On the outside patio at Toulouse, an immersive, bustling crowd keeps the atmosphere lively. Enjoying salmon rillettes with a Rita Royale while watching children play in the Northside Lawn makes it seem as if time has slowed down to allow guests to simply enjoy the moment. A cool breeze can easily pass through to uplift the conversation and allow guests to relax as their server guides through the impressive menu.
In the heart of Austin’s Domain Northside, Toulouse makes for a delicious dining centerpiece for foodies in love with French cuisine. While just steps away from personal favorites like Culinary Dropout and Flower Child, this contemporary French eatery is worlds apart from the options around it. If you’re intimidated by the menu, fear no more. The staff is incredibly helpful with translation and explaining unfamiliar ingredients and cooking methods.
From frog legs to foie gras au torchon and even escargot for those who can brave it, the offerings at Toulouse create a breathtaking experience. The menu has much to offer any appetite with a mix of classic french dishes and hometown favorites. I found the crispy duck leg confit served with gratin dauphinoise, bacon and a frisee salad to be a true pleasure on my visit, and their chefs impressed on all fronts. The outer skin was crisped perfectly and the meat was falling off the bone with superb seasoning. The flavors were just right, and the presentation was picture perfect. Toulouse also offers an impressive wine and cocktail list with a French focus, but I like to keep things light, so I kept it at one Rita Royale.
The patio stays fairly active throughout the evening, and easily keeps guests swept up in the French countryside, but inside is where you can find a more cosmopolitan vibe. Although the indoor scene feels less like a French fantasy and more like Austin, the food doesn’t lose any of the appeal. Inside, I continued the culinary quest with a surprisingly delicious lobster macaroni and cheese. The serving was size was deserving of a second fork, but you’d be crazy to share this dish.
I closed out the evening with a practically perfect crème brûlée that provided a delicious, sweet statement to cap the dining experience. As the crowds died down and the music took over the room, I could definitely say this was a meal to remember. Grab your special someone and make a date with Toulouse.
Toulouse Domain NORTHSIDE serves lunch and dinner Monday through Sunday; brunch Saturday and Sundy • Click here for menus, directions + reservations
Nick Bailey is a forward thinking journalist with a well-rounded skill set including writing, design, and photography. Nick now resides in Austin, TX after earning a degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis on journalism from Texas A&M University—Commerce.