Congress
Congress

Congress

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.congressaustin.com/
  • Phone: (512) 827-2760
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday: 6:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 6:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: David Bull
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Second Street
  • Parking: Valet
A word from Congress
Congress features a prix-fixe dinner menu inspired daily by fresh, seasonal premium ingredients. Chef David Bull is imaginative in utilizing unique flavor combinations, creating an extraordinary dining experience in an elegant, intimate dining room. Bar Congress features the cocktail expertise of Jason Stevens and wines by Wine Director Paula Rester...
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNotable Wine List
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Congress reviews from OpenTable diners
48 reviews since July 24, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.6
    Service4.7
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
83% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (39)romantic (32)fit for foodies (32)notable wine list (22)hot spot (6)vibrant bar scene (4)neighborhood gem (3)good for groups (3)late-night find (1)scenic view (1)Show More
  • A Gem
    4cli
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    As background, my wife and I both enjoy good food, and had recently returned from a vacation in Dublin where we had done somewhat of a tour of the Michelin-starred French restaurants there. Congress would be fully competitive with any of the best restaurants we ate at there or for that matter in Paris. We went with the white truffle tasting menu, and each course was marvelous. The food was creatively prepared, presented well, and in the right proportions (which certainly is not always the case in tasting menus). Equally importantly, the service was impeccable, being smooth and helpful without being overbearing. It was a marvelous dining experience and we would recommend Congress very strongly. Certainly not cheap, but worth it. [And besides, who could not like a restaurant that has Lou Reed playing softly on its ambient music?]
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not what I was expecting
    Gidget
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    We chose Congress as a kind of last resort, as we couldn't reservations at Qui, Barley Swine, or Second Kitchen. As soon as we walked into Congress, we could tell that it wasn't quite what we were expecting. We were definitely hoping to do the tasting menu, but we were told it was "truffle month" where the tasting menu was in excess of $200/person. The food was good, but not excellent, and definitely made me glad we didn't spring for the truffle tasting menu. Nothing stood out as being good enough for me to want to go back. The Fall Dinner menu wasn't written in a way that led us from course to course in a natural progression. When our server noticed we were having difficulty (so much so, I suggested we leave and find somewhere else), she didn't step in to lend us a hand. We floundered a bit, but I guess we ended up with three courses that kind of worked together. A few notes on ambience- the lighting is so low that it made it difficult to see what we were eating. Our table (of mid to upper 30 year olds) drove down the median age of the place significantly. We didn't see another table of diners under their late 50s. On Saturday. Also weird, their radio/sound system was on a huge David Bowie kick. We gave up count after 5 Bowie songs in an hour. I guess someone really, really loves Bowie.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Anniversary Dinner
    DiningExplorers
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    We wanted a restaurant befitting of our celebration and Congress delivered. The presentation of our menu selections was stunning! We were also very impressed with the affordable wine list. I want to mention the beautiful wine glasses, it really makes such an impression when the stemware is elegant. I rated the service as good because our server didn't seem to connect with us. She had many tables and seemed rushed to attend to all of them. Would have enjoyed a little bit more conversation. We will definitely dine at Congress again. Loved the intimate setting - it was special indeed!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bad Service
    aaronwbarker
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    Made reservations and let the restaurant know it was my wife's birthday. Showed up to an empty restaurant but had to wait to be seated because the hostess was not at her post. Sat at our table with no menus drinking water while our waiter helped seat other groups. Waiter made a business decision to focus on a four top and let us sit with no food or drinks. Ordered wine and waiter brought the glasses but never poured the wine. Ate our entrees with nothing but water and empty wine glasses. No one ever mentioned my wife's birthday or did anything special.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • disappointing
    MonstroVIP
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    In the end the meal was a big disappointing birthday meal. Everything was executed well, but the entrees just missed the mark badly. Long time David Bull fan, but this experience will probably keep us from going back. Still love the drinks at Bar Congress
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • One of THE BEST
    RedDragonFlyVIP
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    The food is spectacular. It was quiet. I really liked having one person take care of us from start to finish. The restaurant is quiet and very nice. Would prefer some lumbar support in booths, but all else amazing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • brock
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    We had a tremendous experience at our first visit to Congress. The food was outstanding, the chef came and checked on us twice, the wait staff was incredibly knowledgeable on the food, and the sommelier gave great recommendations. Their attention to detail was unparallelled.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Stellar
    JasonVIP
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    One of Austin's finest. Great service, excellent wine and cocktails, and a superb high end menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great!!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    The food was great, the service was excellent. The ambiance was outstanding, very romantic. Pricy but the food is worth it.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great for our anniversary
    TJRuddVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    This is unquestionably the best fine dining experience in Austin. The staff was attentive and knowledgeable. The food was spectacular and inventive. We ordered what we wanted from the menu, then our waiter and sommelier chose wine pairings for us for each of our dishes. It all worked wonderfully and made our 11th anniversary a special one.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing
    Tine96
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    My bf took me here for a surprise birthday dinner. It was an amazing experience! I love everything and it was very romantic. I couldn't ask for anything better... The service was great and they kept up w our drinks and never once my glass was empty. The food was great specially the main dish. The 5 course dinner was so classy and every bite was mouth watering. I thought small portions wouldn't fill me up but I was wrong. Everything was well planned out and the service was excellent. I just wished we knew about the vallet parking. In addition,the meat was tender and every bite just melted away right after I put it in my mouth. It was expensive but it was worth it specially on special occasion. I had an amazing experience thank you :)
    Special Features:
    hot spot, late-night find, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Beautiful food!
