Dependably excellent food and courteous, attentive wait staff. Absolutely the most perfect patio in Austin. We've been going here since it opened, probably once every week or two. Some of these reviews are just out and out lies, or maybe vindictive because they WERE drunk and needed to be shown the door. Manuel's is a very nice restaurant, with the most gracious management of any restaurant we frequent. We've been here at least 100 times, and we wouldn't be there all the time if there were issues like these. Go enjoy Sunday brunch, with live Latin acoustic music, and you'll really be living.
Sorry, but this is not even close to decent mexican food. I had the enchilada suizas which were not even edible. My daughter had the guacamole tostadoes....only had black beans from a can and lettuce. Where was the guacamole?.... Should have went to taco cabana....better food at a better price with a little flavor....Please if anyone reads this save your money. People talk about what great drinks this place has.....well they have tp be drunk so they dont have to taste how crappy the food is......
Pros: There is none......
Cons: The food sucks!
Ah, Manuel's -- a neighborhood restaurant in my neighborhood that is not so neighborly. The food is not terrible, but at these prices the service is what knocks it down to one star. After many, many visits all I can conclude is that the general manager is either a Mormon or generally opposed to alcohol, as the wait staff appear to be instructed to not oblige patrons' desire to consume alcohol. As noted in other reviews below, you have to either hunt down the wait staff to get a drink or seek out the bar on your own. Ten to thirty minutes between visits to your table is not uncommon.
Worse still, the GM recently had us cut off after five Mimosas at a Sunday brunch, which is probably the most insulting experience I've ever had in a restaurant. It was largely laughable since the entire party was comprised of men who can throw back a six pack and not even flinch. The bartender informed us that it we were being cut off by the GM and it was fairly common when people are "drinking during the day."
The food is inconsistent, but decent. Nonetheless, I'd steer clear. The wait staff is intolerable and the GM may just decide you've had enough. The guy is either a prohibitionist or a moralist. Either way, I won't be revisiting my neighborhood Manuel's any time soon...
Pros: Food is not bad
Cons: Service, service, service
This place has the best margaritas I've ever had (house rita on the rocks with salt).
Also, they have happy hour every day from 4-6, when all appetizers are half price (in addition to drink discounts). Three apps between two people is a meal. So great food, great drinks, and a good price.
If you do want something off of their regular dinner menu, nothing on it has ever disappointed - the Relleno del Mar is an exceptional treat.
Pros: Best happy hour in town, Best margaritas in Austin
the food was just ok. I had two small tostadas for $10.50. The best I can say was the lettuce was beautiful. We received our check, paid the bill, left cash for a tip. When I checked my bank account later, I found out they had added a tip without our agreeing to it. i would not go back to Manuel's nor would I recommend it to anyone else. VERY overpriced for the food.
Pros: pretty plants
Cons: WAY overpriced
I freakin' love this place! The drinks rock, the food is delicious, the servers are a hoot and the patio is kickin'! If you haven't tried this place, check it out. It's right next door to the movie theater so you can stop by after seeing a movie or to have dinner beforehand.
Pros: Next to movie theater, good food, great drinks
Cons: You may not want to leave
Manuel's has happy hour from 4 to 6 every day! The appetizers are 1/2 price and they aren't smaller portions than what they regularly serve! It's the best deal ever! I can't believe that anyone would go anywhere else. My friends and I are making it our regular Friday happy hour spot.
Pros: Happy Hour!
Cons: I don't have a big enough stomach
I have been to Manuels many times. Until last time. The staff is 1) rude and 2) not-organized. Not only I made reservations which they didn't have when I arrived but the lady hostess (long hair good looking mexican in her 30-40s) was extremely, extremely rude when she took us to the table. Not the kind of treatment we were looking for. So, 1 minute after seating, we stood up and left. I hesitated but told the manager who tried to "buy me". Screw that. It is not about money, it is about the experience you stupid.
WORST OWNERS TO WORK FOR!!!!!!!!!!
