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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Modern, Vegefusion
Casual restaurant

Tue–Fri 11:00am–2:00pm
Tue–Fri 5:00pm–10:00pm
Sat 11:00am–10:00pm
Sun 10:30am–2:30pm

Features Date-friendly, outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted


Bouldin Creek Area
1807 S. 1st St.
Austin, TX
(512) 442-2500
Somnio’s Café
It’s like going to dinner at your farmer friend’s cute South Austin home

Somnio’s Café is aptly named, a sleepy, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it little spot on South First. It feels like a joint your buddies opened on a lark, just to see how it goes. We love the feel, from the hidden back-side entrance, to the somewhat mix-’n’-match furnishings, to the sleek, curving bar. Beaded lighting sparkles overhead, and the service is charmingly unpolished. It’s a first-names kind of a place, with a blissfully short menu, rich in local produce and supplemented by daily specials. A question to the waiter about an ingredient might be met with a hollered “Hey, Jay, whaddaya put in the tacos again?” Somnio’s calls its fare “South Austin Cuisine,” which is as good as saying it might be anything, so long as it’s rougher edges are smoothed by a little yuppie cosmopolitan polish.

Generous salads are good, and we like the woodsy shiitake dumplings, although they’re quite doughy. The cheesesteak shares that flaw, with a rather low filling-to-fluff ratio, but the meat is good. Orange pork tacos, simmered in zest and beer, bring a little Asian flavor to Tex-Mex, and are moist and notably citrusy. Dishes can be oily and undersalted a bit, but it’s tempting to cut them some slack, like you do when at a friend’s place for dinner. And a pleasant, internationally inventive BYO dinner for this price? Now that’s downright neighborly.

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