and pineapple soup with your entree. I didn't care for the soup, but the salad was pretty good. There is also a Hong Kong Market in the same shopping center for unique shopping after you eat.
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