Please be extremely careful when reading the reviews for Manuels. The owners under the threat of termination have instructed each server to write a positive review in order to increase sales. First of all Jennifer, who just happened to marry the original owner Greg, is in charge of the marketing department. Enough said!!!!!!! It's obvious to anyone who has come in contact with her that she's not exactly the sharpest tool in shed. Actually, her IQ probably isn't greater than a peanut. The owners Jennifer and Greg, and their two sidekicks, treat their employees and in-house management in a manner that can only be described as being "horrible". The owners constantly dress-down their employees and management in front of customers and have instructed staff to cut costs by demanding that chips be re-used; meaning taking a full basket of chips from one table when the customer has left and placing it on the table of a new customer. This also includes the salsa. This is just to give you an idea of how far the owners have gone to save money with little or no regards to the well-being of their customers......................!
My husband and I shared a night out last Sunday and our dinner experience was incredible. The atmosphere was so nice and not too crowded for a Sunday night. Our waiter, Mike, suggested two jumpo shrimp dishes and we both tried them. Immediately, my husband and I fell in love with the sauces and mouth watering flavor. Then Mike suggested a dessert wine and the chocolate bread pudding...this was too good to be true.
It's truly and experience you have to try for yourself! Oh, and ask for Mike...best recommendations in town!!!
Pros: atmosphere, wait staff, seafood
I went to manuels at the arboritum and i tryed the best mexican cucumber martini in the world the waiter was very attentive and sugested for me to get the relleno with seafood in it and it was amazing after that we tryed the flan and it was absolutly the best flan I ever had this is going to be my favorite mexican restaurant for now on
Pros: food very authentic
Cons: there's only 2 of them
My husband and I drive by Manuel?s all the time and always notice how crowded the place is, so we of course were excited to try it out for dinner on a recent Friday night. After a 45 minute wait (which is not a problem at all for a good restaurant in Austin), we were extremely disappointed with our first encounter of what this restaurant calls ?queso dip?. If you think a block of microwaved cheese is considered good queso dip, then this place is for you. We, on the other hand, were not impressed and sat there wondering if something were wrong with our taste buds considering the waitress actually suggested this as an appetizer. When the chips and salsa were brought to our table at the same time, we thought they might have poured the salsa out of the Tostitos jar and the chips from the Tostitos bag ? both of which reminded us of our college days when we didn?t appreciate or know of home made chips and salsa. We then ordered the steak and chicken fajitas and thought that had to be one of the better items on the menu since other people in the restaurant were also eating fajitas. The fajitas were ok, but nothing spectacular. They were the best part of the meal, other than the beers and martini?s. I don?t understand how anyone would go here instead of Iron Cactus ? when the prices are similar and Iron Cactus chips and salsa, main course, and service are all 100 times better.
Pros: good martini
Cons: food, service
I don't understand why anyone would go to Fonda San Miguel as opposed to Manuel's Mexican Restaurant! First of all, the food is just plain better at Manuel's. Secondly the service is friendlier and faster. Third, it isn't nearly as expensive as Fonda. Fourth, the drinks are SOOO much better at Manuel's. I have had a cucmber martini at each place and the one at Fonda is awful. When I asked the bartender at Manuel's why their's was better and she said they use fresh cucumber juice! What a difference it makes. The mole sauce is better at Manuel's too. Please try Manuel's before you go back to Fonda San Miguels; you will thank me for it.
Pros: Awesome Happy Hour, near the Arbor theater
Cons: parking is awful when there is a good movie at the Arbor
I went to Manuels in the Arboretum on Wednesday. The atmosphere was great and their relleno Del Mar was the best relleno I have ever had. Also, our waitress was kind enough to bring out a bouqet of flowers for my date along with dessert. I would surely recommend Manuels to my friends and family.
Pros: Service, food, ambience
While Manuel's has an excellent happy hour and dinner menu, I find there lunch entres to be among the best in town. Specifically, the achiote chicken salad. Its perfect! The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the staff is knowledgable and competent. I wouldn't take a client anywhere else for lunch.
I came to this restaurant for my first time with my family and I was extremely impressed. Some of the menu items I did not understand and the servers were very helpful and knowledgeable about the menu items. We sat outside on the patio, which has to be the best patio in Austin. The style of the restaurant is very colorful and vibrant just like the food. The service was also very wonderful. They were very nice and attentive. They even boxed up our food! Furthermore, the drink menu had some of the most original martinis I have ever seen. You have to try the Cucumber Lime martini or the Mario's Maraca and get a fabulous stuffed chile rellenos. I would recommend this restaurant for families and all ages alike. It was a great experience and I would definitely go back!! Five stars!!
