Austin Mole Restaurant Guide 2018

Austin Mole Restaurant Guide 2018

Austin Mole Restaurant Guide 2018

The ultimate guide to mole in Austin! 

This guide is just a starting point for all you people who love mole as much as I do and want to find it in Austin. For those people visiting the city for festivals like ACL or SXSW, definitely consider checking out one of these restaurants and trying out a mole dish. Mole is a traditional sauce that originated in southern Mexico. There are seven traditional moles that are hugely different, but most restaurants typically only have the most common mole, mole poblano – the dark brown, chocolatey sauce. I used to make mole every winter. It is a long process when done from scratch, but the effort is worth it when it comes out right. Here are a few of our fav places to get mole. This guide is also a part of the Austin Food Bloggers’ 2018 City Food Guide (#ATXBestEats). 

Hecho En Mexico

6001 W William Cannon Dr # 301, Austin, TX 78749 (map) (menu)

South Austin, Traditional and Interior Mexican, Incredible Tequila night

Hecho en Mexico gets the first place in our list, because it is moderately priced and serves three excellent moles, including “manchamanteles,”  one of the seven classic moles of Oaxaca, which you rarely see at restaurants. Also on the menu is a mole blanco, a white mole that is perfect with seafood. If you are really interested in moles, get the “Platon de Enchiladas de Mole,” which gives you three enchiladas with one each of all three moles on the menu. All these moles are excellent, and the restaurant has a great neighborhood feel to it.

Also, if you like tequila, definitely check out their Tequila Dinners on the last Wednesday of every month – they are pretty amazing.

Mole on the menu:
Mancha Manteles $16
Mole Blanco $16
Mole Poblano $16
Platon de Enchiladas de Mole $18
Memelas de Pollo Poblanas (lunch) $9

Here’s a great article about Hecho en Mexico in Community Impact.

Platon de Enchiladas de Mole at Hecho en Mexico restaurant in Austin, TX
All three delicious moles on the Platon de Enchiladas de Mole at Hecho en Mexico restaurant in Austin, TX

El Naranjo

85 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701 (map) (menu)

South Austin, Traditional and Interior Mexican, Incredible Tequila night

El Naranjo seems to be on everyone’s list of the top Mexican restaurants in Austin. The chef owners,Iliana and Ernesto, had a restaurant in Oaxaca, which won praise from Bon Apetit Magazine. In 2006 they moved to Austin and opened a food trailer, and later opened their Rainey Street restaurant. El Naranjo also serves three traditional moles including pipian verde, one of my personal favorites and difficult to find. Def check this place out.

Mole on the menu:
Mole Negro de Oaxaca $30
Mole Amarillo de Oaxaca $29
Pipian Verde $28

Licha’s Cantina

1306 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 (map)(menu)

East side, Authentic Mexican cuisine, Highly recommended 

We first heard about Licha’s Cantina from one of Rachel’s culinary students who came from Mexico. She told us it was the only place in Austin she would eat Mexican food. If this isn’t a great recommendation, nothing is. This should high on your list. 

Mole on the menu:
Mole con Pollo Huarache $12
Camaron con Mole Tlacoyo $16
Enmoladas de Pato $21

El Meson

2038 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (map) (menu)

South Austin, Traditional Mexican Home Cooking, Neighborhood Restaurant

El Meson’s Chef Marisela Godinez came to Austin in 2000, and has since earned a devoted following and been featured in numerous publications. Her cuisine nicely straddles the line between home cooking and fancy cuisine. 

Mole on the menu:
Mole Verde
Mole Poblano
Enchiladas con Mole
Huevos con Mole Rojo

Curra’s Grill

614 E Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704 (map) (menu)

Relaxed hangout, excellent classic Tex Mex dishes, 

I mentioned Curra’s in our South Austin Taco Guide. Curra’s is one of the classic, old-Austin traditional Mexican restaurants south of the river. Curra’s has the traditional mole poblano, and it is very good. One of my fav breakfast dishes is “huevos sucios,” two eggs covered in mole sauce. Yum.

Mole on the menu:
Huevos Sucios $8.99
Pollo con Mole $14.99
Mole Enchiladas $11.99

Papalote Taco House

2803 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (map)(menu)

Traditional Mexican, fast and easy

I also mentioned Papalote’s in our South Austin Taco Guide. The food is authentic, the atmosphere is very casual and the people who work there are super friendly. I mention Papalote here, because one of their taco toppings is Guajolote en Mole, “shredded turkey covered in sweet mole sauce topped with poblano peppers, cabbage, pickled onions, queso fresco, and a slice of fresh avocado.

Mole on the menu:
Guajolote en Mole $3.75

Manuel’s

310 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701 (map)(menu)

Classy, downtown, place to go out,

For years, Manuel’s was the Mexican place to go downtown. The food is excellent, and the atmosphere is lively. Good date night restaurant. “Manuel’s Famous Mole” is a classic mole poblano. The Pollo en Mole appetizer is great if you want to sample mole for the first time.

