Asia Cafe has a reputation for great Chinese food, so this past Friday I decided to check it out. Located in a shopping center on the north side of town near the intersection of 183 and Spicewood Springs, Asia Cafe is adjacent to Asia Market, which is definitely a mark in its favor. Few restaurants can boast a ready supply of fresh, authentic food right next door.
I arrived at 7pm and the restaurant was absolutely packed, with every table full and a long line for the counter. The tables in the main room were a bit crowded together, but they also have rooms for groups off to the side. I decided that taking my food to go was probably the best option, but the rush actually settled down fairly quickly, so by the time my order was ready − about 20-30 minutes later - several tables were available.
I ordered the crispy duck and some cheese wontons, but in retrospect that was a bit of a conservative choice. Asia Cafe has a big menu with a lot of options I'd never seen at a Chinese restaurant. They also regularly add new dishes, and the board behind the counter listed more than a dozen specials. As I sat and waited for my order, I watched dozens of plates come out of the kitchen with a wide variety of meals that all looked delicious. Portions were uniformly huge, easily providing enough food for two people or a generous amount of leftovers.
The duck was wonderful, and kept me well-fed for two meals, but I'll definitely be making another trip to Asia Cafe so that I can try out something else, possibly one of their soups or tofu dishes. The only issue will be finding the right time to come so that I can find a table. I will also admit that I had a hard time finding the restaurant at first. Look for the shopping center with Big Lots and you know you're in the right place.
Originally published at Austin.com