El Alma Cafe y Cantina
El Alma Cafe y Cantina

El Alma Cafe y Cantina

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.elalmacafe.com/
  • Phone: 5126098923
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch:

    Monday - Friday: 11:00am -3:00pm;
    Brunch:

    Saturday - Sunday: 10:00am - 3:00pm;
    Dinner:

    Sunday - Monday: 3:00pm - 9:00pm;
    Tuesday - Thursday: 3:00pm - 10:00pm;
    Friday - Saturday: 3:00pm - 11:00pm;

    Happy Hour:

    Monday - Friday: 3:00pm -7:00pm;
    Saturday - Sunday: 3:00pm - 6:00pm;
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Executive Chef: Alma Alcocer
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access
  • Catering: For catering please call (512) 391-0936 or email us at info@elalmacafe.com.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Dawson
  • Parking: Private Lot
A word from El Alma Cafe y Cantina
El Alma Cafe y Cantina is vibrant, homespun take on the authentic flavors of Mexico. Chef Alma Alcocer prepares food as she would cook for you in her home.


"It"s fun, flavorful Mexican food that is very approachable. It's a casual, authentic representation of the food I grew up eating." - Chef Alma
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
El Alma Cafe y Cantina reviews from OpenTable diners
73 reviews since May 17, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (45)great for outdoor dining (42)fit for foodies (27)great for lunch (23)good for groups (22)great for brunch (15)hot spot (15)scenic view (14)special occasion (12)romantic (6)late-night find (6)vibrant bar scene (6)kid-friendly (5)Show More
  • El Alma in the 04
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    We're new to living off south 5th and passed by it several times before giving it a try. Was very impressed with interior Mexican cuisine. Reminded me of our vacation in Tulum. Staff was very attentive and the food was awesome.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Parking set a bad tone
    Dineout
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    Food and service were fair- delicious plantains, good ingredients but bland. Parking is awful. We had a good time, but I think it is overrated.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good food, robotic service
    Hello
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    The food was good but Chad the waiter was a robot. No hello, thanks, or goodbye. Just a "do you want a drink" and "what do you want to order". At first we thought he was the bus boy as he filled the water glasses with not even a word. Then he says "do you a drink" with absolutely no emotion in his voice. He was efficient, I guess, but did not make us feel particularly welcome.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Too hot to eat outside!
    JupieVIP
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Although the outdoor seating looked awesome, it was too hot the day I visited. Very energetic and busy! Food and service were both awesome - Highly recommend the duck mole!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Pleasantly surprised
    FantasticVIP
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    We love to find new places to eat and this one will stay on our radar. Driving up to it, it doesn't look like much but once you walk in you are hooked. The winding staircase against the natural rock wall with fountain leads you up to the quaint deck. We stopped in for brunch and had one of the best Eggs Benedict dishes EVER! Egg cooked perfectly with a delicious lump crab cream sauce! Great margarita too and our waitress gave us a free guacamole salsa (supposed to check into Facebook) but we are not on Facebook. Overall, great meal, nice deck top view, cool vibe & great service. What more can you ask for?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great spot!
    BeeCaveDiner
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    We hadn't been to El Alma before but we'll definitely be back! Our group of six ordered five different dishes and everyone loved what they had! Each one presented beautifully and tasted fantastic. I had the Duck Relleno and will make a special trip back just for more! Our experience was wonderful!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very happy
    AliG
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    Our table was waiting and ready. The mimosas are the best!!! They made a quesadilla for my niece & the guacamole was really good
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tex Mex Sweet Spot
    Foodbitch
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    There's Tex-Mex and then there's fancy Mex and then, in the sweet spot, is El Alma. I came with a bachelorette group and though we were a bit overdressed, the pricing, taste and quality of the food was more upscale. The look of the place is festive yet classy. Service was great except that two of our friends called ahead to send tequila shots and a bottle of champagne to our table. The folks at El Alma took both credit cards, charged them, and never sent anything out to us. The first girl called and got credited, but the second one didn't realize the champagne never came and probably wouldn't ever have been credited had we not told her the bottle never came. :-/ That was disappointing, but otherwise a tasty, festive meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We love El Alma!
    vajaja777
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    This place is great. The perfect place to have lunch after a swim at Barton Springs or a pre ACL show dinner & drinks. The service is great; friendly and efficient staff. The food is fresh and tasty and the drinks are yummy! My favorites are the Palomita and the chili-lime margarita (i forgot the name). The outdoor patio is nice too (when it's not 100 degrees)!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Spot on Barton Springs Rd
    nanainaustin
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    This was my first visit to El Alma. The food was delicious and healthy. I ordered a salad with grilled shrimp added and it was perfect! Will definitely recommend to friends and plan to add this place to my list of good restaurants in Austin.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great place, but.... mosquitos!
