The Oasis, Austin
What It’s Like: The layout of this Austin favorite is a marvel in itself; 40 tiered decks—that can hold up to 2,200 people—jut out from a 450-foot-high cliff over Travis Lake. Literally thousands flock here nightly for casual American, Tex-Mex, and Creole food, drinks, and a chance to watch the sun disappear onto the city’s famous serpentine lake. Lightning destroyed some 80 percent of the restaurant’s outdoor space in 2005, but the restaurant re-opened a day later. Within two years of the fire, the restaurant added more lake-side view seating and a cool new indoor-outdoor music space.
What to Order: Nachos with the works and other well-done Tex-Mex dishes, like enchiladas, pair perfectly with the house margarita.
Best Seat in the House: Call ahead and request seating at one of two tables in the semi-private high-perched Crow’s Nest. A statue of a diver (recovered from the original pre-fire Oasis) watches over the Nest.
Insider Tip: Arriving two hours before the sun sets is a good rule of thumb for securing a seat for the fiery show.