Austin >Restaurants >
Mexican >El Chile Cafe y Cantina
1809 Manor Rd, Austin, TX | Directions 7872230.283645 -97.722516
Neighborhoods: Upper Boggy Creek
El Chile has to be one of our favorite neighborhood Tex Mex spots. The margaritas are spot on, and the salsa and tres leches cake are supreme. Also great for takeout! I always get the vegetarian tamales to go!
El Chile's Chilango Margarita -- a blood orange margarita dusted with chili powder on the rim -- may be one of my favorite cocktails in all of Austin. A little sweet, a little spicy, and a little UT proud, the Chilango has graced the pages of Food & Wine, who agrees that this tangy potion is perfect porch sippin' stuff.
No repeat business here – The place looked awesome and the guacamole was to die for - I had to use the thin salsa chips though after almost chipping a tooth biting into the thick chips. But after that, everything went downhill. The lights were snapped off and the maitre de came around to light candles. Our table was sitting against a wall and he reached through my dining partner and myself to light the candle, catching his sleeve on the bite I was taking. You'd think he would say something to us!
Our service was good, but the food left a lot to be desired. It was relatively flavorless or had the wrong flavors for what we ordered.
They provided mexican blankets for the chilly diners outside - a cute touch. But I went there to eat, not to be cute.
You May be Dissapointed... – I was not impressed with this local eatery. The service was slow and the food was average. I have been befor and have also eaten at El Chili. Both restaurants can have great food if you catch them on the right night but neither are consistent in the quality of food,portion or service. There are to many great dependable restaurant choices in central Austin that are consistent in quality, expected portion and service. I sort of get the impression the owners try to cut corners as much as they can to increase the bottom line and do not expect the consumer to notice. Fortunately the consumer does notice and realizes there are choices out there. These two places are not on my list of choices. I wonder how often they will have to change the name befor they realize why business is so slow. Hmmmm!!
good micheladas decent food – I like this place alright if i'm looking for something to eat and don't feel like thinking to hard about somwhere good to eat.
This is what I think:
The Pollo poblano con hongos- The first time i tried this dish i was like...ya ya, I dig the sauce because the sauce is all creamy and delicious...then i ordered it like 3 more times over the past years and it's just....SUCKED, burnt chicken, over salted.....made me so angry i was like..i'm never coming here again.
But...the enfrijoladas are good...AND the salsa...it's a bit sweet but im not a huge spicy person.
I say overall the enchiladas are a safe bet.....don't venture too far from there...
Bloody Mary's have gotten worse over the years....someone who worked there at some point in time made them super.
Let's see.....ya my mom didn't really like the fish tacos either.
3 times a charm – I have been to El Chile three times now and I like it better each time I go back. The service is "so-so" but who cares! The food is delicious and reasonably priced. I like the enfrijoladas and fish tacos. I will definitely go back again soon. Give it a try- an unexpected good Mexican restaurant. Salsa is good too b/c its a little different.
Great Food and Drink - so so on the staff – The ambience of this place is great. The food and drink are just as good. Their mincheladas are to die for! I have enjoyed myself everytime I have been here until recently. The manager gave a friend of mine so much trouble for having an out of state i.d. I was shocked - my friend is over 35 and his i.d. was a valid California driver's license! It was the first time I believe I witnessed blatant discrimination in Austin (my friend is black and openly gay). The manager refused to let him order a drink. We ended up going next door to Vivo's. The food and drink there was just as good and it lacked the tension the management staff served at El Chiles. If you are white with a Texas ID, I am sure you'll enjoy the food, drink and location. If you happen to have a little color in your skin, I'd suggest driving next door to Vivos.
A cozy Restaurant Row eatery serving creative Mexican food made by Jeffrey's alums. – In Short
El Chile makes use of a small multilevel space with soft lighting, Mexican artwork and walls in vibrant azure, light ochre, soft lime-green and yellow shades. Sophisticated touches include terra-cotta, concrete floors and a window made of glass blocks. Light, refreshing seviche with lime, avocado and generous fish chunks, is served with thick house-made tortilla chips. Camarones enchipotlados feature a tangy, red chipotle sauce covers several tender shrimp.
Eh. – The food was ok. It's not Tex-Mex, but more interior Mexico. However, the service is consistently TERRIBLE. I have gone numerous times, but will not ever go again. This last time, we had to give our payment to another server b/c we hadn't seen her in over 15 minutes!! I won't go again.
GREAT FOOD! Descent Service. – The food here is EXCELLENT. Personally I recommend getting Guacamole as an appetizer - It's amongst the best I have ever had. The drinks are good. The staff is friendly, if a little on the slower side. I would highly recommend having a relaxing evening here if you are not in a hurry to get in and out. Enjoy the food and the fun atmosphere.
Excellent drinks and food, terrible service – I am a waitress in Austin and generally try to understand where the staff is coming from. I have never walked out on a restaraunt, until El Chile.. I usually go during the day when it's not busy, the service is still slow and generally rude but I try to get past that because the Chilango (orange) Margarita and the Michelada's are worth it, I happen to love the smoky chipotle salsa as well. One night I was in a group of 5 adults and 2 children and we were seated by the host and then completely ignored for 15 minutes. I noticed that the restaurant was not busy and there were 2 servers arguing over NOT taking our table. We went to the manager and he said it was his fault because he let the staff argue over who gets the table, and proceeded to do nothing about it. We just walked out and nobody looked twice. Completely terrible experience. The owner needs to train a better staff as well as more competent managers, then the place would be one of my favorites.
Mediocre food, rude wait staff, long waits, good Micheladas and Chili Margs – I have been to El Chile numerous times over the past couple of years. With each subsequent visit, both the quality of food and service has deteriorated. On our last visit, the waiter made his first stop at our table after we were seated for more than 15 minutes and then proceeded to be very rude. This attitude lasted the rest of the meal. In terms of the food, I ordered the Enchiladas Verde. It was extremely bland. Further, while some make like the taste of burnt coals, the salsa is a roasted tomato salsa and it is very smoky tasting. Overall, we had a party of 8 and no one person was impressed with the meal. I have had this same discussion with several groups of friends over the past month. Maybe the popularity has caused the quality to go down hill. In any event, Austin has hundreds of Mexican restaurants. Surely you can find better.
On the positive side, they do make good Micheladas and a good chili margarita. If they had a sit down bar, I may go back only for drinks. If you must have Mexican on Manor, go to El Chilito down the street. Less attitude and much better food.
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