El Chile - S.1st
El Chile - S.1st

El Chile - S.1st

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.elchilecafe.com/
  • Phone: 5124013161
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch:

    Monday - Friday: 11:00am - 4:00pm;

    Dinner:

    Monday: 4:00pm - 9:00pm;
    Tuesday - Friday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm;
    Saturday: 3:00pm - 10:00pm;
    Sunday: 3:00pm - 9:00pm;

    Brunch:

    Saturday - Sunday: 11:00am - 3:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Executive Chef: Jeff Martinez
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Mary St W
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking on the street or our lot behind the building.
A word from El Chile - S.1st
El Chile - S.1st is not your typical Tex-Mex joint. Our flavorful contemporary approach to Tex-Mex dining has paid off with critical acclaim not only from within the Austin community, but as far away as New York and California.

We beam with pride at our appearance in national publications such as Wall Street Journal, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine. On any given day we never know who will be sitting at one of our interior or patio tables: food critics, former presidents, actors, governors, national championship coaches, academics, local politicos and Keep-it-Weird Austinites.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerKid Friendly
El Chile - S.1st reviews from OpenTable diners
32 reviews since June 3, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelEnergetic
94% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (18)fit for foodies (17)good for groups (13)great for lunch (13)great for outdoor dining (12)kid-friendly (11)great for brunch (7)hot spot (7)special occasion (6)romantic (5)vibrant bar scene (5)scenic view (1)Show More
  • Neighborhood Favorite
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    We were delighted when El Chile moved into the neighborhood. The food is delicious and I love the atmosphere. We walk over there every couple of weeks for either a family meal with our kids or just the two of us. I also love that I can make a reservation via Open Table 15 minutes before and our table will be waiting for us.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Neighborhood Gem
    JennHVIP
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    We live nearby and eat here all the time! I love to bring out of town guests here because the food and the service are consistently outstanding! I love the daily specials and the Chile 'Tini is so tasty with the chile salt on the rim of the glass.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Food Very Loud
    tryingbrunchspots
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Diner at El Chile is always yummy, but the new location is very loud. The service was great and the michiladas are nice too!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Refreshingly Light Mexican Food
    cindys
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    The food at El Chile has a light touch about it. The food fairly sparkles. It is extremely fresh, and refreshing, while at the same time being complex. Simply put, it is DELICIOUS! It is not the usual Tex-Mex, but more a reflection of interior Mexican cooking.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Little Different
    JMT1
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Small building and very loud for Friday night dinner, Really good Rita's, @ different dipping sauces for the table-I'd give them a 71/2 to 8 rating, Outstanding Green Sauce for the chicken Enchilada's, Service SLOW, Getting refills, more chips etc very SLOW. Dips very good but extremely small in serving size. I have been to Better in the Austin area. If I went back it might be for lunch.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice surprise
    Livinglarge
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    We made an OpenTable reservation, knowing nothing about El Chile. We were going to a movie and timed our reservation accordingly. We were seated immediately and upon hearing we had an OpenTable reservation, offered us a table near the back wall where it would be quieter. We were served a carrot habañero salsa and a roasted jalapeño salsa that were both delicious. The carrot habañero was my fave. Shrimp nachos were simple, but delicious. We shared the special, red snapper with a veracruz sauce that was cooked to perfection. The waitstaff was very knowledgable and worked as a team to provide first rate service. The margaritas were killer too!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent restaurant on S 1st!!
    PMR1
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    El Chile is a wonderful Mexican restaurant! Food is great--heads above many others. Attentive wait staff as well! Local gem!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • consistent awesomeness
    Osomator
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    We have been going to El Chile for quite a while and we know we will not be let down. The salsas are incredible and always taste exactly how you remember. The margaritas come in a range of options and the infused liquors offered are full flavored and well balanced. My husband and I are able to get an appetizer and and entree each and take home a little leftover. On nights when we go out after, an appetizer and larger entree can be split for the perfect meal size. We don't often order the special dish when we are out but El Chile is the exception. They offer wonderful creations and at a modest price and we have not been disappointed. If you have a chance to get the scallops you will not be sorry.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • No Food after 1+ Hours for Lunch
    goodVIP
    Dined on 6/24/2014
    We were sat immediately and ordered as soon as the waitress asked us for an order - one hour plus later - no food and no word on where it was or what was going on. We had a 1 pm lunch reservation for 3 people and it was not busy - maybe 10 other people in the place. Sort of weird because it was obvious to numerous personnel that we were not being served, but everyone was ignoring us for some reason - dunno. I suppose the food is fine based on reviews but if you are in a hurry or expecting a reasonably brief dining experience, I would probably try some other place.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • El Chile - 1st
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/18/2014
    The food here is outstanding. The outdoor dining is not as good as the location on Dean Keeton. We were having to swat too many flies during dinner. I recommend eating outside. Food and service is great!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 22 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 3, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.2