    Lpar
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    Every part of the meal was a masterpiece. Their presentation is amazing and thoroughly thought out. A culinary experience to be savored for sure.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Excellent intimate visiting setting. Preparations, though a little small, were delicious.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food. Too pretentious.
    AustinMD
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    I brought a visiting international colleague to Congress for an upscale dinner his first of two nights in Austin. Our party was composed of three plastic surgeons and a fourth guest for group balance. I had a feeling that we were sneered at a bit by the staff. I would have understood if we were in Dallas and we were poorly dressed or behaved. Instead it was Austin where you can't be sure who people are by their dress, and we were well attired. The service was attentive and timely but cold. The food was excellent. I will not be going back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great food, service, and ambiance
    GreatfoodloversVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    One of the very best meals ever. Staff is plentiful, knowledgeable and unobtrusive. Space is modern and comfortable. Food is outstanding. Creatively selected and prepared. Gazpacho was unique and tasty presentation of several varieties of beautiful fresh tomatoes surrounding a mild cheese aspic ring with a vegetable juice in the center. Spinach and goat cheese agnolotti and espresso dusted ribeye were excellent. Ginger creme brûlée was perfect capstone for a truly exceptional meal. Highly recommend to others, and we will return whenever we can.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Special restaurant.
    Birthday
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Th food and service were exceptional. We highly recommend this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fantastic for vegans!
    VeganNosh
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    As a vegan, it can be tough finding a nice dining spot that offers both variety and flavor while also catering to your carnivorous other half. Congress meets that challenge and far exceeds it. My partner and I both had the tasting menus (mine vegan, his the regular) and we were both blown away with each course. The service was impeccable and the ambiance was delightful. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone, vegan or otherwise, who is looking for an amazing fine dining experience in Austin.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Refined & spendy.
    ElGuapo
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    The dining atmosphere is formal and refined, the attached but segregated bar added a more relaxed trendy preamble. The dishes were varied and original, the wine list was daunting to my unrefined eye. As we celebrated our 19th anniversary the place fit the desire, we settled for a lower priced Italian prosecco at $65. The wait staff were responsive and involved in the conversation at hand. Given the occasion is right and one is "all in" I'd say go for a couple of courses as this will only give you a good feel for "Chef's" exceptional work. We had the following dishes: prime rib loin and scallops, both were wonderful.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic dinner
    mnugent
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Both of us had the 5-course tasting meal with wine pairings. And we both considered it one of the best meals we've ever had. Each course had a wonderful combination of flavors, colors & textures. We found ourselves raving about each course. And the paired wines were from throughout the world & complemented each dish well. Although expensive, highly recommended!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2003
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Our favorite restaurant in austin! The very best food!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • perfect
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Congress never fails to amaze. Open Table requires that reviews be at least 40 characters long, hence this extra sentence.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the very best
    Lalipapi
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Absolutely delicious, beautifully presented, delightfully served dinner. My spouse and I recently went to Congress for a special occasion and had one of the best evenings we've ever spent in a restaurant. Artfully prepared plates and amazing flavors. Best brioche either of us have ever tasted. So many wonderful dishes: soft-shell crab, lamb chop, rib-eye steak, and much more. The staff simply could not have been better. We had the summer tasting menu and the wine pairings were excellent. Chef Bull dropped by to check on us a couple of times and was absolutely charming. This is truly one of the finest restaurants in Austin.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Anniversary Celebration
    JerryE
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    The tasting menu with wine pairing was fantastic. Both the wait person and the sommelier were helpful in describing both the dishes and the wines. A fantastic way to celebrate an anniversary.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Very enjoyable evening
    glscol
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    This was our first time at Congress and certainly not our last. Service was excellent and the food very enjoyable. Paula, the Sommelier was exceptional and made our evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Continues to Shine
    LBFFPVIP
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    We love the people, the wine selection, the wonderful cocktails (the Manhattan here is one of my favorites) but the food keeps getting better. The goat cheese appetizer didn't disappoint and the angolotti and scallops were deliciously prepared. Service is friendly but flawless. We had three courses but currently they are doing the courses ala carte so you can opt for a little lighter summer meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Best Ribeye I've ever had
    zthomas
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    The ribeye rubbed with espresso was the best steak I've ever tasted, no lie. This place is a true gem. Thank you for the wonderful experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • amazing food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    One of the best.meals I've had in a while. Dishes were unique and the service was top notch. Fantastic for a special evening of romance.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful girls-night-out!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    My sister, a friend and I wanted to find a charming and fancy restaurant to go enjoy a sophisticated girls night out and Congress far exceeded our expectations! The services was wonderful, the food was absolutely delicious and the ambiance of the restaurant was exquisite. It lies right in the middle of a very busy downtown Austin, but they've done a fantastic job pulling you out of that scene and into another world inside. We loved it and will be dining there again!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 20 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 24, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance4.3
    • Service4.8
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The following 581 reviews are from the Congress reviews archive.
  • Anniverary
    RedwineVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    We enjoyed our anniverary dinner at Congress for a second time. The food and service are truly at the top of Austin dining.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • FijiskillzVIP
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    Consistently the best high end restaurant in Austin. Food is fantastic as is the wine. Kinda sad that every time we eat here we are asked if it's a special occasion. Sometimes we just want the awesome on a Wednesday without a reason. Hope austin can get to the point where you don't go to congress or other places only for 'special occasions'
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great for a "fancy" night
    DRinDallasVIP
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Visited Austin from Dallas and on enjoyed our dinner at Congress. The server was very good...recommended Black Chicken half bottle and even gave us recommendations for wineries to visit in Hill Country. Food was very good, particularly the foie gras! We're not big fans of formal dining rooms with table cloths. Wish it was a bit more relaxed. But overall, a nice restaurant if you want a "fancy" night on the town.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • An anniversary treat
    mathdude
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    My wife and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary at Congress. A wonderful evening! We went all out and had their 5 course summer tasting menu paired with their wine selections. They were wonderful to alter the tasting menu due to my wife's dislike of seafood and adjusted her wine according to the changes. Each course was a treasure to discover and each wine was perfectly matched. Our top dining experience in our 15 years of marriage!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A fine evening
    Satisfecho
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    We went to Congress for the first time to celebrate a very special occasion. It surpassed our expectations in every respect. The valet parking began the pleasant experience with a friendly and able attendant (with the car waiting when we were ready to leave), the restaurant staff were exceptionally attentive and efficient, unobtrusively so, exhibiting a friendly courtesy from the moment we entered to the time we left, and food was served in an attractive way and of such high quality that it matched the best restaurants on the upper east side in NYC. The presentation was flawless, and the seasoning made every bite a treat. The decor had an understated elegance, making just the right ambience. The evening was an unmitigated delight.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • HONEY, I shrunk the food!
    RemyandFinnVIP
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    As an Austinite I'm overwhelmed with choices of five star restaurants, local celebrity chefs and world renowned food trailers.... And to think this place dares catagorize itself amongst that company is shameful. If I had been in less shock, I would have refused to pay for the meal. From the waiter who was pretending to be a vampire, to the 38$ bite of lobster....literally one bite. Do yourself a favor; GO ANYWHERE ELSE!!!!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Mixed feelings
    Blivet
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Incredible menu - plates were orginal, (though small portions for the price) perfectly prepared and beautifully presented. Waitstaff attentive, knowledgeable about the food and wines and friendly. We had an earlier reservation (6:45) and had a cocktail to start. The sommelier selected a good and reasonably priced wine to compliment a mix of entrees. My complaint - it felt as if we had to meet their schedule to permit the second seating. Courses were rushed, plates cleared as soon as the utensil was set down, we were not offered coffee and the check was dropped on the table while we were enjoying our dessert. We had to ask for coffee after the check arrived. For an upscale, chic restaurant, this was dissappointing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The best restaurant in Austin!
    acookinaustin
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Thinking of going to Congress? One word: GO! Okay, two words: GO TODAY! This is the best restaurant in town. Chef David Bull continues to create combinations of flavors that are fresh, surprising and exquisitely delicious. The service is attentive yet relaxed, the wine list is diverse, the room is beautiful. Everything modern fine dining should be.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too salty for my taste
    atnino
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    It may be just my personal preference but every dish felt too salty, even the bread. Some salty dishes are fine, but it a becomes problem when every dish is salty. Service was great, and wine list is impressive.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 24play2VIP
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    Fantastic! server's where just wonderful explaining everything and not rushing us. the wine list is great and the Dunn was well Dunn. plan on traveling just to eat at this place
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    We had a wonderful experience at Congress, attentive service and terrific, memorable cuisine.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Anniversary Dinner
    RUInput
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    David Bull has created a dinning gem with Congress. The sedate atmosphere of the restaurant is complimented with the adjacent 2nd Street Bar that provides a livelier atmosphere and outdoor dining. Each of the three course dinner entrees provide a good variety of Bull's delightful creations. A wonderful dining experience topped off by a personal visit from David.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate