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Austin Dining

Radical Austin has many more vegetarian and wholefood restaurants than is usual in Texas; even chicken-fried steak can be found prepared healthily. There are plenty of good budget restaurants near the university, especially along Guadalupe Street - look for the crowds. Many of the music venues also serve up decent food.

El Sol y La Luna 1224 S Congress Ave tel 512/444-7770. A fun, family-run Mexican joint on the funky strip of shops and clubs just south of downtown. Serves great breakfasts.

Jovita's 1619 S 1st St tel 512/447-7825. Reliable Tex-Mex food, with occasional sets by top local country musicians (among them Don Walser) on the porch.

Las Manitas 211 Congress Ave tel 512/472-9357. Authentic, great-value Mexican food and decor right downtown. Offers breakfast and lunch only - get there early to beat the politicians to a space.

Magnolia Café 2000 S Congress Ave and 2304 Lake Austin Blvd tel 512/478-8645. A local favorite for breakfast. Open 24hr.

Mezzaluna 310 Colorado St tel 512/472-6770. A moderate to expensive traditional Italian restaurant in the warehouse district between 6th St and the river.

Salt Lick 18300 Farm Road-1826 tel 512/858-4959. The standard answer for anyone wondering where the city's best BBQ is. Fabulous ribs soaked in a near-perfect BBQ sauce.

Scholz Garden 1607 San Jacinto Blvd tel 512/474-1958. Big portions of German sausage and Tex-Mex food at an Austin legend that also puts on good live music.

Stubb's BBQ 801 Red River St tel 512/480-8341. Great Texan-style brisket, sausage and ribs, plus bands of national re

pute playing the indoor and outdoor stages.

Threadgill's 6416 N Lamar Blvd tel 512/451-5440. An Austin institution since Kenneth Threadgill was given the first license to sell beer in the city after Prohibition. Real home cooking at bargain prices, with free seconds of vegetables like black-eyed peas and okra. Lively atmosphere, with occasional live fiddle music, folk or country-and-western bands. There's also a new downtown branch at 301 W Riverside Drive tel 512/472-9304. Not to be missed.

West Lynn Café 1110 W Lynn tel 512/482-0950. Stylish vegetarian food from around the world at one of the city's most popular restaurants.