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A well-lit bar with gold wavy tile.
The bar at Este.
Courtney Pierce/Eater Austin.

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Soak Up the Seaside Ambiance at Austin’s Newest Mexican Hot Spot, Este

The restaurant’s designers were inspired by the waves and dunes of the Mexican coastline

Erin Russell is associate editor of Eater Austin, a native Austinite, and a big fan of carbs.

Este, the new coastal Mexican restaurant from chef Fermín Núñez and Sam Hellman-Mass of Suerte, opened on October 3 and has been plastered all over Instagram ever since. The restaurant took over classic Austin restaurant East Side Cafe, which closed in 2019 and had an ample garden now used by the team for growing produce for their restaurants.

Any tour of Este starts with the gardens, which have vegetables grown with rotational farming, purple martin birdhouses, and beehives so bees can pollinate the crops. The front of the restaurant has tables and chairs for waiting, and a wraparound patio leads to outdoor dining with both fans and heaters.

Path through gardens to a pergola.
Este Gardens.
Gardens with a sun mural on corrugated tin and a sign that says “Welcome to Este Gardens” in English and Spanish.
Este Gardens.
A blue building with a sign that says Este, native grasses, a picnic table for waiting, and chairs by the door,
Front facade of Este.
A patio with tables and chairs, pretty light fixtures, and a fan and heater.
Este’s patio.
More chairs and tables on a patio.
Another view of Este’s patio.

Finally, the open, airy interior is inspired by the waves and dunes of the Mexican coastline, with tile created by architect Matt Garcia and José Noé Suro of Cerámica Suro, who also created the ceramics throughout the building. The eight-seat bar has warm gold-orange tile with waves, while the six-seat chef’s counter has a cooler look from blue and white stone. The dining room seats 80. The Este team worked with architects Matt Garcia Design and Delineate Studio, who also collaborated on Suerte, to design the space.

Booths with light wood and blue cushioning, light wood floors, and a peaked roof with white wood scaffolding.
The dining room at Este, which faces the chef’s counter.
Natural wood booths with blue cushioning in front of a gold-lit-up bar.
The booths at Este facing the bar.
Six seats at a blue and white stone bar with the kitchen behind.
The chef’s counter at Este.

As for the food, the menu focuses on coastal Mexican fare. Núñez and Hellman-Mass traveled to Mexican seaside cities like Ensenada (touted as the country’s seafood capital), wine country town Valle de Guadalupe, border town Tijuana, Puerto Escondido (another major seafood town), and others. And since this is a Núñez spot, much like Suerte, masa is another important component of the kitchen. This lends to seafood towers full of red chile-marinated shrimp and clams dressed in habanero pico de Gallo, shrimp aguachile negro made with cacao and habanero broth, masa-battered swordfish tacos, and bone-in turbot served with a shishito-anchovy butter. Desserts courtesy of pastry chef Derrick Flynn run along the same lines, with a semifreddo made with frozen Oaxacan crema atop a bed of puffed amaranth, and a guava-glazed apple tart.

A man with a gold watch pulling an empanada apart with cheese between the two halves.
Chef Fermin Núñez showing off a cheese pull at Este.
A tostada topped with pale green cream, chunks of white cauliflower, spicy sauce and green herbs.
The La Corona, a cauliflower ceviche, at Este.
Pocket foods stuffed with meats, peppers, and cheese on a plate with a lime half.
The pescadillas at Este.
A white bowl of a solid custard-looking substance with sprinkles of green lime zest, all on a bed of puffed grains.
The semifreddo at Este.
An oval white plate lined with sliced cucumbers with black sauce and herbs in the middle.
The shrimp aguachile negro at Este.

Este is currently only open for dinner at this time. Its hours are from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations are recommended, but there is room for walk-ins.

Este [Austin]

2113 Manor Road, Austin, Texas 78722 Visit Website
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