Pros: Great drinks, Excellent food and lots to choose from
I recently had a wonderful experience at Manuel's in the arboretum. I was in from out of town and came in to eat and have some drinks alone. I was pleasently suprised with impecable service and fantastic food and great drinks!
I would HIGHLY reccomend the cucumber martini and seafood relleno.
Pros: atmosphere, service, food, drinks
Cons: not one!
I used to pick Tex-Mex 9 times out of 10 when choosing a restaurant, but Manuels central Mexican cuisine has changed my mind. It's not your run of the mill greasy Mexican food. They serve what has become my favorite fish dish: black drum, with a chipotle cream lime sauce that will leave you wanting more. They also have great flautas and just about anything with their verde sauce on top is a winner. I would also recommend the crab nachos and if catch the happy hour from 4-6 any day of the week they're half off! The servers are very knowledgable and the hosts and managers accomodating. One of my favorite restaurants in Austin!
Pros: Happy Hour!
Cons: Parking can be difficult
I just went to Manuel's for the first time tonight and I thought it was excellent. Our server, Kim, was informative and entertaining. the food was delicious and I had the Martini Maximilian and I want to get the recipe and make it for myself every night when I get off of work! Even the manager stopped by our table and made us feel welcome! They also have a beautiful patio which you don't expect considering the location. (Of course we didn't sit outside because it was too cold). I will absolutely go back again. We had such a great time. Thanks Manuel's!
Pros: Service, Food, Decor
Cons: Parking is tragic and music is hokey
Manuel's has great interior Mexican food at a good price. I think it's comparable in quality to Fonda San Miguel, but at 2/3 the price. I'm a particular fan of the Pescado a la Parrilla (both the black drum and the tuna are great), and you have to try Manuel's queso. Rather than velveeta with some stuff floating in it, this is nice, thick queso with real vegetables, served with tortillas. If you're really daring, get the hongos guisados, which is basically the same thing but more mushrooms and less cheese. I prefer the north location to downtown because of the cool outdoor seating.
Pros: Great queso, cool patio, friendly staff
Cons: serves Pepsi
I love Manuel's! Always great food, friendly staff! I have been a client since I moved to Austin and I bring out of town friends here as well. Their crab enchiladas and cucumber martinis are to die for!
I don't understand if all the staff was new, stupid, or merely incompetent on the recent Friday evening that I dined here.
First, I asked for a reservation for 10. This was at 5:30 pm. The hostess and hosts told me there was no need for a reservation. There was plenty of room to sit 10. At 5:40, realizing that Happy Hour would be ending in 20 minutes, again I asked for a table for 10. By this time most of the restaurant was taken up by smaller groups of two to fours. The only place, we could be seated was in front of the kitchen. Not our first choice.
I then told the waiter that we were here for happy hour, and that I wanted to order and that I wanted separate checks. He said that separate checks were fine and he told us that we still had 20 minutes in which to order to make it under the Happy Hour time rule. I ordered immediately, but unfortunately most of the other people didn't.
The waiter disappeared, and it was difficult to get his attention. The place had gotten full. As a consequence, most of the people in my party were charged full prices for their starters instead of the Happy Hour 1/2 off prices. Also, when I asked for my separate check, I was told that the restaurant did not do separate checks and that this was written on the menu, but that they would make an exception and be "nice" about it, although it would take him some time to sort it out.
It took a long long time to get my check. I was here before with the same people twice two months earlier and we had no problems with getting separate checks, being seated, or getting our orders taken promptly.
It was disappointing to have such slow service and to have problems with seating and getting separate checks.
Pros: Lovely Decor, Good Prices On Happy Hour Starters
Cons: Poor Seating, Separate Check, and Slow Service Problems
Went on saturday night and there wasno wait at 7:30... nice not to wait. Nice decor, pretty patio. My mexican martini was tasty.. but once our food came it was pretty bland. No seasoning on the chicen Flautas. Our appetizer had canned or jared mushrooms (ugh). Just not that impressed by the food. Would return for the atmosphere and maybe drinks. I have to give kudos to our waitress as she knew the menu well and made some suggestions. Menu smaller than expected also.
