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Mars Restaurant & Bar - 69 Reviews - 1400 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX - Local Favorite Reviews - Phone (512) 472-3901

Mars Restaurant & Bar

1400 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 472-3901
Incorrect info? Correct your listing


Mars Restaurant & Bar - Austin, TX
Mars Restaurant & Bar - Austin, TX


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Ok, I really miss Mars. Does anyone know why they closed? I have been looking for their wine list for awhile, but all I find are complaints about their wine list (lol). Regardl...


As I expected, the food was fantastic. My one and only complaint is the level of noise!! I found myself yelling across the small table at my date. By the time the food got ther...

What was that wine?? HELP! 1/8/2010

Ok, I really miss Mars. Does anyone know why they closed? I have been looking for their wine list for awhile, but all I find are complaints about their wine list (lol). Regardless, I had a fantastic glass of pinot noir while dining there, I believe from New Zealand, and I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT WAS! It had vanilla and cherry notes. Please tell me if you know. Thanks. Sad to see Mars go, but perhaps it lost its quaintness by moving...not sure. I still liked it :( Goodbye Elvis. Pros: deliciousness Cons: being closed more

dumb little place 11/12/2008

Ah mars..................looks good, doesn't it? well its kinda like that really hot chick at the bar who seems appetizing, but the second she opens her mouth you realize how horribly stupid and gross she really is, and you start wishing you went to mcdonalds instead of going out. first: they are obviously going for fine dining THEN GET SOME WAITSTAFF THAT HAVE EXPERIENCE . foodies expect a certain level of service, and at mars' prices, they better get it. i got some girl that was shuffling round the restaurant mumbling and took my order like i was at dennys. HAD NO CLUE ABOUT THE WINE LIST. presented our mixed grill as "UH...ER...HERES YALLS STEAK AND DUCK, AND UM, PORK..STUTTER THANKS" entrees were served at the table before first courses were even half way done. GET A CLUE we realize we are paying for the ambiance but get a clue. and the was good. scallops were great. but i see how on here the chef actually responded to the reviews????HA! what a tosser. mars better stop looking in the mirror loving it self for its cool little red orbs in the trees and start respecting the patrons, because, along with that hot chick at the bar, we can usually spot a fake more

Great place to eat 10/25/2008

I enjoyed eating at Mars. The service was good and the food was wonderful. I had spring rolls, with a tangy but spicy sauce and stir fry. I will go back. Jennifer McCoy Belton, tx more

Hands down, worst experience ever. 10/12/2008

I ate at Mars on one previous occasion in which I enjoyed it immensely. The food was excellent, the service was great, etc. Because I had such an amazing experience the first time, I dragged several friends there bragging about what a great place this is, how much they are going to love the food, ambience, etc. Upon arriving we were told that our reservation wasn't received, then we were later told that it was in fact received but ignored because a party of 10 had somehow doubled and we were simply no longer important. Crowded around a small table outside we ordered appetizers. The lamb skewers (among the dishes I had bragged about) bordered on gross, way overcooked. Other appetizers were also subpar. The waiter spilled sauce on my head and blouse and first acted as if nothing happened. When I reacted he looked up to the tree as if it was raining warm brown peanut sauce. The whole group was completely disappointed, and hungry. When we tried to explain our lousy experience to the manager, he walked away. HE WALKED AWAY. Its important to note that we weren't screaming, belittling, or being rude in any way as I have seen some very disgruntled patrons do once pressed too far. And this is just one more example of how service is changing in Austin. Some of the cool, hip, and trendy restaurants seem to have adopted the LA style of treating people. Pros: Food has ability to be excellent Cons: Inconsistent food, horrible service, a "you're lucky we serve you at all" attitude more

