Austin >Food & Dining > Manuel's Downtown
310 Congress Ave, Austin, TX | Directions 7870130.265734 -97.743680
Serving Lunch & Dinner
Sunday � Thursday
11 am � 10 pm
11 am � 11 pm
Happy Hour Daily, 4-6 pm
Sunday Brunch 10 to 3 pm
Live music every Sunday
11:30 am � 2:30 pm
Manuel's makes a nice classic margarita with Don Julio Blanco tequila (peppery and astringent) as a base, but they've won the most fans with their blended fruit margaritas, which involve real fruit: Strawberry, guava, mango, prickly pear, pomegranate, and watermelon.
Good food but the worst Customer Service – I have mix feelings about Manuel's. I really want to love this place but the time that I went, I feel like it was not as amazing as what people make it sound.
The food was delicious! It was great but I felt like I could go to any regular Mexican restaurant and get the exact same meal for cheaper. It just was not out of the ordinary Mexican food. I had the Watermelon Margarita and it was awesome! They have a good happy hour but I could go to Casa Chapala or Texican Cafe and get the same margarita for twice the size and the same price. Their menu has some interesting choices and mixed and match things that I have not had the chance to taste yet. The tortilla soup was delicious. Instead of it being your average, what your use to soup it was made with a spicy mole sauce and avocado. Their queso was great as well. Not just your every day water liquid queso. Overall the food was good just not as impressed as I would like to be. And it is a bit pricey.
What really made me not like the place was the service. The manager spoke to us and she was wonderful but when it came to our waiter, it was like he could careless for waiting us. He did not give us much recommendations and just kept walking pass us as if we did not want anything. We order our drinks and after that it took him about 20 minutes to come back to us to actually order our food. He really did not check back up with us until our drinks were completely gone or if our table was extremely quite. He just had the attitude that he was to good for our table which is just a huge turn off in any service industry. The place was not to busy. It was around 4 so we came before a crowd.
I would return if someone really wanted to go their to eat. Otherwise it would just be a place I would walk pass.
Manuel's Superb Margaritas and Excellent Food – I love Manuels and adore their Sunday brunch with the live music. Manuels is not your typical Mexican food so if you're looking for greasy enchiladas and margaritas made from a syrupy mix (if that's what you're used to there's nothing wrong with that) go to any of the hundreds of mexican restaurants and you'll be happier.
IF YOU WANT EXCELLENT MEXICAN FOOD ..... you'll find it at Manuels. Creative menu, the place is spic and span and the atmosphere is perfect. The margaritas are superb and I'm picky about my margaritas. There Sunday brunch menu is lovely. Everytime we have friend visit Austin Manuels in on our list. Can't believe someone would say they got sick there... the place is immaculate. If we aren't at Fonda San Miguel we're at Manuels... LOVE IT!
Re: Violently ill – It really bothers me that people automatically say that a restaurant made them ill. What people fail to realize is that the food in restuarants is more likely safer than food you get from a grocery store. Illness can take anywhere from 2 hours to 48 hours to start showing symptoms. So unless the person who ate nachos from Manuel's didn't eat anywhere else two days prior to their experience, they can't tell if that was what actually made them sick. Manuel's is known and is proud of the fact that their ingredients are fresh and of a high quality, hence the reason it is a little more expensive than tex-mex. Try it out and you will understand what I mean.
Excellent – Really are the best margaritas in Austin, and are unique in the half price happy hour, the service is very good, the food is very delicious, I congratulate the crab nachos
DON'T eat the nachos... – I was looking for a good Mexican food place to go to get some yummy margaritas and an appetizer or two, so I decided to try out Manuel's because I had always seen it and it has some good reviews. First of all the salsa was not anything special at all and kind of watery. The margaritas were not above average, and the house margarita tastes mostly like margarita mix. But worst of all I fell VIOLENTLY ill some six hours later. There were two of us eating but I was the only one who ate the nachos and the only one who got sick. I would never expect this to happen from food at a restaurant that has such good reviews by what I thought were trustworthy Austin people with good taste. So, in conclusion, if you truly know what good Mexican food is and should be ALWAYS, then do not waste your money or risk your health for this mediocre establishment that offers such carelessly and heartlessly prepared food.
Superb – Visiting Austin and was sent to Manuel's Downtown by the hotel; SUPERB describes my experience there. The food was FRESH and my server was professional. I had a Chile Relleno stuffed with seafood and it was out of this world. This food reminded me of my visit to Playa del Carmen several years ago. I will make this my restaurant every time in town.
Camarones a la Veracruzana were outstanding and a unique cucumber martini – I have been eating at Manuel's for about 10 years and every time I go there service is very good and food is just outstanding. For some wrong reason a lot of people think that Mexican food is very greasy and heavy in the stomach, but Manuel's food is very clean and light. Camarones a la Veracruzana are simply out of this world. When you take the first bite you understand why the price is a little high. I recommend to enjoy this savory this with a unique, refreshing cucumber martini made with fresh pressed cucumbers, lime, and my favorite tequila, Don Julio silver.
In a word, Awful :( – I am shocked to see that this restaurant does not have even more poor reviews than what it has received. My husband and I gave it a try yesterday as he works downtown and we wanted to give it a try. What's funny is everyone at his workplace had warned us that Manuel's was not that great, but we wanted to try it and see for ourselves. I have lived in Austin now for 9 years and I dare say this is the worst Mexican food I've ever encountered. The salsa is essentially tasteless. We had to giggle, because the chips actually tasted like crayons. How we remember the taste of crayons is beyond me, but evidently we both tried eating one as a child... and they tasted just like Manuel's chips! That is not good. My salad, which was baby spinach had grilled chicken on it was edible, but way overpriced for what it was. The service was lazy, so not even that could make up for the food. I usually only log on to Citysearch to praise my favorite local places, but I was so disappointed in this experience that I wanted to leave a review here letting people know that the only thing this place has going for it is the location. If you have an opportunity to eat in this area, pick some place else. You've been warned.
Average Food, Cool Atmosphere, Overpriced – I was expecting something out of the ordinary, something I couldn't get at Papasito's or Chuy's, but on the cuisine front, was somewhat dissapointed. Sure the location was great, and the decor was hip and fun, but the food was just so-so. I had the house specialty mole, which was good but not great. At 16 bucks for enciladas I was expecting something more.
So go for the hip scene, get a specialty margarita at the bar, but try one of the million other tex-mex gems in Austin for the food, this place is just average at best.
Good food, but be prepared for a LONG wait – The food is generally decent Mexican fare. Nothing to write home about, but most items are reasonably priced and are good enough. The biggest problem is the wait, and the wait, and the wait. Manuel's is coveniently located in the heart of downtown, so it's very popular with working folks after 5:00, and with revelers starting a night on the town. Rather than turn potential customers away or give realistic wait times, the host/hostess usually tells everyone coming in that a table will be coming right up. Don't believe it. Have a drink or three at the bar. By the time a table is ready, you will be famished and tipsy.
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