Pros: patio, service, tasty martini
Cons: A little pricy for average food
I am in Manuel's once or twice a week. I have had every martini on the menu, but prefer a lemon drop. They are one of a few places in town that can make a really good one. Customer service is always consistent and management is attentive. Food is consistent as well, great queso! I love the patio in the spring and early summer! Keep it up!
Pros: great live music and good brunch
Cons: parking can be tricky when the movie theater is busy
Manuals is one of the best mexican restaurants in a town full of great Mexican Food. Interior Mexican Food that is actualy healthy as well as tasty. The Chicken enchiladas with Verde or the Pork enchillada with Mole will make you a believer too. Dont forget the great margaritas. If interior Mex is not your thing, then Polvos is the place.
I have been to many Mexican restaurants, and Manuels is by far the best. They have some very original martinis including ones made with cucumber juice and margaritas made with fresh fruit juice. Our most recent waiter was extremely knowledgable about wine and gave us a wonderful tour of the menu. My favorite dish is the pork pablano pepper, and the flan is the best you will find. The greatest misconception of Manuels is that it is not and I will emphasize _not_Tex-Mex cuisine. When a friend of mine recently compared Manuels to Baby A's, I told them that was like comparing NASA to an 8 grade science class. Seriously! If you want tamales, burritos, or crispy tacos, Manuels is not for you. Going to Manuel's is an adventure in true Mexican culinary arts, and its entrees are designed to be savored and inspiring. This isn't your corner El Paso tex-mex taqueria. Cons are that it is a little pricey, however, when your sauce was hand-made from scratch this morning as opposed to the the can being opened 10 minutes ago, and your waiter is a culinary guide, not just another high-school drop-out, it is well worth the extra 5 dollars per entree. One last comment, expect the bar to always be backed up and the Sunday band to seem to always have an unpleasant oder around them, but when your on one of the best patios in Austin, who cares.
Pros: Food, Service, Atmosphere
Cons: A little Pricey, but worth it
We've been dining at the Arboretum location since they opened --- so, the last couple of visits really make it impossible for us to go back! Time before last we ordered our meal and had nearly finished when a friend from another table came over to chat and say "hi"; she didn't order anything a brought her drink from the other table. Imagine my surprise when we were charged a gratuity of 20% for a party of five (since she joined our party of 4) and for her drink!! This time, we ordered our normal appetizers and got the check only to find out that the 1/2 price appetizer offer has changed from 7pm to 6pm -- thus the $50 ticket and the drink that I ordered arriving at the end of the meal. Manuel's, you can do better than this!! What a shame. . . .
Pros: Patio is fabulous
Cons: Servers seem greedy and overworked
I recently dined at Manuel's for a friend?s birthday and had a good time while dining...Our bill in the end was a little under $250.00. While I know it is a pain, we asked the server to split the bill evenly onto our credit cards, making each persons bill about $30.00 with the grat. When I checked my account the next day I had been charged for the entire bill and for my portion. Apparently, the server accidentally ran my card before she split the bill, and then ran my card again for my amount. I know that servers make mistakes as I wait tables...but the fact is that they offered to do nothing to fix this flagrant charge!! All they gave me was an "I'm sorry" and told me to wait 2 days for it to clear my account. Meanwhile, two checks bounced and I couldn't spend even a dime out of my account. I will never dine at this restaurant again, not because the food was bad, but because the manager is incompetent at his job!!! When you dine out at Manuel?s say a quick prayer that your server knows what the hell they are doing!!!
Pros: I can think of nothing good to say
All the people complaining it is not Tex-Mex above are correct, but IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE!!! There are plenty of Tex-Mex restaurants if that is what you want. It is a little pricy but you should know that going in.
If you are still reading, Everything we had there was good and worth the price. I like the fact that the dishes are different than your standard Tex-Mex. Don't get me wrong here, I love Tex-Mex too. I will definitely go back.
Pros: Good food. Good Drink. Not your ordinary Tex-Mex. Good Food. Good Food.
Cons: Little pricy but worth it on occasions.