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance4.1
    • Service4.2
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 55 reviews are from the El Chile - S.1st reviews archive.
  • amazing margaritas
    layne
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    We went on a saturday night on a double date with our friends. It was an easy reservation on open table, did it all online and had confirmation in about 2 minutes! We were seated immediately on the patio or indoors if we wanted. It was louder inside from a group party so we chose the patio. We got the smoked pineapple Margarita and the mint cucumber margarita with chile lime salt! Wow! We all ordered 2 each ;) unique and powerfully flavored margaritas! Couldnt have had a better party in my mouth!! Got a free queso by checking in on Facebook too! Informative waiter and menu was so good that it was hard to choose. We went with mole and ceviche. We cannot wait to go again and again and again
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food Better Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    This was our 2nd visit we went with a group of 7 and they had our table when we walked in the door. We received excellent service, the food was some of the the best Mexican in town. Will be back again soon.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • delicious
    foodstuff
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    food was too salty for my tastes. food was too salty for my tastesfood was too salty for my tastesfood was too salty for my tastesfood was too salty for my tastesfood was too salty for my tastesfood was too salty for my tastesfood was too salty for my tastesfood was too salty for my tastesfood was too salty for my tastesfood was too salty for my tastes
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Like mole? This is your place
    DeannaipVIP
    Dined on 5/18/2014
    The salsa they put on the table were fantastic! Loved them both. House marg was great, not too sweet. Loved that they have miceladas on the menu. The queso with chorizo was really good. The tortilla soup, enchilada special and the enchilada with chile con carne all had a mole base/sweet undertone which is not our favorite. We will definetely go back and try some other dishes.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tough to beat
    KODFAVIP
    Dined on 5/18/2014
    Chips and salsa are addictive... Enchiladas are delicious... Staff is great
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Great goof and good service. The noise level is very high though. Not a good place to go and talk.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Reservation for 6:
    MizLiz
    Dined on 4/22/2014
    Food great, service wonderful. We were treated as if we were the only diners in the restaurant. Great food, great experience.
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Kid-Friendly, Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very Impressed
    Kevin
    Dined on 4/19/2014
    Had a very nice first-time dining experience at El Chile. Both food and margaritas were excellent! Only drawback was that it was pretty dark inside where we were sitting. Waiter was very attentive as well. Overall, we were very pleased and we'll be going back again soon!
    Special Features:
    Good for Groups, Romantic, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun and good Central Mexican
    PutzarelliVIP
    Dined on 4/13/2014
    My guest and I arrived near the end of the Happy Hour. The wait staff was excellent and engaging and the food delicious. We have already planned our next visit and to visit this restaurant when out of town guests arrive.
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great local restaurant
    PMR1
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    Very, very good food!! Wonderful presentation, also!! So much better then general Tex-Mex fare. Staff are friendly and welcoming! Outdoor patio is also available and nice. Occasionally noise level increases inside a bit mainly due to hard surfaces--floors. We return again and again to this lovely restaurant and recommend it!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome as Always
    ErikVIP
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    Great food. The style of Mexican food is excellent. They always pay attention to terrific flavors. Off the menu specials are always terrific. Great margaritas as well.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic!
    GraldaVIP
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    The two chile rellenos were among the best ever. The drink menu was Interesting and the service was excellent. I highly recommend and we will be back. Can't wait to try out brunch!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for brunch, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Puffy Tacos
    Alwxi
    Dined on 3/15/2014
    El Chile has a great neighborhood vibe and the food is really delicious! The weekend brunches are tasty and the regular menu is well prepared and delicious. Nice big windows which makes it nice on a rainy day.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Neighborhood Gem
    JennHVIP
    Dined on 3/8/2014
    This place is a real neighborhood gem. Even on a busy weekend, it's not too packed and you can usually easily make a reservation I had the special again tonight and it was amazing...a steamed poblano pepper stuffed with lots of veggies, sitting on a sauce made with creamed corn. It was a vegetarian dream! The service is always perfect and their specialty margaritas made with house-infused tequilas are delicious! I would highly recommend this place if you're looking for a quaint,upscale Mexican restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Solid addition on your Tex Mex Tour
    ReallyEasy2Please
    Dined on 3/8/2014
    Very interesting, quaint (yet loud) restaurant in South Austin. Forces you to step outside the norm right away from their complimentary chips and mole with a yellow salsa. Good food + solid atmosphere and BIG drinks that are very affordable during Brunch. Check it out!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • What a great find!
    amaybery13
    Dined on 2/28/2014
    We loved this restaurant and will go back. We loved the salsa and the queso. My husband ordered the brisket tacos and I ordered quesadillas. I definitely want to go back to try the chile relleno! Great drink and food specials as well! The only part of our meal we were not fond of was our service was a little slow...however, food, atmosphere, and company made it worth it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, kid-friendly, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great addition to Austin dining
    Jackie63
