Retail Roundup: Bluffington Area Shopping, Dining and Entertainment

Bluffington residents enjoy the easy convenience of shopping and dining downtown. Fashion and home décor dominate downtown’s 2nd Street District, highlighted by chic fashions at Francesca’s, great casual denim from Girl Next Door, and Austin’s finest in locally crafted jewelry and exciting accessories at Eliza Page.

Area men’s fashion retailers include Bonobos, Estilo, and Urban Outfitters. BoConcept, Mercury Design Studios and Design Within Reach offer elegant Scandinavian-inspired furniture and home furnishings.  And a trip to 1020 Glass Art may just furnish that special, locally made masterpiece that will elevate a well-decorated room to a room that no one forgets.

Downtown also offers a host of world-class restaurants. The Driskill Grill presents diners with lush, well-appointed surroundings, a romantic atmosphere, top-notch service, and exquisite food. Steak lovers can choose between Ruth’s Chris, Sullivan’s, and Perry’s Steakhouse and Grill. Chez Nous offers a touch of Parisian bistro dining in the heart of Austin, and just a few of the other stand out restaurants include Parkside, Restaurant Jezebel, Wink, and Peche.

And that’s just near downtown. The neighborhood is also close to a broad variety of other shopping and dining options.

High Quality Traditional Shopping

Barton Creek Square Mall is only about 10 minutes from Bluffington. It is among the largest shopping malls in Texas and features 180 stores and restaurants such as Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, Apple, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Chicos, Gap, Lane Bryant, Nine West, and Old Navy. The mall also hosts a 14-screen AMC cinema.

Dining options include favorites such as California Pizza Kitchen, Charley’s Grilled Subs, Ruby Thai Kitchen, Sarku Japan, Villa Pizza, and more.

Five other quality shopping centers are within about 15 minutes of Bluffington including the Village at Westlake, Arboretum, Gateway, Shops at Arbor Walk, and Sunset Valley Market Fair. Together, these shopping centers host about 230 more shops and restaurants.

Organic grocers such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s are only a few minutes away, as well as conventional supermarkets such as Randalls.

Gourmet Seafood and Heavenly Desserts

Locals rave about Truluck’s Seafood, Steak & Crab House, a gourmet restaurant that prides itself on serving only the most delicious steak, chops, and crab, as well as the freshest high quality seafood from its own fisheries.

Perhaps the centerpiece of the menu, the seafood section, begins with an invitation for diners to choose from aselection of fresh fish, which includes Texas redfish, Scottish salmon, Idaho trout and others. These fish are available pan-seared or grilled with olive oil, fresh lemon and sea salt and served with a choice of parmesan mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, garlic wilted spinach, Szechuan-style green beans, or rice pilaf. Other seafood favorites such as crab, lobster, blackened redfish, miso glazed sea bass, sesame-seared tuna, and fried jumbo shrimp are also on offer.

In addition to fine seafood, Truluck’s also offers a variety of delicious steaks served in a number of styles, a full card of tempting appetizers, a world-class bar, and heavenly desserts.

Fine Dining in South Austin Heats Up: Uchi and Barley Swine

While there are more great restaurants in downtown Austin than anyone can easily count, there’s a little foodie explosion happening on South Lamar just about five minutes from Bluffington. For lunch or dinner, sparkling examples of Austin’s burgeoning culinary scene are within easy reach. Both Uchi — a forward-thinking sushi and Japanese restaurant touted in Bon Apetit and elsewhere, and Barley Swine, whose creative farm-to-table concept has been favorably reviewed and noted by publications such as GQ, Food & Wine, and others.

Uchi is routinely cited as either the best or one of the best restaurants in Austin, and one of the best restaurants in Texas. The restaurant’s guiding culinary philos­ophy is to combine local seasonal ingre­di­ents with a broad variety of sustainably fished seafood from around the world. While the kitchen is founded in traditional Japanese cuisine, it presents dishes with combinations of novel ingredients for new and refreshing flavors and textures. To that end, the kitchen keeps strong active connections with local farmers and the vendors who sell the seafood flown in daily from Tsukiji market in Tokyo.

At Barley Swine, the stated mission sounds simple: “Find the best ingredients, and don’t mess them up!” The restaurant sources fresh ingredients from local farmers, so the restaurants prix fixe menu is constantly evolving to make the tastiest, best use of what is available at market. The kitchen uses both modern and classic techniques, carefully plating each dish to be visually appealing.

Leading the kitchen brigade is Chef Bryce Gilmore, who prizes his relationships with his farmer friends and creatively and thoughtfully showcases their products. Some of the small plates prized by diners include cobia with apple, kefir, and fennel, and mole brisket with corn and radish.