I had the chance to check out the new restaurants at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin a few weeks ago just before they opened. I was so excited to get a sneak peek at the new space and see what all the buzz is about. This place will no doubt be a mecca for action downtown during SXSW. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was wow this is big! Immediately when I arrived a lady walked up to me and asked how she can help and pointed me in the right direction. This is something I am really excited about that the Marriott brings that we lack here in Austin: service. Every single person I encountered during the evening was helpful, friendly, attentive and genuinely seemed happy to be there. That is something that often gets missed in Austin. So I was happy to see that!
We were welcomed with some Italian cocktails and bites. The Ravioli Gamberi with shrimp, charred broccoli and saffron sauce was one of my favorites! This is a dish I could really comfy with. The calamari was crispy and perfect for sharing. The atmosphere was the most upscale of all the concepts, but still laid-back enough for Austinites.
Next up was Corner, the restaurant that is focused on regional Texas flavors. Think Zucchini Cornbread, Carnitas Tacos and an exceptional Roasted Squash and Farro salad with picked grapes. I will definitely be coming back for that one! The margaritas were on-point. Perfectly tart and simple enough to let the tequila shine through and do its thing. I can see myself spending lots of hot summer nights on their patio sipping many, many more margaritas!
We rounded out the night at Burger Bar. The space sits right on Congress Avenue and I have no doubt will be a hit with the lunch crowd. There is no seating, just a walk-up window where you order. This is an ode to the food trucks that used to inhabit this space. Props to the JW for adding this casual concept. The burgers were old school, cooked on the griddle, nothing too fancy here. The soft serve ice cream cones were a huge hit!
We finished off the evening with soft serve ice cream cones with Oreos, which are my childhood favorite! It was the perfect ending to the evening. I made good on my promise to myself to take more pictures of the actual people in my life, not just the food haha. Here are a few of my foodie friends starting on the top right: Nadia from Eater Austin, Megan from Stetted, Kristy from 365 Things Austin, Jane from A Taste of Koko and Madeline from Austin Monthly. Great seeing all you girls and lets do it again soon!