El Alma Cafe y Cantina

4.7
554 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
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

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
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El Alma is a Tex-Mex spot with an excellent patio and some of our favorite queso in town.

The Infatuation is an app and website which uses a small team of local editors who dine anonymously to rate and review restaurants. We are partnering with them to bring you their smart, helpful, trustworthy reviews of restaurants on OpenTable
What 554 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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LE
Austin
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I just love this restaurant..Food is fabulous, wait person was lovely. We were able to get in and out in a timely manner to catch our show at the Long Center. Thanks folks.

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T
Houston
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Came here for a date night. The food was excellent, and service was great as well. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough!

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 1

Horrible experience. Will never return. We were sat in a very noisy environment and our server was rude from the beginning. Server acted as if our presence was inconvenient to him. Additionally, parking here is a nightmare.

Came over once to ask what we wanted. When we told him an app to start with, he left and didn’t return for about 10 mins. When he came back we ordered drinks but said we needed more time for food. He came back roughly 30 mins later and asked if we wanted the check. At which point, I was thoroughly confused as we hadn’t even ordered lunch yet. We then reluctantly ordered food, despite the fact that we had already been in the restaurant for 40 mins. After further evaluating the horrible service we had received, I flagged down the server and asked him to cancel food and bring check.

Server brought out check, I handed him the card and he returned with a tablet. Did not say a word to us after that and disappeared. Never said thanks for the tip or any other basic pleasantries.

Our previous experiences have been great at El Alma (3 other visits) but not this time. Generally, the food is good (not great), drinks are solid and service is usually timely. To be honest, this server likely needs to be fired. The experience was bad enough, that we will likely never return. If you employ wait staff that treat customers poorly, you will lose other customers too.

There is enough good Mexican food in Austin. No need to be treated like garbage in order to eat good food. I recommend checking out Fonda San Miguel. Much better food/service and similar pricing.

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MH
Austin
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Always delicious and welcoming. Great service, great food. We took a friend who had never been before and she was wowed. Awesome as always.

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OT
Austin
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The drinks and food were excellent and despite knowing they had a table reservation for our table right after us, we never felt rushed or hurried! If I lived closer I would make this place a regular weekly spot.

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H
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such a cool restaurant! The upstairs outdoor patio was gorgeous and the food was magnificent! Highly recommend!

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Extremely loud. Terrible acoustics. Could barely have a conversation. Food and service were good tho.

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CS
Orange County
9 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 5

I had made an OpenTable reservation for a party of 4. Our group changed to 8 people and I called the restaurant and spoke to Shelby who assured me that after checking with her manager that they would be able to accommodate pushing 2 tables of 4 together and honor our reservation for 8 people. When we arrived at the restaurant, they did not have any record that we had changed our reservation to 8 and Shelby had not made any notes for the staff. After some confusion and a small wait, Naomie was able to seat us outside on the patio. The restaurant has great ambiance, we liked our food and the cocktail menu was abundandant. Our waiter was terrible. He really projected that he did not want to be there and it was a super inconvenience that he would have to lift a finger to do anything. Drinks took forever to get from downstairs to upstairs and we had to ask multiple times where things were. He never checked in on us for anything, and we about had to hold up a flag to get his attention if we needed anything. Restaurant had been highly recommended by many Austin friends, so I was disappointed in the extremely poor service that evening. Super cool place, and I would go again, but I would expect 110% better service.

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OT
Austin
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great location. Great food. Great service. Great meeting. Will use again for business lunches!

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was really, really good. At my table, we got carne asada, pastor, and shrimp tacos. We also got the corn chowder and some fried plantains. Our waiter (wearing some awesome glasses!) was friendly and attentive. Our plantains took a while to come out, but he was so accommodating and apologetic about it. Margaritas are a bit too strong, but that's just my personal preference. I will definitely be recommending this restaurant to my friends and family!

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GL
Austin
9 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and drinks with a good vibe! The brunch menu was a hit with our group.

