Austin’s South 1st Street offers an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and bars. Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon specializes in healthier versions of Mexican-American fare, using fresh herbs that their dishes pop.
If you’re looking to have a casual outdoor meal during one of Austin’s beautiful fall or spring afternoons and evenings, Fresa’s outdoor patio is as inviting as it gets. With picnic style tables and benches, lights strung across the courtyard, and an area for live music groups to set up on occasion, this is a favorite for a wide variety of occasions, from Thursday afternoon happy hour to a fun first date. It’s a popular spot for young families, too, so you often find children and/or dogs playing in the open courtyard area near the stage.
We begin with a Totally Loaded Queso bowl: black beans, guacamole, chorizo, pico de gallo, and of course, ques. It is rich and flavorful, and enough for two to four people to share as an appetizer.
Two tacos, the El Rey and the El Santo, are both a good balance of meat and vegetable. The El Rey sports beef brisket with crunchy cabbage, pickled jalapeno, chipotle mayo, and extremely fresh fire-roasted red salsa. The El Santo is entirely different, combining agave-lime chicken with avocado, jicama, carrots, jalapenos, cilantro, chipotle mayo, and avocado verde salsa. Though it’s a chicken taco at its core, the light, crisp El Santo offers a broader range of fresh herb and vegetable flavors.
Fresa’s wood-grilled dinners are a specialty. Here you choose a meat, which comes with sides of beans, Mexican rice, grilled onion, marinated jalapeno, and salsas. Yucatan Spice Chicken is a perfectly charred breast that is rich and smokey. Combined with vegetable and bean sides on fresh corn tortillas, it is delightful and filling. I top mine off with spicy avocado verde salsa. Combined with the spice chicken and jalapeno, it kicks the meal into hot overdrive.
When you visit Fresa’s, be sure to grab a fresh house margarita with salt. It goes so well with the relaxed atmosphere and meals that put a modern twist on borderland classics.