Mole on the menu:
Manuel’s Famous Mole $18
Pollo en Mole con Queso $11

Fonda San Miguel

2330 W N Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78756 (map)(menu)

Elegant, Romantic, Place to take out of town guests

The most established, high end Mexican restaurant in Austin. This used to be one of the main restaurants in Austin to take out of town guests. The atmosphere is beautiful, lush, vibrant and romantic. The food is excellent. I’ve had the mole here several times. It is quite good, but the atmosphere is the main reason I would go. It is worth noting that their Sunday brunch is supposed to be spectacular.

Mole on the menu:
Pollo en Mole Poblano $18

South Austin Breakfast Taco Guide 2018

South Austin Breakfast Taco Guide!!

Welcome to the South Austin Breakfast Taco Guide! Here is the answer to your question: Where are the BEST TACOS IN AUSTIN?? (At least South Austin)

We love breakfast tacos. Who doesn’t? There’s nothing better than a really fresh taco made with good ingredients and topped with delicious salsa. And the best thing is that you can put just about anything into a taco – veggies, fish, meat, beans, leftovers and any kind of sauce you can imagine. We make tacos for breakfast at home at least 3-4 times per week, but where do you find a good taco when you want to eat out? Look no more – here is our guide to the tacos of South Austin for those of us that live and work south of the river, and for those visiting the city for festivals like ACL or SXSW. This guide is also a part of the Austin Food Bloggers’ 2018 City Food Guide (#ATXBestEats). Enjoy and eat more tacos!

Papalote Taco House

2803 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (map)

Traditional Mexican, fast and easy

This may be our favorite taco place in South Austin. The food is authentic, the atmosphere is relaxed and the people who work there are super friendly. The taco toppings are all delicious, and the corn tortillas are fresh. When you go, think about trying one of the three traditional dishes on the left side of the menu – huaraches, tlacoyos and sopes. All these are a bit like open-faced tacos.

Papalote Taco House - South Austin
Papalote Taco House, South Lamar
Huarache at Papalote Taco House, Austin
Huarache – a traditional Mexican dish, like an open-faced taco.
Sopa at Papalote Taco House, Austin
Sope – another traditional Mexican dish, like an open-faced taco.

Taco Deli

1500 Spyglass Dr, Austin, TX 78746 (map)

Unusual ingredients and combinations, regular specials, local ingredients

Super popular south Austin taco joint that now has several locations around Austin. Taco Deli focuses on using high quality and local ingredients, and has a range of unique options. You can also find Taco Deli tacos at most of the big farmer’s markets in town and at a number of coffee shops. However, the tacos are much better from the restaurant.

A post shared by Tacodeli (@tacodeli) on

A post shared by Tacodeli (@tacodeli) on

Curra’s Grill

614 E Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704 (map)

Relaxed hangout, excellent food 

One of the classic, old-Austin Mexican restaurants south of the river. Curra’s has been around for decades. Their menu is very traditional Tex-Mex. They serve good margaritas, and the atmosphere is relaxed. A great place to meet friends.

Sazon

1816 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (map)

Classic tex-mex, dirt cheap tacos, nice porch

Another old-Austin Tex-Mex. Sazon has delicious dirt cheap tacos on fresh homemade corn tortillas. Sazon feels like it hasn’t been updated in a long time, but the porch is a perfect place to hang out and get a taco after a dip in the springs.

Maria’s Taco X-press

2529 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (map)

Eclectic atmosphere, classic tex-mex with drinks, music, dancing.
 
Maria’s used to be “the” cool taco dive of south Austin. It was one of those places where the people watching was as good as the food, and they always had great music. Taco X-press is eclectic, weird, totally Austin – home to the “Hippie Church” – tacos and gospel on Sundays. In the mid 2000’s a real estate developer bought the land Maria leased for her restaurant. Fortunately, thanks to a bullet-proof 99 year lease they were able to negotiate the threat into the opportunity to buy a piece of the land and build a new restaurant. This is one of the landmarks of South Austin. Go for the tacos, stay for the dancing.

Bouldin Creek Cafe

1900 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704 (map)

Old Austin hippies, vegetarian with good coffee

Bouldin Creek Cafe was another classic old Austin hippie hang-out. In the early 2000’s, like Maria’s, they were forced to move and found a new home just a bit further south. They managed to keep the laid back, eclectic feel of the restaurant through the upgrade, and they still have a huge following. Be prepared for a wait on weekends. 

Torchy’s Tacos

2809 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704 (map)

Contemporary take on tacos, fried avocado & more

Another classic south Austin taco spot. Torchy’s was one of the first places in south Austin to really start experimenting with tacos. A lot of people love Torchy’s – Obama famously stopped in when he visited Austin for SXSW, and he ordered two tacos – the “Democrat” and the “Republican.” 

Güero’s

1412 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 (map)

Traditional Mexican, great drink menu, South Congress

Longstanding classic Mexican restaurant located in a beautiful historic building on South Congress. Excellent place to meet a big group of friends for food and drink. 

Grocery Stores with Decent Tacos

You can’t leave out the grocery stores with tacos, because they are convenient and have pretty good tacos.

