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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:00am–2:30pm
Mon–Thu 5:00pm–10:00pm
Fri 11:00am–2:30pm
Fri 5:00pm–11:00pm
Sat noon–3:00pm
Sat 5:00pm–11:00pm
Sun noon–3:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–10:00pm

Features Veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Capitol Area
1601 Guadalupe St.
Austin, TX
(512) 322-5131
Clay Pit
Pretty ordinary Indian in a pretty, extraordinary old space

Clay Pit is given to subtle fits of fusion that, at their best, turn Indian cuisine into something unexpected and exciting. The lovely atmosphere, with tables set beneath stone arches for an old-wine-cellar effect, makes Clay Pit another kind of rarity: an Indian restaurant in which you actually feel like drinking wine. A good thing, considering there are a few more Indian-friendly German bottles than elsewhere (but a uniformly oaky selection besides). Cocktails are clunky, with spicy hot infusions that vary in levels of irritation, and a propensity for sugar that is, for once, forgivable, given the needs of the spicy cuisine.

At dinner, there’s low, romantic lighting and you’ll avoid a lunchtime buffet spread of congealing standards. But come close to closing time and you might be hurried out. Apparently, Clay Pit is such a staple that it doesn’t really need your approval. But the love is earned on the plate. Start with tenderly fried coriander calamari (in a pakora-like batter), and wonderful mussels. Goat curry is a strong suit. Saag is dependable and we love the korma, a cashew-almond cream sauce that sounds heavy, but is deeply seductive. The most frequent complaint pertains to consistency; some nights, curries are bold but beautifully balanced, other nights they are monochromatic and underwhelming. But never is a meal here awful, especially if you come early enough.

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