Goodall’s Kitchen is a sophisticated restaurant that features quality American fare and drinks. Located in Hotel Ella, this chic bistro combines the hotel’s old-fashioned flare with Austin’s take on a memorable dining experience.
Walking into the dining room is like stepping into history. Off-white walls are lined with portraits, black and white images, and paintings—all from contemporary Austin artists. The décor alone is enough to entice you into a glass of red wine. We were seated along the back wall next to the window. Our table was cozy and offered a panoramic view of the space.
Goodall’s Kitchen is filled with antique-looking photos and paintings. Photo courtesy of Goodall’s Kitchen Facebook.
Goodall’s Parlor Bar is also located in the hotel. Its menu includes classic cocktails like the Goodall’s Old Fashioned and a few options pay homage to the restaurant’s near-campus location. The Longhorn Margarita and West Campus Mile are both bar favorites.
Though the cocktail menu tempted us, we began our night with a glass of red wine. We opted for the Decero, an Argentinian Malbec. Though it was one of the least expensive options on the menu, it was robust and full of flavor.
Parlor Bar. Photo courtesy of Goodall’s Kitchen Facebook.
Compared to other fine-dining restaurants around town, Goodall’s menu is quite extensive. Split into five sections—snacks, appetizers, sandwiches, mains and sides—diners can choose from small bites like warm marinated olives to mains like the brick chicken, a satisfying dish served with summer beans, roasted garlic, and grain mustard.
Unsure of what to order, we opted for a few small plates to share. We started with the chickpea hummus. Typically a simple dish, this hummus was a treat. Topped with fried chickpeas, tahini vinaigrette, and crispy herbs, the homemade spread was both beautifully presented and delicious. The dish is served with warm, homemade pita bread.
The blackened carrot salad was next, and it might be our favorite of the night. And according to our server, we’re not alone in that statement. It’s a staff favorite as well.
Before the carrots are charred, they’re soaked in orange juice for a subtle sweet and citrusy flavor. However, when paired with avocado, pickled onion, cilantro, and feta cheese, its bold, citrus flavor shines through. Small additions like pepita seeds and garlic chips bring the dish together by adding the crunchy texture we always crave.
For our final dish, we ordered the charred octopus, and we’re so glad we did. We made one change, though, and asked to leave out the olives. Served on a bed of cilantro aioli, we immediately noticed another citrus kick in the sauce. Thick but not too heavy, the aioli was the perfect compliment to the smokiness of the octopus.
The dish is served with golden raisins (a personal favorite) and roasted potatoes that were perfectly crispy. Despite no special recipe—the chef cooks them with the octopus—the potatoes were incredibly tasty and well seasoned. The meal is then garnished with cilantro, an ingredient we noticed in many dishes at Goodall’s Kitchen.
While the octopus is considered an appetizer, it can easily be substitute for an entrée—especially when paired with other small snacks and appetizers.
By the time our meal was complete, there was simply no room for another bite, even though our eyes continued to back to the potato gnocchi and the burger. When we asked our server about other popular entrée items, he named the fish & chips and grilled Texas redfish as the top menu options ordered amongst patrons.
Disappointed in our own ability to eat anything more, we remained hopeful. We knew we’d be back to sample other menu items as well.
Amongst the restaurant’s elegant and sophisticated décor, our experience was an enjoyable one. No pretention here. So if you’re looking for upscale fare with a casual indoor and outdoor dining space, head to Goodall’s Kitchen. You might even see us there.
Featured image courtesy of Goodall’s Kitchen Facebook