Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About 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
Austin, TX 78704
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday: 11:00am -3:00pm;
Saturday - Sunday: 10:00am - 3:00pm;
Sunday - Thursday: 3:00pm - 10:00pm;
Friday - Saturday: 3:00pm - 11:00pm;
Every Day: 3:00pm - 6:00pm;
$30 and under
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
For catering please call (512) 391-0936 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Outdoor dining, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access
El Alma Cafe y Cantina Ratings and Reviews
The brunch was exceptional as always, and our “I’m covering your table now” server was pleasant and thorough. However, we nearly walked out of our months in advance family reunion reservation due to the very sarcastic, snippy and somewhat confused hostess. Too many good restaurants in this town to have to put up with the chance of another like encounter.
First, the food at El Alma was great. My issue was with the service. OpenTable allows you to make a reservation at El Alma up till 1045pm. I made a 1030pm reservation for a party of 10. When El Alma called the day-of to confirm, it would have been a great time to tell me that the kitchen closes at 11pm. But that wasn't the case. Instead, our table wasn't ready, we weren't seated until 1045pm, and at THAT time, we were told we had 15 minutes till the KITCHEN and BAR closed. We NEVER would've brought in a group of that size if we knew we had such a short amount of time to order.
When we were told the bar closed at 11pm too, we asked if we could order multiple drinks. They said yes, we could order two. After we HURRIED to order, we got our yummy food, and were sitting around enjoying it. At 12am, a staff member came over to our table and told us that our drinks would be pulled in 5 minutes. Again, a heads up of more than 5 minutes would have been greatly appreciated. We ended up leaving a good amount of food and drinks on the table that would have been consumed otherwise.
El Alma should not take reservations that late, especially for parties that large. And if they do, they should have the courtesy to give them a heads up on the phone when they confirm. The conduct of the staff ruined the experience for a number of the people in our party.
We took some out of town friends here for brunch last Sunday. We sat upstairs on the patio outside and it was great. Our service was excellent. All of our food was delicious and were generous portions. We enjoyed their margaritas too. Our friends loved the atmosphere the food and drink. The only thing was the music upstairs was a bit too loud, but they were nice enough to turn it down for us so we could hear each other better.
El Alma has been a fave, but on this occasion at every service interval we waited at our table by the windows while our waiter bussed tables, swept the floor, carried trays upstairs and ran back with more service items. No one asked about the quality of the food or whether we had everything we wanted until after we'd eaten our dinners. The entrees were tasty, but the beans were tasteless.
The restaurant is very noisy and the minimal acoustic treatments suspended from the ceiling did little to abate noise from 2 large groups nearby. We found it difficult to carry on conversation with just 2 people seated side by side. All said, this wasn't the experience I wanted.
A friend who lives in Austin suggested El Alma for the two of us to go out for a casual meal. It was a great suggestion. Although Mexican is not my favorite cuisine, I enjoyed the food and really appreciated the authenticity of the experience. I also enjoyed being able to dine outdoors on a beautiful evening. This is a place I would definitely return to on a future visit to Austin.
The evening begin with some great margaritas, that we ordered at the bar, but went downhill from there. Our server was completely inattentive. After taking our food order, she never once checked on us to see if we wanted anything else to drink or even replenish our water. We waited for at least 30-45 minutes for our food to arrive watching other tables who had arrived later than we receive their orders. I finally got up and track down our waitress across the way and asked about our order. She was somewhat apologetic (but not really) and said something about the other tables' tabs transferred from the bar and ended up getting in line with the kitchen before us or some such thing. The food was good but not great. We won't be going back to El Alma.
Hubs and I got away from the kiddos and ventured down to El Alma recently. We had reservations, but when we arrived, they sat us at a tiny table right between the bar and the bathroom. Okay... well, still a night out so we decide to make the best of an okay-ish table. Most of the evening was fine. Our waitress was just the right amount of attentive, making sure drinks were filled and plates were removed, etc.. However about 45 minutes into our dinner, a large group came in and stood between the bar and our tiny table. This large group of about 8 people was SO LOUD! What was really frustrating was that one lady was so close to our table, her butt was practically sitting on the table and her purse was in my face. Hubs and I were super frustrated and couldn't even enjoy our date or have a private discussion. Finally, our waitress came by and saw my dismay at having another person's backside on my table and moved us to a different table. I really appreciated this gesture. The food was good. We had queso and tacos and a dessert, however the experience with the seating and "the butt" kind of left us with a sour impression. In addition it was LOUD! Hubs and I had to yell across the table at one another. If we wanted to yell at dinner, we would've had dinner in with our 4 kids. :) Not sure we'll go back to El Alma.
We did not go up to the fabled patio, because it was going to be a 100 degree day. To be honest, though, I don't know why the patio is so fabled. The cheap plastic chairs and cramped Corona tables are not made up for by a partially obstructed view of the skyline. The place would benefit greatly by having more ambience and class to the upper patio experience, maybe wrought iron or at least heavy treated wood furniture.
That being said, the food was extraordinary. Best mole I've ever had and I'm not even that much of a mole fan. Also had an avocadorita which I ordered as an adventure, but was very pleased with the subtlety and the blend of the avocado puree in the drink.
We had a great time.
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