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Perla's on South Congress

4.7 34 votes

1400 S Congress Avenue

(512) 291-7300

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Ivan Collins Last updated on Feb 23, 2022 by

About Perla's on South Congress
Perla’s opened in 2009 to a lot of fanfare as a hot new seafood spot in the heart of what was emerging then as a cool new entertainment area known locally as the SoCo Shopping District. Perla’s solidified the area that is now one of Austin’s trendiest nightlife spots. The restaurant has a sort of Hampton’s feel with a large outdoor patio area, fish tank in the main entryway, and a very stylish wait staff dressed in what some might describe as preppy beachy/sailing attire. We tried to book a reservation for a Friday early evening, but found nothing available online. So we decided to take a chance with the walk up approach around 5:30pm and luckily landed an inside table immediately. (Outdoor tables are always first-come-first-served rather than by reservation and they were all full at 5pm on this beautiful weather Friday, but we did note there appeared to be some availability as we left around 8pm.)

The Menu at Perla's
The menu features a wide selection of oysters from a cold bar, a variety of appetizers and sandwiches, a fresh market seafood list of items flown in daily, some Perla’s plates that the server said stay on the menu, a few Prime steaks, and some sides for sharing. We decided to order a round of things and share them all. From the appetizer menu we ordered the Salt and Jalapeno Pepper Fried Calamari ($21) and Grilled Spanish Octopus ($21). The calamari seemed fresh and hand battered, but maybe a little too much batter to meat ratio for my tastes. The octopus was perfectly cooked and laid on a spread of aioli, or I should say alioli since it was a Spanish preparation. The consensus from the table was that this was some of the best prepared octopus we’d eaten. From there, we ordered the Potato Crusted Sea Bass ($44), a Lobster Bisque ($19), Coconut Curry Clam Chowder ($18), King Crab & Parmesan Grits ($18), and Yukon Gold Grilled Cakes with Crème Fraiche and Chive ($8). Everything was exceptional with the grilled potato cakes looking a lot like crab cakes and the king crab grits reminding me of French Onion Soup as the top was baked with a perfect golden crunch.

Grilled Spanish Octopus


All in all we had a great experience dining at Perla’s with the family. Our server was attentive, the ambience festive, the food delicious, and the general celebratory feel and quality of the meal high enough to warrant the expectedly high tab. The photo gallery below isn’t exceptional due to low lighting inside and the unplanned visit. Hopefully they invite us back for another round where we can try a few more options off the main menu and upgrade the photography.

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