    TLSC
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    The food was great, especially empanadas and corn pudding/muffins. Bad part is though we sat up on the top deck (was pretty noisy inside) the mosquitos ate us alive! Maybe they can get one of those fogger machines or just spray & have fans going everywhere. I'll definitely go back, but I'll go pre-sprayed with deet!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • fine interior Mexican cuisine
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    A terrific and high-moderate price dining experience for those seeking Interior Mexican with a hint of Northern fusion. The Guacamole is a must-try for serious fans of this dish, and the duck chile rellenos are a wonderful dinner. A companion had the duck enchiladas which he pronounced among the tastiest enchiladas he had had anywhere. We dined inside but visited the upstairs patio and it was actually quite breezy and comfortable-- even on a July evening-- and quite spacious. The tables are a bit close together and it's not a terribly intimate atmosphere but is still a good "date" restaurant. The service was quite good although our waitress seemed a bit harried (it was a saturday evening and quite busy) I'll be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • incredible food arrangements!
    hearthealthy
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    We were thoroughly impressed with every dish!! Dont pass this place up if you have the chance.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    food was great....service was great and it was easy to get a table.....ill be back
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, romantic, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • reservation not helpful
    UTCSprof
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    My reservation was for 6:30. I thought that would be plenty of time to get across the street to a play at Dougherty Arts Center at 7:30. Wrong! I finally got seated at 7:00, got served at 7:15 and had to gulp down the food and hoof it over there. Luckily the play was late starting. I realize that they can't predict how long folks will stay at tables, but don't accept more reservations than you can reliably handle. The food was good and the waiter helpful in expediting service, but there simply wasn't enough time.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious!
    fireball
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    I usually have Tex-Mex but grew up in Austin and love trying restaurants I've never been two when I come back into town. I came with four friends who were also first-timers. We made a reservation to avoid the wait which I was thankful of when we arrived. We sat upstairs on the deck but by one of the several huge mounted fans to counteract the humidity. The had string lights for a great ambiance. Amongst the four us of we ordered the sangria, the margarita verde, tacos (pork, carne asada, shrimp, veggie, and fish) and the empanada appetizer. We were in heaven and everything was so delicious. Our server, Holden, was awesome...friendly and efficient. Definitely a great place to try for authentic interior Mexican dishes. We'll be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Neighborhood Gem
    CaptainDick
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    This was our first, and not the last visit to El Alma. We picked it due to it's location across the street from the Long Center. The food was great! We were served by a lovely waitress who made sure we had everything we wanted. They were timely with serving as they knew we had to go to a performance across the street. This si a very popular restaurant so be sure to make reservations.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent interior Mexican food
    Theloniouscoltrane
    Dined on 6/18/2014
    If you are looking for Tex-Mex, go elsewhere. But, if you love the real thing, the type of food you would find in a nice restaurant in Morelia or Zacatecas, then this is your place. Service was good, but not at all up to the standard of the food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • downtown sights, taste, style
    AustinFred
    Dined on 6/8/2014
    El Alma is a friendly vibe spot with quality food, service and view of downtown. They take reservations and have reserved parking. They remind me of the early days at fonda san Miguel.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fresh, Inventive Haven of Goodness
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    I love how chef Alma puts an innovate flavor and presentation twist on foods that are fresh and consistently delicious. El Alma is a little haven with healthful, tasty, attractively-presented options coupled with fantastic cocktails in a fun, eclectic setting. The highlighted specials are unique and quick to disappear, and I adore the Rio Ruby Martini. One of my favorite escapes.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Mexican food
    AustinJoe
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    I almost hesitate to tell people how good this place is. The food is great, the service is superb, if only they had a better parking lot, it would be perfect. Once it's "found" I probably won't be able to get a reservation again.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wheelik
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    One my favorite places. Great tacos, Chile Rellenos and even better Margarittas!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Spicy Margaritas
    Texas75
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    Went here for a quick drink and taco with a friend on Friday night. It was a busy place but made a reservation 10 minutes before and got right in. Really enjoyed the Orange Spicy Margaritas and patio vibes. Not my top pick for Mexican in Austin but definitely a tasty spot.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 50 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 17, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.4
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance3.9
    • Service4.1
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The following 141 reviews are from the El Alma Cafe y Cantina reviews archive.