Best Steak in Town! 9/2/2008

Mars is simply outstanding! My girlfriend and I love to go there. I have never had anything less than an exceptional experience there, dating back to the old location by campus. Zen the bartender and Teddy the manager always go out of their way to ensure our needs are met. I like the mixed grill; the different meats (usually duck, beef, and pork, but last time I had the salmon) are always perfectly and exquisitely cooked. The beef tenderloin is my girlfriend's favorite, and we agree that it is the best steak available in town! Pros: Great food and service more

Something different and a nice patio 8/8/2008

Very nice place to sit outside and enjoy a good dinner The steak dinners are particularly good Service always good Pros: Great location and outside dining Cons: none more

food was really bad and overpriced. 6/21/2008

I had the veggie wrap and even the wrap bread around it was bad. Even the french fries were awful even when they renamed them pommes frites. My friend had crab cakes and got sick an hour later. She told me she didn't know why she kept eating them when they tasted bad. yuck. Do not be drawn in by the glossy good looks of this place. more

Must try this place! 6/18/2008

I have been to Mars a few times and I am planning on going back next week. I absolutely love this place. The people that are on here leaving negative remarks must have larger issues in life, because this place is easily one of the top 5 restaurants in Austin. If you have not been here before, go you will not be disappointed. If you will allow me to make a suggestion, for an appetizers, try the Malanga Napoleon. I hate to say something is the best ever, however at the current moment, I can not think of any appetizer I have ever eaten that I would choose over the Malanga Napoleon. Pros: Wine selection Cons: bit pricy, but very much worth it. more

Lazy service, bland food, and incompetent management 5/30/2008

They sat us immediately and jokingly told us our server would be with us in "4-5 seconds". About 15 minutes later the manager finally came around and told us that the server asked her to take our drink order - there was no: hello, welcome to Mars, sorry you've been waiting. It was Friday night around 8:00pm or so and there were empty tables everywhere so they weren't overwhelmingly too busy to care for their guests. Eventually we get our drinks and when our waitress finally comes over to take our order , it's the same thing - no introduction, no how are you, no sorry to keep you waiting. When we started to ask her questions about the menu and the wine she responded to everything saying that it was "good". When the appetizer arrives it was dry, my soup was unbearably salty, and the beet salad actually tasted ok but the greens were wilted and it only had a few beets. Our entrees were no less lackluster: the ribs were smeared in a sticky sauce that tasted ok but the meat inside was dry and bland; the softshell crab was disgusting....watery, mushy and had flavor similar to a frozen product. (let me mention that I am from the Mid-Atlantic coast where I grew up eating softshell crab); the hearts of palm that came with the crab were raw and bland; and lamb tasted of nothing but salt, like they marinated it in beef broth. Whoever the head chef is should be ashamed of the food he/she is sending out to the guests. When we told the manager of our concerns about the food, she responded saying "let me get it out of your way so you don't have to deal with it anymore". They comped the food we sent back, but there was absolutely no apology or attempt to improve our experience in any way. My boyfriend and I both worked our way through college waiting tables in nice restaurants so we know what it takes to make a nice dining experience. It was obvious that the server, the chefs and the manangement at Mars simply have no pride in their product. I will never go back. more

really??? 5/30/2008

I am the chef at Mars Restaurant and I would like to point out that I indeed take pride in the food that myself and my cooks put out every day. Was the food too bland or too salty?? I am not from the Mid - Atlantic nor have i been raised on soft shell crab however I can assure you that the crab was alive before it went to the table. We do NOT marinate the lamb in beef broth but we do however serve it with lamb jus made from lamb bones. The ribs are braised for hours and are anything but dry . I would normally in this situation ask you to come back so that we could resolve any and all doubts you have in us, but instead I will ask that the next time you go out to eat anywhere that you start your dining experience with a better attitude. more

Great deck, food, service, but can the smokers just go away? 4/27/2008

My girlfriend and I love Mars. We go at least 2-3 times a month, if not more. We love to sit outside (if it's not too hot or it's not packed with smokers; it only takes a few to ruin the smell of food). The Beef Tenderloin is not to be missed; also the Pork Tenderloin, the Wasabi Salmon, the Scallops, the Ricepaper Prawns and the Chocolate Pate. They also have a nice selection of wines by the glass (we usually don't get bottles). The servers are nice and attentive. Overall, this place is in our top 5 in Austin. Pros: Food, ambience, wine more

