|1310 RR 620 S., #A-4
Lakeway, TX 78734
Santa Catarina restaurant in Lakeway is the by-product of the splendid history of Mexican cuisine and the passion of three men with years of experience in the Austin restaurant scene. I stumbled across this place adjacent to the League Kitchen and Tavern earlier this year, and what a find it has been!
At first glance the Botanas sound like a number of popular Mexican appetizers but Santa Catarina has elevated these to a new level of taste and excellence. Consider the Totopos, a variation on the Mexican nacho. The crispy tortillas covered with mexican cheese, refried black beans, and pickled red onions and jalapenos create a taste profile that is instantaneous and delightful. And you must try the famous Huarache which is a boat of corn masa topped with refried black beans, queso fresco, sour cream and most importantly, nopalitos en adobo. The Sopes are an art form at Santa Catarina, and I love that they add cabbage to the masa. I like mine with puerco (pork) and the shrimp version is awfully tasty as well. And if Ceviche is your passion, then try the flesh Gulf black drum (caught on long lines) and cured in lime juice. The flavor here is smooth and nuanced, and the garnish of olives, capers, fresh jalapenos, onions and tomatoes… well, this is a Ceviche for the ages.
The Platillos Mexicanos offer some of the most intriguing and taste-centric dishes available in Austin. Many are from old family recipes, and they are amazing. Francisco’s version of Cochinita Pibil is a classic pork shoulder slowly cooked and marinated in achiote sauce. It’s done in a banana leaf, and the taste is nothing short of mesmerizing. The Carne Tampiquena is a filet of grilled tenderloin topped with grilled onions and peppers. This dish has so many levels of flavor that it comes at you in delightful waves. Beautiful texture as well. Another sure-fire palate pleaser is the Camarones Veracruzanos. If you like shrimp, this dish will rock your world with the spicy flavors from the classic Veracruz style sauce which adorns the sauteed shrimp. Very tasty. Santa Catarina also has some rellenos that are spot-on. My favorite is the En Nogada with a poblano pepper stuffed with pork picadillo, and topped with salsa nogada. This is a relleno that lingers with you, long after the last bite.
I can’t begin to cover all the incredible dishes at this restaurant in our allotted time, but I’d say with three or four visits you can begin to develop a framework. And trust me, you’ll make many visits to Santa Catarina.