  • Perfect margaritas & experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    The Saturday Spring afternoon on the patio was complemented by the Perfect margaritas and Happy Hour margaritas. Derrick, a manager, ended up being our server, as we seemed to need lots of attention. The food recommendations were on target for my vegan dinner date. It is obvious the chef puts her soul into each dish and I can't live without the corn pudding!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Dinner
    needtono
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    Enjoyed our dinner at El Alma. Wait staff was helpful and accommodating when we asked to move to upstairs outdoor area.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food!
    Cmc21VIP
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    Great drinks, delicious food... The lamb Barbacoa tacos and the duck enmoladas are fantastic!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A nice meal
    cedarparkexplorer
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    We had a very enjoyable evening at El Alma, but I probably won't be running back anytime soon. It's quite possible we just didn't find the menu items that are most "our speed." Trying some new things (like the shrimp chilada) let us down a bit.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • FABulous!!
    eabestcafe
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    El Alma Cafe y Cantina is an all around Austin gem. We take all of our friends and family there, and it never fails to quickly jump to the top of their short list of favorites too. Chef Alma is imaginative and creative, so be sure to ask about her specials. I'm allergic to gluten and Chef Alma and all of her staff are fastidious in their preparation of my meals. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and attentive. You MUST try the Margarita Chilanga!! El Alma is, by far, my favorite restaurant ever, any where!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Batman
    Dined on 5/15/2014
    Best vegetarian enchiladas I've ever had. Ambiance is unique with a natural cliff used for the back wall. There is a nice outdoor veranda for outside dining. Overall a casual and nice atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Favorite interior Mexican
    Foodie52
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Alma Alcocer-Thomas puts out some of the best food in the city. Her moles are incredible . We go at least twice a month for some of the bet food in town, and that's saying something in Austin.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I will visit again
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    but I will eat outdoors. I wanted to eat on the lovely terraces, but feared rain. Too noisy inside. Great food.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect pre-show spot
    veggielover
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    We went to EL Alma for dinner before watching a performance at the Dougherty Center--the location couldn't have been more convenient! We requested a nice shaded table outdoors (upstairs), since it was beautiful outside. I much prefer the upstairs if it's not too hot out, as it tends to get a little noisy in the main dining area. Plus, the stonework and the ballustrade on the stairwell are beautiful! Our waiter was very enthusiastic and helpful--he had a terrific handle of the beer selection, none of which is listed on the menu! Two of us in our group are pescatarians, and there were plenty of yummy veggie & fish choices. Overall, a great experience, we will likely go back to El Alma.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/8/2014
    Order the plantain apps. Ridiculously yummy. Fish tacos = fantastic.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great authentic Mexican food!
    noemifromlondon
    Dined on 5/1/2014
    Get the duck enmoladas! Sooo good! Also, the cocktails are amazing! Love the rooftop space.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    Great brunch .. Reservations not needed if you arrive early.
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Yummy
    FoodieX4VIP
    Dined on 4/19/2014
    Delicious food, good service. Drinks are potent. famiy favorite is the Michelada. Love the soup(crema de elote), and the garden salad with the fried cheese strips. Our favorite is also the stuffed pepper.
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Good for Groups, Late-Night Find, Hot Spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ordered the black drum, came
    MPdiner
    Dined on 4/11/2014
    Ordered the black drum, came literally and completely uncooked (not rare, uncooked). My husband ordered the pork chip. Great mole sauce. Their chips on the table seemed out of a commercial bag. Our waiter was awful. Forgetful, not attentive. Wouldn't go back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • All I can say is WOW!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    So excited to find El Alma. The food was amazing. Ceviche was delicious. Salsas were both outstanding. Main dishes were different than standard Mexican food. They were out of this world. Margaritas are very good as well. Can't wait to return. Todd, our server, did a great job too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Avoid weekend nights if its cold
    RussellinAustin
    Dined on 4/4/2014
    Since it was a bit cool Friday night, everyone wanted an inside table rather than sit on the patio. So, the place was packed and it was LOUD! This apparently also pushed the hostess over the edge and our evening started with her rude, snippy attitude. However, the waitress was great and the food was fine so we survived.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Underwhelmed
    elsie
    Dined on 3/30/2014
    My reservation for three at noon on a Sunday was barely acknowledged by the hostesses. We weren't offered a choice of outside or in, but I figured they were busy. Inside was not packed, but they put us in between two loud tables. We made the mistake of telling our server we needed more time to decide. He took forever to get back to us. And was also sloppy refilling our water, of course, didn't bother to clean up. Food was ok, overpriced in my opinion.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic