Who doesn’t love a great daycation in downtown Austin? Especially as Austin is known for its fabulous foodie scene.
As locals, we happily sleuth out the latest and greatest grub for your dining pleasure. Interestingly enough, these two gems are nestled in the new downtown Marriott hotel.
We have discovered our new favorite restaurant in downtown Austin. Corinne sits at the corner of East Cesar Chavez and Trinity Street. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, and with indoor seating and a fabulous outdoor patio that looks out on the bustling downtown scene, the food, drinks and vibe were 10 out of 10.
Corinne is on the bottom floor (corner) of the new Austin Marriott Downtown, so they draw a solid mix of hotel guests and local diners alike. Starting with the impeccable customer service (our waitress gave us solid pasta advice from her Italian upbringing), moving through the chardonnay suggestion (a reasonably priced California selection) and sprinkled throughout with a delicious dining experience, Corinne is a winner!
Honest Food + Drink
It’s difficult to choose among their scrumptious starters but you can’t go wrong with the Burrata (soft cheese with apricot mostarda, truffle honey, marcona almonds and grilled artisan bread), the Avocado Hummus (served with a small side of olive tapenade and fresh veggies for dipping), or the Crispy Crab Croquettes (five balls of seafood goodness with a citrus aioli).
As you move on to the entrees, you continue your epicurean journey. The Wild Mushroom Bolognese is a hearty and pleasing choice while the Truffled Bucatini is rich enough to write home about. And the Braised Wagyu will turn you into a carnivore. It is expertly accompanied by a bowl of pommes puree, heirloom carrots, bacon and wild mushrooms.
For dessert, share a slice of Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with a pretzel crust, or the very fruity Strawberry Shortcake, featuring angel food cake, chantilly and mint.
Corinne’s tagline — “Honest food + drink” — touts one thing of many that make this our #1 option for authentic Austin patio dining for American comfort food with an emphasis on signature dishes.
Our other new top foodie pick downtown (also at the Marriott) is Zanzibar, best described by their mantra “seven stories up and a world away.” Upon arrival, you will be greeted by the sign: “This way to paradise.” If seventh heaven is truly Utopia, it’s serendipitous that Zanzibar sits on the seventh floor, with a private elevator at the street. Relax on the expansive covered terrace, peppered with generously spaced tables among lush green surroundings. Then imagine feeling transported to a faraway coastal retreat, only in downtown Austin, with a nice cross breeze and skyline to boot.
Bordering the hotel’s rooftop swimming pool, Zanzibar welcomes the kind of beach resort attire you might find on the actual Indian Ocean island, which lies off Tanzania on the eastern coast of Africa. Once the largest exporter of spices in the world, the island of Zanzibar brings this sea of flavors right to the heart (and mouth) of Austin’s own oasis.
Small Plates and Cocktails
The small plates are perfect for sampling and sharing. Several stops are warranted on this menu tour, featuring fresh seafood, salads, and spicy island cuisine.
Tiki-style hand-crafted cocktails with names like Bird of Paradise and Tradewinds arrive in festive pineapple glasses, garnished with slices of fresh fruit and pretty plumeria blooms. Saving your libations for later, or skipping the alcohol? The Spice Island and Clean Wave mocktails can pair perfectly with your plate, yet also stand alone to hit the spot on a warm day.
From the Day Menu, plunge into the BBQ Pork Wontons with tomatillo sauce, Pulled Pork Sliders with pineapple slaw, and Duck Egg Rolls topped with a sweet chili sauce. Each one of these will leave you feeling love at first bite.
Try building a bowl, customizing your protein (raw or cooked), starch (rice, noodles or greens), and sauce. Onions and cucumbers in the poke-style bowl work especially well with the cooked shrimp option. Sushi lovers will fall for the Night Menu, with additional items such as the Pick 3 hand rolls made with any combination of spicy tuna, citrus salmon, wagyu beef or veggies.
Zanzibar’s open-air terrace and atmosphere calls for celebration, whether a reunion of friends, intimate dinner, or private event for special occasions. Why not join their Sundaycation, featuring tropical mimosas and discounted small bites all day? Now that’s an ATX Sunday Funday we can easily advocate. Be sure to stop by between 4-6 pm, M-W, for Happy Hour specials served at socially distanced tables, for your comfort and safety.
Cover photo courtesy Austin Marriott Downtown
Marika Flatt is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine and was named “Outstanding Austin Communicator” 2021 by Women Communicators of Austin. Flatt has been the voice of the Weekend Trip Tips on NPR’s Texas Standard for over three years and is a regular travel contributor to TV shows across the state.
Dana Maass is a contributing writer, occupational therapist, and dog mom in Round Rock. Also an Airbnb host, she is a lover of travel, food & wine, nature, sports, theatre, and community service. Maass volunteers with Sacred Heart Community Clinic and co-facilitates the “Still Standing” amputee support group, through St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center.