ATXReview

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Holiday image
8.1

Holiday

BarAmerican

GovalleEast Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Drinks & A Light BiteCasual Weeknight DinnerOutdoor/Patio SituationDrinking Good Cocktails
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Equal parts cocktail bar and cafe, Holiday on East 7th is a great patio spot. There’s a bright and airy dining room, but the remaining 90% of the space is outside, in what feels like the backyard of some affluent designer-turned-restaurateur, who decided to build their home in what was probably a gas station in a former life. If that all sounds like the pipe dream of an East Side Austinite, just imagine the reality of walking into a restaurant serving Lone Star steamed mussels and Miller High Life-based cocktails. Holiday is a place to sit outside, drink great cocktails, and fill your table full of tiny shared plates.

Holiday image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Holiday image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Holiday image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Holiday image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Holiday image
Holiday image
Holiday image
Holiday image

The menu is made up mostly of small European-inspired plates that clearly spent some time in Texas, with dishes like Spanish anchovies with preserved lemon salsa verde, or a cheese plate served with tomatillo jam. And while you could probably cobble together a meal out of a few small plates, this is mostly a place to grab a light bite and enjoy multiple rounds of cocktails. Get some fries and some chips with cashew onion dip, then decide how fancy you want to get with your drinks. 

Holiday image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Any place that dedicates an entire portion of the drink menu to martinis is off to a strong start, and it’s one of the biggest draws at Holiday. There are about half a dozen varieties, ranging from a semi-dry, velvety freezer-box martini for the purists, to the barely-a-martini lychee variety made with honeysuckle vodka. The rest of the cocktails here consist mostly of riffs on classics, including a Jungle Bird variant named after Austin’s unofficial avian mascot, the patio grackle, plus a handful of spirit-free cocktails, beer, and wines by the glass or bottle. Most importantly—the cocktails are good. We’d come here even if the only entree was a bowl of mixed nuts (which at Holiday, incidentally, come dressed in rosemary and Emeril’s Essence). 

Food Rundown

Holiday image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

87 Club Martini

We love a martini that comes out of the freezer. It adds a silky, velvety texture to the drink that makes the whole experience feel more luxurious. This isn’t as dry as a typical martini (there’s a separate option for that)—but it’s very well-balanced.
Holiday image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Frozen Mexican Martini

If you’ve had a Mexican martini at one of Austin’s many Tex-Mex spots, you already know what to expect—basically a margarita with olive brine–but this arrives frozen. And it’s served in a super cute little cactus-shaped glass that you’ll want to take home.
Holiday image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Lone Star Mussels

The portion is a little small, but that just allows you to fill your table up with more snacks. Plus, where else are you getting Lone Star-steamed mussels in town? It’s not bad, but save this dish for a second or third visit after you’ve worked through more of the plates.
Holiday image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Spanish Anchovies & Butter

We’re powerless to resist anchovies on a menu—they’re like a reverse fish hook of sorts. Here, they come doused in oil and a tangy lemon salsa verde, cultured butter, and a baguette. The dressed anchovies are great, but would taste even better if the baguette came out toasted.
Holiday image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Ricotta Cavatelli

There are only a couple of dishes on the menu that could be seen as “entree-sized” and the ricotta cavatelli is one of them. It’s excellent. Cooked to a perfect al dente, the pasta is served swimming in a shallow pool of parmesan broth with blistered tomatoes. It’s tangy, savory, and well-suited for warmer months.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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