Thank you, Manuels (Arboretum area), for a fabulous birthday dinner last night!! My husband and I had dined at your restaurant a while back (I believe in April of 2006?), and my husband said at the time that that was the best seafood he had ever had. (We spend a great deal of time fishing at the Texas coast, so that's saying alot, especially since my husband does not really mention quality unless it's truly exceptional.) Based on that experience, we made reservations for yesterday evening for my entire family (it was my birthday), and again, such a great meal! During our previous visit I did not try the seafood, but last night I ordered the Pescado a la Parilla (red drum with chipotle cream lime sauce), and that actually may have topped the yellow fin snapper I caught on our honeymoon in Belize in 2003! (The resort on Ambergris Caye cooked our catch - a savored moment!) We will definitely be back - thank you again!
Pros: Manuels knows how to cook fish!
Cons: None of which I know
As you can tell from my heading, I'm crazy about Manuel?s. I eat there often. My fave dishes are the chicken flautas which are broiled not fried, they have crunch and are perfect. The appetizer "pollo mole" is my favorite comfort food on a chilly day- served in a crockery bowl, with white-meat chicken pieces swimming in a rich mole (I think I've read that their mole has over 30 ingredients) then topped with white cheese and slightly broiled; served with fresh flour tortillas for filling. Order this with a side of guacamole - heaven! The interior is comfortable and sophisticated with an open kitchen...nice to see what's going on....it is spotless. The outside with a huge live oak sheltering the area is truly the best patio in town. When the wisteria is blooming they have a large corner where you can dine under the branches laden with violet blooms (when in bloom, wisteria releases tiny water droplets; the whisper droplets fall on you as you dine and it's lovely on a warm day). Other highlights of the menu are, well, any salad with their cilantro vinaigrette dressing - the fresh house salad is a great start with any meal, I forget what they're called, but their potato pancakes are wonderful as are enchiladas and nachos. I confess that I've found my favorite dishes and have a hard time wandering from them...but my dining companions, if I can't convince them to get the flautas, order varied dishes and are always happy. The margaritas are DELICIOUS and are not watered down in any way....make sure there is a designated driver when you go for happy hour (please). Manuel's is not Tex-Mex...it's not too far from it either, in my opinion. The queso is not fake orange cheese (which I do enjoy), but it's white cheese; the tortilla soup is a dark broth (hearty and delicious), not a clear broth or tomato broth that you might expect. The service is ALWAYS above par; a fabulous and plentiful wait staff.
I eat at Manuels on average once every 2 months. The Food and Service are excellent. My favorite is the Chicken Nachos but I also enjoy the Enchiladas. When the weather is nice, I highly recommend dining on the patio.
Pros: Food, Serivce, Ambience
Cons: Prices are starting to go up but it's still a great value
I recently tried this location (I had only been to the one downtown before) and it's just as good! The enchilada's are excellent! Highly recommend!
Pros: Great food
Cons: The preparation is a little different, some may not like
Manuel's seems to have become the hip spot on reputation alone, not on food or service. I've eaten here a few times over the years, and while I always enjoy the ambiance on the patio, and the margaritas are very good, the food always leaves me wanting. First, the dishes are small. Second, as another poster mentioned, the food is not usually very warm. The presentation is always very nice, but the dishes themselves are lacking in spice and creativity.
If you're visiting Austin, there are many other Mexican restaurants in Austin that do much better Tex Mex than Manuels. Go to enjoy the patio for happy hour, but move on for food.
Pros: Good margaritas, nice patio, great location
Cons: Food is just ok, service is not good
I waited tables at this location while taking time off between college and graduate school. After waiting tables for several years, I had never seen a kitchen staff which took more pride in the cleanliness of their environment and the quality of their food than the staff at Manuel's. I have dined at the restaurant ever since.
The patio atmosphere is perfect for a fun, lively afternoon meal, while the interior has a chic, romantic date feel. The food is oustanding - the "lomo de res" and "lomo de puerco" are ubelievable, and the happy hour is one of the best in town, lasting from 4-7 every day of the week, with 1/2 off appetizers and drinks. Another very notable aspect of their cooking is that they do not use animal fat or grease to cook their food, as do most mexican restaurants in Austin.