First time was very good 4/27/2008

I went on a recent weekend for the first time. We were part of a large group, and I was happy to see that our table was waiting for us per our reservation. We started with drinks from the happy hour menu, and everyone was happy! My date and I shared the Tuna appetizer and the Spring Roll appetizer. For dinner, she had the Flounder and I had the Flank Steak; both were perfect. We also enjoyed several bottles of wine with our friends. The waiter did a good job with a large group: he was always there when I wanted something, at least. It was a little on the loud side, but what can you expect with these crowded places? It was a very good first trip: I'll be back more

Extremely slow service 4/27/2008

This has got to be the slowest service in Austin, or anywhere and I come from Europe so I'm used to slow service!! Myself and my husband decided to give Mars a try for happy hour last week. We decided to enjoy the patio. However, after waiting for 10 minutes to be served with out drinks the waitress disppeared - even though we said we wanted to order food and we didn't see her again for about 20 minutes. I am from Europe so I am used to slower service, but this was ridiculous - I don't think I'll try it again - which is a pity as it has such a nice patio and bar! Pros: Nice patio and nice bar inside Cons: Extremely slow service more

Great food & attentive staff 4/25/2008

I wasn't planning on leaving a review, but then read the one below and had to point out the coincidence that I was there last Sunday, sitting next to the large, disruptive table of obnoxious drunks to which the reviewer below presumably belonged to. They made a spectacle of themselves, before getting into a belligerant argument with the manager, yelling inapropriate things and stumbling out. Other than that disruption, me and my husband had a wonderful time. I was infact getting on this site to find Mars' number so that I could make a reservation to celebrate my birthday there. Fantastic food, great atmosphere, very amicable and professional staff. Highly Recommend it! more

Worst experience ever! Rude management 4/20/2008

Ate, or at least tried to eat there on a Sunday night with about ten people and had one of the worst experiences ever! We had a nice waitress who seemed overwhelmed with the size of our party but she kept our drinks full and was always visible. The problem was that we waited for over and hour for our entrees! Then when we inquired about them with a manager we were greeted by a rather rude expediter who immediately went on the defensive saying the order was put it at this time and we were wrong. When we were finally able to speak with a manager he gave us a round about excuse and then became sarcastic and just down right rude and arrogant, explaining that we were drinking and had no concept of how much time passed. We will never, ever go back to Mars! None of us have ever received such horrible service and have been treated in such a horrible way. To add insult to injury we never received our entrees, we all paid for what we had and left after waiting for nearly and hour and fifteen minutes for our entrees. This was one of the worst places to dine and I would avoid this place at all cost, not worth it at all! Pros: Nothing Cons: Arrognat and rude management, excessively long wait for food that we never got more

Great food, great choices, great place to go with your family 3/18/2008

I have been to Mars several times with my family and I LOVED IT! The food is great, the service is spectacular, and every time I finish dinner I am always disappointed because i don't want it to end. I loved the restaurant in the old location and i love it in the new one. The owner, Lori Simon, really knows how to run a great restaurant and take care of you when you need it. I don't live in Austin, but whenever i visit there i HAVE TO go to Mars, it is like a priority when i am visiting. It is a great restaurant with great food at an affordable price. The only negative thing that i have to say is when it is busy, the place can get really really loud and its a little annoying, but it is worth it when you try some of the food. People who have never been there before, listen to me.... GO THERE! You will love it! Pros: Food, Service Cons: noise level more