    Dined on 2/23/2014
    I visit Austin every year, and I try new restaurants, especially MexMex and TexMex restaurants. This year, El Chile (the one on South 1st) was my major new find. I ate lunch there with a friend and had a chile relleno with shrimp and corn and other stuff--wonderful. Then, hearing that the weekend brunch was good (and because they take reservations, which has become increasingly important in Austin), I ate brunch there, with friends. I had TexMex mi gas, with chorizo added, and it was mighty tasty, as was the Bloody Mary I had with it. I will definitely return!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • New Favorite Neighborhood Gem!
    JennHVIP
    Dined on 2/22/2014
    Awesome little restaurant on S. First St. My husband and I walked from home and I couldn't believe we hadn't tried this place before. The service was outstanding and the food was delicious. We ate everything on our plates! I had the beef short rib enchiladas, which were a special that day and my husband ordered the shrimp enchiladas. We shared both and were fighting over the last bites! The queso with peppers on onions was also a delicious appetizer. We tried a couple of different margaritas and all were great. The top shelf was perfect...just tequila, lime juice and cointreau. We also tried a pineapple habanera margarita that was not too sweet with a perfect little kick at the end. I can't wait to go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing.
    BillVIP
    Dined on 2/20/2014
    Overpriced drinks and food. Very disappointing. I would not go back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Dinner
    thepunter
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    Really enjoyed dinner, our server was knowledgeable and did a great job explaining all the specials, which we ended up ordering. The flavors were outstanding and matched the description provided by the server.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect for Valentine's Day!
    BirthdayGal1
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    We were seated immediately and our waiter was very attentive. He made us aware of the specials for the night and promptly brought out our drinks. We were anticipating a bit of a delay with service since it was Valentine's day, but everything came out very quickly, so great staffing on their part! As always, the food was great! A very enjoyable experience!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good Food
    TamCas
    Dined on 2/8/2014
    When you are new to a city it is hard to determine where to eat. My husband wanted mexican so I turned to Open table for a suggestion and was not disappointed. We had my son and his roommate from UT as well as our two younger children and this place was fit for all. the food was very good. Our service was just ok, they changed servers on us without an explanation but the food was so good I would go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious Food!
    Giamarie
    Dined on 2/5/2014
    We went to El Chilé with a group of seven this past week. The food was excellent--one member of our party was from southern Mexico, and he very highly complimented the food. Salsas were excellent, as were the beans and rice. Everything was fresh and well prepared. We each had something different and shared. The service was great too! We will definitely be going back--soon!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great service!
    Cisco
    Dined on 1/30/2014
    Service was really great -- attentive but not too much, knowledgeable about dishes but wasn't afraid to say "I don't know, let me check with the kitchen" when we asked how they made the whip cream for Tres Leche (which was one of the BEST we ever tasted!), and very friendly. Definitely will go back to try more dishes :)
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Bland Food
    TexasAggie98VIP
    Dined on 1/17/2014
    We booked this place based upon the reviews here on Open Table, and were very disappointed. The drinks were very good, but everything else has tasteless. We ordered the guacamole, and after we added more salt, pepper, salsa, and lime, it had some flavor. Then we ordered the tortilla crusted fish. It was a generous portion, but it had no flavor. We added more salsa and salt to give it and and the black beans some taste. The service was reasonable for a busy night, but with all the other great Mexican places in Austin, we won't be back here. I will say, making a reservation here was smart because they seated us right away, eventhough they were very busy adn had a wait.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food, Great drinks
    TXJBD
    Dined on 1/16/2014
    Love the margaritas, especially the Sangria swirl. Specials are always amazing. Had fantastic short rib enchiladas. I will say that it always ends up being way more expensive than I anticipate. About double the price of Maudie's.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful Mexican restaurant!
    PMR1
    Dined on 12/13/2013
    Neighborhood gem! Great food--heads above General Mexican food fare restaurants. Service is very good and bar is large enough to welcome walk-ins and others who just want to stop in for drinks and appetizers or a meal. Usually adequate parking but lots may be full on weekend nights if large parties are booked. Outside seating is very nice and less noisy than sometimes in restaurant with hard surfaces--mainly when large dinner parties are booked. But still very worthwhile and a very recommended restaurant --we return regularly!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Table of 10 - mixed reviews
    Fern
    Dined on 11/29/2013
    The Margaritas were well received - the Prickly Pear Margarita was a beautiful magenta color and tasted both sweet and sour which was nice with the salt. Negatives: ceviche was too fishy and didn't seem that fresh, the noise level was too loud for easy conversation. Positives: chile con queso served in a skillet (flambé?) was yummy, fish tacos were a favorite, and the flautas were beautiful. Tables of 10 are tricky - the service was OK - not great. But, the waitress was very accommodating dividing the check at the end which was greatly appreciated!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/27/2013
    Great food, wonderful ambience, and stellar service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food & great margaritas
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 11/16/2013
    We have been to el Chili several times and I am always happy with the food. I think the fish tacos are wonderful and the guacamole and queso are excellent starters. I didn't love the prickly pear margarita but the classic margarita is very good. So happy El Chili opened in our neighborhood.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.