In 2013, Heidi Garbo launched Garbo’s Lobster Rolls, a popular Austin food truck serving fresh lobster rolls and seafood fare, drawing her inspiration from the seafood shacks she’s visited over the years along the east coast. After a very short time running her successful food truck, Heidi launched her first brick and mortar restaurant nestled in a quiet neighborhood of Wells Branch.
You wouldn’t know it from the exterior visuals of the thirty-something year old shopping center, but Garbo’s Restaurant presents Austin’s version of a coastal fantasy inside of a cozy New England cafe, perched in a cove along the state of Maine’s shoreline. The space features communal-style seating as well as a separate wine bar in the next room used for happy hour and private parties. The overall decor and foliage boast a relaxed, refreshing Atlantic coast atmosphere highlighting that helps to disregard the slightly stale look of the shopping center outside.
Oysters Photo by @atasteofkoko.
What to Order
I’m a food geek, but I honestly don’t get as excited for very many restaurants as much as I do for a great seafood joint. Central Texas isn’t exactly known for a stellar selection of seafood restaurants, but I get as excited as a kid on Christmas morning when I know I’ll be dining at Garbo’s. This time I enjoyed all of my favorites, starting with the Fried Calamari – lightly breaded and fried golden brown with a chili-lime aioli sauce to compliment crispy reward of flavor. Next I enjoyed the authentic New England Clam Chowder, perfectly creamy with tons of rich flavor and just the right amount of chunky clams and vegetables. Throw in a handful of the buttery oyster crackers that Heidi specifically orders from imported from New England, and you’ll probably ask for seconds.
The second course included a couple of Fish Tacos stuffed with smoked cod, spicy mayo, avocado mousse & corn tortilla, quite enjoyable especially if you’re trying to watch your calories. The true star of the restaurant is, of course the famous Lobster Rolls. We crushed their signature rolls, the Connecticut and Maine, both featuring a buttery toasted roll from the local Sweetish Hill Bakery. One stuffed with warm buttery lobster, the other with cold house mayo and house pickled vegetables with a side of crispy fries. The flavor is outstanding, and easily the best in Austin. The buttery toasted roll from Sweetish Hill sets up the flavor followed by the plump, sweet taste of the fresh Maine lobster Heidi has delivered daily.
Garbo’s continues to astonish Austinites at their famous food trucks and restaurant, serving authentic New England comfort food at it’s best. Their use of the freshest ingredients and the best catch of sweet lobsters from the New England coast is well worth the drive up north to the secretly surging Wells Branch area.