El Alma

El Alma has been on my “to-visit” list for a long time. It’s one of the staple restaurants on Barton Springs (since 2011) that I drive by over and over, but I’ve never stopped to check it out! Recently, I attended a happy hour dinner on their wonderful rooftop patio and loved it.

While I did receive complimentary food and drinks,
all comments and opinions are my own.


The interior of El Alma is cozy and colorful. As you make your way to the back, there’s a stone wall that leads to the rooftop patio stairway. It feels very “rainforest-y” and I love it! It definitely has a fun happy hour vibe that’s a little different than a lot of the places in Austin.

I was lucky to meet Chef Alma Alcocer herself! She was serving up tacos to all of us, chatting away with staff and patrons alike. Chef Alma blends her classical training with her Mexico City roots to create menu favorites that include crema de elote, roasted duck relleno and specialty margaritas. I sampled a few drinks, including the Flaquita (watermelon-serrano infused jimador silver, watermelon purée, lime juice, agave, on the rocks, el chile rim). It definitely had a kick and the more and more I drank, the hotter my mouth became. It was kind of a fun drink, I thought! Different and unique. Their frozen house margarita was tasty, although I will say, I’ve had stronger margs in Austin.

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The appetizers were really delicious. All of the mini tostadas are totally worth getting. There’s shrimp, guacamole, and pastor pork – MMM! I also loved the queso fundido. It’s not quite like your regular creamy queso, it’s more real-cheezy. You can create a pretty good string cheese pull for the gram, if you know what I mean. The ceviche was good, but I still think Grizzelda’s has some of the best ceviche around!

We had street tacos for dinner and they were wonderful. For “street tacos” they’re really packed with meat. I had lamb barbacoa with carrot habanero slaw and MAN it was good.

I think my favorite thing about El Alma is their happy hour. It’s every day (every day!) from 3-6pm. Perfect for when you’ve been at Zilker Park or Barton Springs for the day and need some refreshments. Or, it’s a great place to stop before you head to an event at the Long Center or the ZACH Theatre. Get yourself a few tacos ($5 or less), a plate of tostadas, a cocktail, and call it a night!


Thanks for having me out, El Alma! I really had a wonderful time.
What other Austin happy hours are good? Where should I go next?

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El Alma

Author: Kelly

Kelly Phillips is the writer and photographer behind DiscoveringATX.com. You can view more of her photos on Instagram @DiscoveringATX and her photography portfolio at kphilphoto.com.

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