Pros: Food, Kitchen , Atmosphere
My husband and were eager to try it given the crowds it usually draws. We ordered margaritas at the bar while we waited for our table; they they were good but small and expensive for the size. We ate on the patio which was beautiful. However, our waiter came to nearby tables two or three times in a 25 minute period without asking if we wanted to order. We had to flag him down to finally put our order in. Both my mushroom quesedillas and my husband's fajitas arrived barely warm even thought the fajita meat was on a hot plate. The quesedillas were soggy.
Overall, I was not impressed with Manuels' service or food. There are too many Mexican restaurants that serve excellent food (hot) and at a better price.
Pros: Nice patio, margaritas, location
Cons: food, service, price
Wow! Sharp looking building and patio (when weather permits). I lived in Mexico City for a number of years and this restaurant takes me back in many ways. Great interior/regional Mexican menu. This is not about Tex-Mex. Very interesting drink menu too. They need to open more of these. Check it out!
Pros: food and drinks, service, patio
Friendly staff, prompt service, and excellent food.
We were tired and hungry when we arrived, and unsure about what to order. The waiter was very helpful, explaining the menu to us. The appetizers of gorditas and campechana arrived quickly, and were very fresh and flavorful. For dinner we had the cactus salad, the yellowfin tuna on spinach and the jumbo grilled shrimp on rice. All were delicious, and went well with the fresh lime margarita. We'll be back!
Pros: nice atmosphere, friendly service, delicious and fresh f
The experience started off questionable and I should have known to leave then. When the hostess came back from cleaning a table for us she decided to chat for a couple of minutes before seating us. My sister, mother and husband wanted Cokes to drink, but they only have Pepsi. The salsa tasted like hot sauce and ketchup mixed together. The rice was dry, hard and clumped together. They put sour cream on the beans (no mention of it in the menu). The meat on my taco was given the same hot sauce treatment as the salsa. By far the worst food I have ever had at a mexican restaurant. After we complained to the waitress about the poor quality of the food, she basically said there was nothing that she could do. That this was a 'different' mexican restaurant and some people liked it and some didn't.
Pros: absolutely none
Cons: bad food, bad service, hot sauce 'seasoning'
I have been coming to Manuel's for a long time now, and am always happy with my experience. The service is always warm and friendly, and the food is exceptional. I particularly enjoy that the food is fresh and is not saturated in heavy oils. One of my favorite dishes is the Chile Relleno de Enogada. They grill the poblano pepper till the skin is charred and delicately remove the charred skin till the soft pulp of the pepper is left, they then stuff it with this remarkable shredded pork, and top it with an exquisite brandy cream sauce. This item alone brings me back at least once a week.
Pros: great ambiance, friendly service, fresh food
Can't say enough good things about my experience at manuels this past week. it was a busy friday and even though we got a late start and had to settle for the wait list, manuels ample bar made the time pass swiftly. Great food and great service is what it's al about here!
Last week I went to eat at manuels and everything was perfect!
I recently ate at Manuels at Greathills. I have been on the go, I havn't had time to stop in and enjoy the food and happy hour drink specials. I finally made it in on a friday and everything was exellent, from the food to the service. The host said it would be a 40 minute wait, but I was sat in 20 minutes. The margaritas are always my favorite.
I always bring friends and family who are visiting from out of town to Manuels. It has a great happy hour and the patio is wonderful! I haven't tried a dish I have not liked.
Manuel's is one of the best Mexican restaurants in the area. I am Mexican, and have a good knowledge of what good-interior-mexican food is, and I tell you Manuel's has it.
The service is very attentive and profesional, the atmosphere is the best, with a nice patio and great customers.
Pros: Great food, great service, great ambiance
I work at a large office and I was put incharge of getting together an office dinner, being my procratinator self I left it for the last second. I frequent Manuel's quiet a bit and called up the manager and to see about a large party that same day! They were more than helpful, they were amazing! They had our party seated right on time, had great drinks, great food, and gave us great service. Manuel's made me look great infornt of my office. Thanks!
Pros: great manager, Atmosphere
Cons: crowded parking lot
My wife and I recently went there for a romantic Valentines Day Dinner and I felt I just had to write about my wonderful experiance. We both tried the specail Red Snapper they had and it was fabulous! We finished off with some of their 3 leches cake and we could not have had a better ending.
Pros: drinks, food, service
Cons: slight wait