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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Daily 7:00am–11:00pm

Features Outdoor dining
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Not accepted


Bouldin Creek Area
2004 S. 1st St.
Austin, TX
(512) 441-5446
A reliable good time out in Austin: strong margaritas, colorful lights, and decent eats

Polvos is one of the places we go back to most often. It’s got great queso, strong margaritas (the frozen contains Everclear), and one of the most festive patios in town, even in the dead of winter. We’re not alone: on many nights, the neighborhood’s crowded with cars from parking lot overflow.

Be nimble when navigating the menu. Tacos and sauces from deeper within Mexico don’t work out so well—fish al mojo de ajo has come out totally dry, and anything pipián, chipotle, and the like has been a bit spotty. Instead, start with delicious queso, which you should order with all the accoutrements (picadillo, onion, cilantro, and such). Ceviche is also good, teeming with limey fish, tomatoes, and avocado—and it’s one of the cheapest, healthiest meals in town. Shredded chicken inside enchiladas is underseasoned and average, but their sauces and cheeses are great; mole is decent, and carne guisada is tender, if a little milder than we like. Tortilla soup is a winner; rice and beans, however, could use more salt.

The star here’s the salsa bar (it costs money, but not much) that includes a good, smoky dark ahumada and a hot, gummy green version, as well as searing escabeche. Almost nobody else strikes such a pleasant balance between good, low-key Mex and Tex-Mex food and environment.

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