Seriously. I've never been to a place that I couldn't wait to leave. I usually don't frequent these types of places but I did have coupons so I said 'what the hey' and decided to try it out. Bad mistake. Well, at first it was bit nice. Good decorative appearance (kinda fancy) with a certian cleanliness to it. I opened the menu and I did see some choices that sounded good. They had good variety of enchiladas, carnes, mariscos and they even had Sopes for appetizers. Although the prices were pretty steep. $13-22 for an order of enchiladas & 9 for a taco plate. Gulp!
The problems started when I took a little closer look at the menu. They described their "flautas" as grilled enchiladas. I was like what? Are they flautas or are they enchiladas? I think they were dumbing it down for well, downtown type folks or tourists or somesing. They brought over some pretty stale chips and some kind of watery tomato paste they were pawning off as salsa.
I ordered the Sopes and in appearance they looked good but in taste, they had nothing. They were topped with black beans and red chile. The maza, beans and chile taste were no where to be found. It was like chewing on pasty flour water. Even the beans had nothing to offer.
Above: Sopes Before; Below: Sopes afterwards when I had to load it up with pepper to give it some flavor!
I also ordered the chicken fajitas and instead I got pieces of a rubber chicken. Yeah, it was that bad. And I'm a big fan of rubber chickens. They are quite the comic prop. But not in this case. Even the tortillas that came with the order were too chewy and barely warm. I think Manuel's was one of the places that started off good back in the day, but they seemed to have lost the passion for good food and instead settled for less than mediocracy. The only redeeming hope was the service; it was good.
Manuel's Downtown - 2 Stars
310 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
El Mundo de Mando