Wheatsville Food Co-Op

4001 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (map)

Wheatsville has good pre-made tacos made with excellent ingredients and delicious salsa.

Central Market Westgate

4521 West Gate Blvd, Austin, TX 78745 (map)

Good tacos made with whatever ingredients you want.

Psst...

You can make great tacos too!

This may be a bit unfair, but all the tacos in the picture at the very top were our homemade tacos. There are some great tacos in Austin, but you can make amazing tacos at home too!
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Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds

Guacamole is one of my favorite dips of all time. There are so many versions of guacamole out there, but regardless of your recipe, the most important thing is that you use perfectly ripe avocados (not too hard, not too soft, and not bruised) so that your dip is creamy, bright green, and fresh tasting. The way I ensure perfect avocados is to buy large avocados when they are mostly green at least a week in advance. Ripen at room temperature until black on the outside and then refrigerate (so they don’t become too ripe) until ready to use.

Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds is my favorite way to serve guacamole during the holiday season, because pomegranates are abundant, the flavors go well together, and the colors are perfect for the holiday table. Take this dip to your next holiday gathering to go with tortilla chips, tamales, or vegetable crudité.

Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 large avocados, ripe
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons umeboshi (ume plum) vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • ½ serrano pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Instructions
  1. Cut avocados in half, remove pits and any bruises, and scoop flesh into a bowl. Mash with a fork until it is a chunky consitency (do not overblend).
  2. Gently mix in other ingredients.
  3. Adjust sea salt to taste.
  4. Put guacamole into serving bowl.
  5. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Note
  1. Umeboshi vinegar goes really well with avocado owing to its salty and sour tastes. However, if you don't have any, you can use more lime juice and sea salt in place of the umeboshi vinegar.

We’ll be making this at my upcoming Holiday Tamales Workshop in Austin this weekend. More photos to come!

Upcoming cooking classes with Chef Rachel Z in Austin, TX

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Please keep in touch!

photo of guacamole with pomegranate

Cecilia’s Pozole Verde

pozole verde

Mmm… Posole soup! Cecilia Torres, my friend and former student, sent me this recipe for Pozole Verde after returning home to León, Mexico this winter. Upon finishing her culinary studies at The Natural Epicurean, she got right back to work cooking amazing things in her kitchen, including the creation of authentic Mexican versions of recipes we did in class. They are all incredibly beautiful! Be sure to check out Cecilia’s food pictures on Instagram.

Pozole or posole refers to the large type of corn as well as the soup made with it. Perhaps you are familiar with pork or chicken-based pozole soups that are stewed for a whole day or two. This version is much fresher, greener, and gets its flavor from the poszole corn and the delicious verde sauce made with roasted poblanos, tomatillos, and lettuce. Flavorful ingredients are made fresh to top the soup with, making it fun for kids of all ages to customize their own bowls.

Cecilia's Pozole Verde
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
Soup
  • 4 cups pozole corn, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or filtered water, or more as needed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 roasted poblano peppers, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 pounds green tomatillo, chopped in halves or quarters
  • ½ head iceberg or romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 or 2 xoconostles, peeled and seeded (optional)
  • reserved pozole cooking liquid
  • vegetable stock or filtered water, as needed
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Toppings
  • cooked pozole (see instructions above)
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
  • ½ head iceberg or romaine lettuce, shredded
  • ½ bunch red radishes, julienned
  • ½ yellow or white onion, minced
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • ½ bunch cilantro leaves
  • 4 limes, sliced into wedges
Instructions
  1. Cook pozole in water or vegetables stock until soft, 60-90 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid for soup base. Set aside.
  2. Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent.
  3. Add garlic, peppers, tomatillos, and lettuce and cook until vegetables are soft and bright green.
  4. Pour sautéed vegetables into a blender with reserved pozole cooking liquid and more vegetable stock (if needed) to make a creamy soup base.
  5. Pour soup base into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  6. Add more vegetable stock to reach the desired consistency of your soup. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve toppings in separate bowls with spoons so that each person can serve up a bowl of soup and put the toppings they would like in their bowl.
Variations
  1. Sauté cooked pozole in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and chile powder. The result is a beautiful and tasty pozole to garnish the soup with.
  2. Use sliced zucchini in place of some or all of the poblano peppers for a milder version.
  3. Pickle thin radish rounds in umeboshi vinegar for about an hour before serving the soup, and use as a topping.

 

Here is the the version I made with Nelson at home yesterday. We added zucchini and serrano pepper (as we forgot to buy the poblanos) as well as a little shredded chicken we had leftover from making a chicken stock. It was still amazing! Another thing we tried was to sauté the cooked pozole corn in olive oil with ground Ancho chile and salt. It had a beautiful color and amazing flavor when added to the soup as a garnish.

Here is a photo of Cecilia and I at the Vegan Thanksgiving class we taught together at the Natural Epicurean in November 2016. I miss her so much!

Cecilia and Rachel cooking together at The Natural Epicurean- November 2016
Cecilia and Rachel cooking together at The Natural Epicurean- November 2016