I’ve been counting down the weeks to share this City Style segment on Austin, Texas! Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Benoit Rochard through my friend Marcela Zevada. Benoit has lived in Austin for fifteen years and today is sharing his favorite must-visit spots in the city! Benoit shares a love for the lake and water sports (especially wakeboarding) and when I heard how often he visits Lake Austin (even after work sometimes) – we were instant friends! He is amazing at wakeboarding and is wonderfully knowledgeable about the arts, events, and cultural happenings. Also, he’s also a true gentleman – I might add!
Thus far, every very restaurant he has suggested in Austin has been amazing and I can’t wait to try out some more of his suggestions below on my next visit! I’m also dying to stay at the Hotel Saint Cecilia…. ASAP!
Enjoy & happy weekend!
Name: Benoit Rochard
Occupation: Real Estate
City & how long: Austin, 15 years
Favorite Brunch Spot: This is a tough one because there are so many different options depending on how you feel or where you are. Enoteca on South Congress is always a good choice. But, sometimes you need a quieter place, in which case I recommend going to the 4 Seasons on town lake and head to the patio of Trio which overlooks Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake if Austin is new to you).
Favorite After-Work Spot: Ranch 616
Must-visit museum: Laguna Gloria
Favorite boutiques/shopping & why: Stag on South Congress is a cool men’s clothing/supplies store, you can keep it Austin casual yet, stay classy shopping there. Urbanspace Interiors is the best furniture store in Austin, they have the coolest collections from some of the best designers both local and global.
Best Hidden Secret: Things don’t stay secret too long around here, but LeNoir is a new restaurant that has yet to get too much attention, but it deserves some.
Best books/music/art on your city: I think we should keep this one to music: Gary Clark Jr., Ghostland Observatory, The Black Angels. These are such fun live bands, that are already bigger than Austin at this point. But they still play in town a lot, and always put on some of the best shows of the year. One not to miss is Ghostland Observatory’s annual Whitewater Ampitheater show.
Must-Visit Dinner Spot: Since it’s Austin I’m going to have to go with Tex-Mex. Everyone has a different opinion, but Polvos is my go-to and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t include it in their top three. For a more rustic interior Mexican check out Papi Tino’s on East 6th, wander over to East Side Showroom afterwards for some digestives.
Most romantic restaurant: I am going to have to go with Perla’s for this one.
Most Scenic Spot: Mt. Bonnell
Your favorite thing to do: Here’s one of my favorite Austin days: mountain bike Barton Creek Greenbelt, cool down in Barton Springs, lunch at South Congress Café. Lake Austin in the afternoon start with some watersports then head to the cove. Dinner on the patio at Paggi House. A concert at Stubb’s, and then head over to one of the bars on Rainey Street.
Where to stay on a visit and what makes these places special: I have yet to stay in a hotel in Austin but I have heard good things about Hotel San Jose and Saint Cecilia in the South Congress area. Heywood Hotel, on the East Side is also a cool concept that everyone seems to enjoy. And, in case you need a chain hotel the W downtown has a nice bar/restaurant and it’s in the middle of everything.
What do you love most about where you live: It’s pretty much like living at a resort every day of the week. There are endless amounts of places to check out, there is a cool new restaurant or bar that opens on what seems like a never ending weekly basis. And, to date, Austinites have done a good job boycotting lame national chains. We have local chains that we love, and that I recommend (Thundercloud Subs, P-Terrys, for example).
Traveling tips/anything to steer clear of: I would recommend not coming during the Texas Relays track tournament. Spring and fall are best, our summers have been a little warm lately. If you come for one our premier events (Austin City Limits, South by Southwest, Formula 1 Grand Prix) either come early or stay late and enjoy Austin when its not so hectic.
Marcela Zevada wakeboarding on Lake Austin
Thank you, Benoit! Can’t wait for the next Austin visit! :)