Great Atmosphere 2/29/2008

I have been to Mars many times and I am always amazed at how consistently great the food and service is. The atmosphere is unbelievable, both inside and out. However, my friends and I always love sitting on the patio. more

wonderful night at mars 2/22/2008

went to mars the other night for the first time since their move to congress ave- loved the decor- absolutely loved the patio-sat outside while we waited for a table inside being that the night was getting colder ,but in the nicer weather would have loved to stay out- beautiful trees sitting right on congress. appetizers were great- the tuna tataki and the rice paper prawns were excellent- the place was loud but it was pretty crowded. great wine list and the server helped us along with our choice. service was good and attentive- waiter was quite humorous and fun at the table. had the tenderloin (an old favorite) and it is literally the best beef tenderloin i have ever had- my date had the venison- also excellent- dessert- chocolate pate-delicious!!!! all in all it was a wonderful experience- can't wait till it is warm so we can check out the outdoor seating. Pros: ambience, good attentive service, great food Cons: a little on the loud side more

great evening 2/22/2008

After several excellant dinners at Mars in the last few months I began to wonder if I was becoming jaded by the cool atmosphere or the friendly wait staff. So on a recent weekend I decided to take some out of town guess, all admitted food-o-files, and without exception everyone was blown away.On a busy Saturday night our waiter could not have been more helpful and made us feel like we were the only people in the place. The kitchen's timing was spot on and the entrees from the thai bouilliasse, the seared flounder and the flank steak from the Tandoori oven were all big hits. My friends were also impressed by the innovative drink menu, they loved the wasabi martini. The Mars staff sure made me look good. I'll be back and so will my friends whenever they are in town. more

Where's the best beef tenderloin? It's at Mars! 2/22/2008

A large group of us went to Mars 2 weeks ago for my nephew's 21st and we had a great experience. Even though we had 13 folks in our party, we were seated promptly at the time we made our reservation in a very full restaurant. Appetizer samplers for the entire table really set the mood. The tender baby back ribs and delicious potstickers were right on the mark and there was much more to pick from off the sampler platter that was equally good. Plenty of food for everyone just to whet their appetite before the entrees started to arrive. I can't speak for everyone else at the table, but I will tell you things got very quiet w/ the exception of alot of oohs and aahs when the main dishes arrived due to the fact that the party goers were all consumed w/ what was in front of them. I had the beef tenderloin, which I have to say was some of the most flavorful melt in your mouth meat I have had in a long time. Simply delicious and cooked perfectly. I did get to try a bit of my wife's salmon and it also was delicious. No wonder all I got was one small bite. Dessert was right on the mark also. We all shared creme brullee that was super creamy but not too sweet and these little donuts and some home made ice cream that really finished off a perfect celebration. Even though we had a very large party our server was totally on top of things and I thought did a great job on keeping everyone happy and satisfied at the table. Pros: Great service, outstanding food Cons: Can be a little loud more
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Menu for Mars Restaurant & Bar

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  • The Scene
    Mars draws you in, sits you down and starts its relaxation technique. The deep-red interior, flecked with black and gold paint, hushes the harried spirit. Cozy banquettes line the windows and additional tables create romantic seating nooks throughout the interior. The space, though harmonious, is nearly always packed with first-daters, trendy scenesters and old timers reflecting about how the restaurant (and Austin) used to be. Service is affable, if sometimes slammed.

    The Food
    The chef draws from Indian, Thai, Mediterranean and Japanese cuisines, sometimes merging several into a single dish. Vegetarians are not forgotten, with at least 10 meatless items offered. The scallops and gyoza appetizer has buttery scallops that make you want to eat them in small bites. The tender rack of lamb has a mint demi glace and the tandoori mixed grill is the perfect way to sample the chicken, steak, pork and duck on a single plate.

    Hits: The patio offers a relaxing spot to linger over a meal and watch the SoCo bustle.

    Misses: Wait time during peak hours can exceed an hour and waiting areas are cramped, unless you luck into one of the outdoor bar tables.

  • 10/15/2007 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Payments:

    Master Card, Visa, American Express, Discover
  • Neighborhoods:

    South River City, Greater South River City