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IT
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

I’ve been to El Alma three times and I’m never disappointed. The drinks, appetizers and main courses are great. My only complaint would be that my tacos were cold by the time they arrive to the table, so I ended up eating only two. Otherwise it’s was great! Thank you!

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

The cheese dip was the SHIIITTTT

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OT
Austin
1 review
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Although the kitchen was slow and the food was good, the entrées were overpriced.

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OT
Austin
12 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was great!

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m
Oklahoma City
76 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great ingredients that were well prepared. Innovative dishes that go beyond conventional Mexican food.

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J
Austin
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Fun restaurant. Requested a patio table on reservation and was told after I arrived that you cannot reserve outside tables. Slightly frustrating. Otherwise I recommend!

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PD
Austin
33 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Had great service which is so important to me. Loved the margaritas! Food was outstanding and portions were perfect

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always great food and service

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LF
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

it was really good!! kind of loud inside but the patio was great and quiet. food was excellent and i enjoyed this place a lot.

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OT
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service!

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TV
Austin
1 review
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We enjoyed our time at El Alma. These are the reasons why it was not a 5 star: very limited parking (had to wait about 10 minutes for someone to leave so that we could park), it is extremely loud inside, there are flies flying around by the windows (try not to sit by the windows).

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OT
Tampa
1 review
Dined on May 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great authentic mexican food and creative margaritas

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RG
New Orleans
17 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Great Mexican food! I’ve paid double at other restaurants and food and service wasn’t as good. Will definitely be back. Worth a trip back to Austin just to eat here.

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DE
Austin
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Very loud restaurant but good food and great service.

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AD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Great food and the drinks are delicious! It was just very loud.

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n
Austin
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Decent food and prices. Good location and great ambiance.

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RD
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I was really looking forward to trying their bread pudding - unfortunately, it was not ready. The manager came over to deliver the news and offered a dessert on the house. We ended up ordering the flan and I must say, it was the best flan I have ever had. Great customer service!! We will definitely be back.

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OT
Austin
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food

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DS
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Amazing food and service. A bit noisy but overall a great experience!

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B
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, service and ambiance plus many gluten free options!

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LP
Austin
6 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Although the restaurant was very busy, they kindly held our reservation in spite of our late arrival due to an unforeseen traffic issue. The meals arrived quickly and were delicious. I have always loved El Alma and this experience did not change my opinion.

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A
Austin
14 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The food is great, and the outdoor patio is wonderful. But it was humid and hot that day so we ate inside. The noise level was very high and we could barely hear our guests. On the upside, the duck tacos and Chile relleno was excellent.

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K
Austin
16 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Everything was great except it took 30+ minutes to get our cocktails, but our waiter made up for it.

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NK
Austin
28 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went early to beat the crowd. Good food and drinks, casual fun dining in austin and they take reservations😃

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DS
Detroit
5 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food!

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HD
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 2ambience 1

What’s the point of a reservation here when it’s for the worst table in the place? There is a massive wait for outdoor indoor seating was no wait. With a reservation you only get indoor seating. This is a worthless use of opentable. Open Table did not designate that it’s only indoor seating. The best part of El Alma isn’t the food but the ambiance and dining experience which is best enjoyed during springtime on the patio. El Alma advertised its patio dining and yet only gives indoor reservations. Ridiculous!

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MM
Orlando
12 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was absolutely delicious! We had a stuffed poblano with shrimp and crab and Im just sorry I did not get one to go to enjoy again!! Delightful rooftop!

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KH
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Outdoor patio is perfect to sit at on a nice afternoon. Food is not your typical Mexican food but very good.

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GC
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My gal pals and I sat outside upstairs. The real noise was the construction going on across the street. Our servers, Ashley and her Trainee, _____ were terrific. He was hilarious as well as conscientious. the food was delicious. For my birthday dish, I selected the chocolate torte with the mousse topping..... outstanding!!! Thanks for a wonderful birthday lunch.

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