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Restaurant Review: Max's Wine Dive

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User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Restaurant Review: Max's Wine Dive

Interior of Max's

Emily Starbuck Gerson
Be sure to view my accompanying image gallery of Max's Wine Dive.

Max's Wine Dive is located in downtown Austin and combines classy dining with comfort home cooking. Never thought of pairing champagne with fried chicken? That's what Max's is all about.

The Essentials
Address: 207 San Jacinto Blvd.
Phone: (512) 904-0105
Hours: Mon-Weds from 4 p.m.-midnight; Thurs: 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Fri & Sat: 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sun: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Happy hour: Mon-Thurs from 4 p.m.-7 p.m.; Fri & Sat: 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
Reverse happy hour (food discounts only): Mon-Weds from 10 p.m.-12 pm.; Thurs-Sat from midnight-2 a.m.

The Vibe

Max’s Wine Dive has a laid-back environment and attracts all types. While there, I saw everyone from young professionals in their 20s to couples in their 50s. It is the type of environment where anyone can feel welcome – especially night owls, who will benefit from the reverse happy hour. While there is a casual vibe, Max’s retains a hip and slightly upscale feel. The interior features mood lighting and modern black furniture, but there is also exposed brick and some Southern touches, such as animal skulls decorating a column. We sat outside, and while it was a little noisy, it was fun watching the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin pass by.

Below the restaurant is Max’s Underground, a private basement that was once an old warehouse. It contains 2,100 square feet of chic space, making it a prime spot for private parties and events. There are several pillars with wine-bottle light sconces, in addition to colorful red carpet and walls smattered with incredible art by local artists.

The Drinks

Max's grilled cheese sandwich

Emily Starbuck Gerson
Max’s Wine Dive serves only beer and wine, and as its name suggests, it specializes in wine. The huge list of wine offerings changes almost daily, so there nearly always be something new for you to try. Max’s also offers a variety of dessert wines.

All wines are available by the glass with a two-glass minimum. All wines at Max’s are also available for retail purchase, so if you enjoy the glass you have, you can go home with a bottle. Max’s fits a variety of budgets; bottles here range from $25 to $600. They have wine tastings every Saturday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

The Food

The restaurant serves what it calls “gourmet comfort food,” and I found that to be the perfect description. It felt like Southern home cooking in a chic and modern atmosphere. The food is rich and heavy here, so this isn’t the place to go if you’re on a diet or have a sensitive stomach.

Rather than being organized by appetizers and entrees, the ever-changing menu is divided by small dishes and large dishes. According to my waiter, the most popular small dishes include the pork belly, max & cheese (pasta tossed in truffle cream and a blend of cheeses), and fried chicken. The waiter said he was from Mississippi and could assure us the fried chicken “is legit.”

Another very popular dish is the Kobe beef burger, which was recently ranked the 16th best burger in the state by Texas Monthly magazine. My guest ordered the burger, which is rich and served with melted brie on a buttery bun. She said, "It was like eating a burger dessert.”

I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich, which was thick and full of a variety of gooey cheese with some tomato and mild peppers thrown in. It was served alongside a shot glass of tomato soup and cheese-sprinkled chips. The soup was a bit bland, but it was easily overlooked due to how rich and flavorful the sandwich was.

My guest and I also shared the pan boraccho, also called Max’s famous “drunk bread,” which is like a casserole. It consists of torn bread tossed with garlic and onions and then soaked in a white wine custard before being baked with cheese. We were warned that it’s not for everybody, but it was warm, gooey, and definitely for us.

The Dessert

Emily Starbuck Gerson
We finished the meal and were ready for the dessert. We had trouble deciding on one, so the water suggested we try the Half & Half; this is a combination of two of Max’s best desserts. On one side is a warm chocolate ganache brownie topped with Teo’s chocolate-hazelnut gelato; on the other side was rich bread pudding with a dollop of Teo’s salted caramel gelato. Both brownies and bread pudding are two of my favorite desserts, so the combination of these warm dishes with the cool and melty gelato was divine.

If for some reason that dessert doesn’t appeal, you can also order old-school favorites such as Apple Brown Betty, the cheesecake, or funnel cake.

While we were there for dinner and dessert, we learned that you can come in for all-you-can-eat fried chicken mimosas for brunch every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Please note that while this review is fully objective, the meal was complimentary.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
Valeted my car and got towed--Don't go!, Member DRC386

I'd strongly advise against going to Max's Wine Dive in downtown Austin. I valeted there on New Year's Eve, and the valet told me my car would be fine overnight. My car was towed on New Year's Day morning. I would have parked somewhere else if I knew that I could get towed, and there was free parking on the streets on New Year's (to deter drunk driving) and AAA was providing free tows home. Don't go to Max's Wine Dive!

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