Dining: Congress Austin

Congress Second Outside Corner Austin tx

Second Bar + Kitchen || Casey Dunn

Update: Congress has been awarded Austin restaurant critic Mike Sutter’s very first Five-Star review.

Three restaurants make one unique dining experience in Downtown Austin.

On the corner of Austin’s main avenue are three dining spaces – Bar Congress, Second Bar + Kitchen, and Congress restaurant. Though they are connected by Bar Congress and a kitchen serving high-quality fare, each eatery is distinct. Some call it “continental,” “chic,” or “the fresh face of the city.” Leave your car with the valet at the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi River: the Austonian.

For a modern and comfortable lunch or dinner, start at Second Bar + Kitchen. A bright corner space with tall ceilings and a balcony, this dining area has unique design and a view of popular 2nd street. Try a tapas-style starter of chicken-fried olives or avocado fundido. Second courses may include rotisserie chicken salad, pepperoni soup, pappardelle with rabbit confit, and beef short rib pizza.

Food For A Fraction Of The Cost

Congress restaurant private dining room Austin tx

Congress Restaurant's Private Dining Room || Casey Dunn

The more formal Congress restaurant is an interior space – intimate but well-lit, comfortable seating, and a lofty, quiet design. Here you can choose from a tasting menu or a three-course meal. Upscale menu options may include White Lobster “Bisque” with Fresno Tomato Jam and Lobster Ricotta Fritter or the Black Bass with White Bean Mousse, Crisp Mizuna and Serrano Ham – be advised that the menu changes based on the fresh market buys of the day. Desserts have creative touches like whipped honey or house-made Campari Pop Rocks.

Bar Congress Overview Austin Tx

Bar Congress with Enomatic Wine Dispenser || Casey Dunn

Only have time for drinks? Bar Congress provides just that. This connecting space has Austin’s rare Enomatic Wine System, which is essentially 16 wines on tap. Try vinos, ports, and sakes by the glass that would otherwise be available only in bottles. For the shaken or stirred crowd, the Bar’s craft cocktails are created mainly with house-made mixers – no high-fructose syrup in your glass. You may find yourself returning just to try an imbibement with ingredients you’ve never before seen.

Why you should go:

Multiple spaces are available for groups – round up your Grand Prix friends and head to this downtown spot. Our favorite area is Second’s “Green Room” balcony, which gets its name from a soft, thick carpet of artificial grass. Combined with teak tables, contemporary metal chairs, music and open air, it offers the perfect vibe for lounging while overlooking downtown. Capacity: 45 people

If you’re looking for a more secluded space, Congress restaurant has a private dining room with a large, elegant table and a view into the wine cellar. Capacity: 12 people

Green Room Congress Austin Tx

Green Room Balcony overlooking 2nd and Congress || Casey Dunn

Getting There:

If you’re already staying downtown, it’s likely you won’t have a long walk to the corner of 2nd St. and Congress Ave.

About the staff:

Chef David Bull describes the prix-fixe menu as “Natural American” cuisine where he selects the highest-quality local and seasonal ingredients. Chef de Cuisine Rebecca Meeker ensures every dish comes out perfectly executed by the team. Pastry Chef Plinio Sandalio presents a selection of inventive desserts designed to leave guests smiling and satisfied after a memorable meal.

Beverage Director and Sommelier June Rodil offers thoughtfully selected wine pairings as well as a comprehensive, premium wine list with more than 500 labels.
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1 Review

  1. Anonymous, 6 years ago

    Beautiful image. Very well done, I like the colors and framing in the shot.

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