769 Reviews
Tell people what you think
Craig McLaughlin
· December 26, 2017
Never have had bad service or bad food there, and the margaritas are delicious! It’s not top notch Tex-mex but very, very few places are. I love it and it’s a staple in Austin. I always love the signs... and I enjoy the atmosphere and layout of the restaurant. I definitely recommend it to people, especially people visiting from out of town. See More
Jenny Teague
· September 27, 2017
I've lived in Austin since 1999 and have never been to El Arroyo, but my son came to visit from Baltimore and shares the sign every day on his Facebook page. He asked if we could eat at the famous pla...ce with the funny signs. So, we did. The food was pretty good and well priced. Service was decent. And, the sign was funny, as usual. I'd definitely recommend it to others. See More
Julia Degnan
· September 18, 2017
This used to be my favorite restaurant. Everything has changed since Clay sold it. This is usually the first place we go when visiting from Houston. We were totally disappointed in the food. My son wa...s handed a skillet of fajitas with a giant hole in the handle protector mitt. He burned his hand pretty badly. To top it all, the bill was outrageous!!! It's such a shame!! See More
Kimberly White
· January 6, 2018
I finished my whole meal before I ever got my first glass of water. Very loud. Food not as described on menu
Lisa Veller Gentry
· October 29, 2017
Drinks well made! Huevos rancheros we’re delicious. We had a big party and only complaint was average chicken nachos that they probably wouldn’t order again. My only complaint was it took forever to our check. See More
Dale Taylor
· February 14, 2018
Your place is amazing! I love the food and the atmosphere makes it one of best places I've had the pleasure of dining at. Plus those signs always good for a laugh
Samantha Faherty
· January 5, 2018
Our waitress was amazing, I felt bad for her because there were two more just standing around doing absolutely nothing. But she was on top of it!
Timothy Morphis
· October 24, 2017
We eat some of the best food in a long time. Grate service very friendly people. Will be going back as soon as possible.
Jay Linse
· June 26, 2017
Not busy and after 15 minutes of waiting no drinks served and/or order taken.

My wife and I were there today (June 26th 2017 at roughly 1:30pm)...
My wife and I were in town on business. The place was NOT crowded (We recall about 10 tables with customers).

The place is adjacent to an arroyo (Hence the name of El Arroyo). It had stagnant water which smelled awful. Okay, the smell of the stagnant water in the arroyo is not their fault but it's something customers might have to put up with.

Birds are continuously swooping in for food. We witnessed a 'great-tailed grackle' even landed on a table and took chips directly out of a chips basket in front of a customer. As soon as a party gets up and leaves their table, birds will swoop in for food. There's bird droppings on the benches, chairs, tables, and railings on the outside patios from the birds.

There's no one to guide you to a table, you sit yourself and wait for someone to come to you with menus. This means your food server may not know you are there and you may wait a long time before being greeted.

My wife and I waited for almost 10 minutes before someone FINALLY came to us with menus and to take our drink orders.
After a few more minutes we were so bored waiting for our drinks and to have our order taken, we both agreed to give them 5 more minutes to take our order before we got up and left.
Five minutes arrived and we did not have our drinks, no chips & salsa, and no order taken. We left. We sincerely doubt we will ever go back there.
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Dani Lanae Jacks
· June 22, 2017
Was very disappointed in the whole experience.. The service was horrible first of all. There were only 2 tables of people when we arrived so we THOUGHT service would be good and quick. NOt. Never got ...our drinks refilled and I sat at least 10 minutes waiting for my plate after the rest of my party already had theirs. I ordered enchiladas and they were probably the worst I've ever had I couldn't even finish my plate. My mom and husband weren't happy with their food either. We also ordered a bowl of queso that we never got. The only thing I like about el arroyo is the sign.. won't be back.. See More
Taryn Bradley
· May 7, 2017
I had only been here once before, and it was alright. Unfortunately, we had a horrible experience here on Friday night. It seems obvious to me that if you're a Mexican restaurant on Cinco de Mayo you ...need to be prepared! Upon walking up, my party of 3 saw the "Seat Yourself" sign that other reviewers have referred to. We wandered all over the restaurant looking for a clean table with no luck. A lady saw us and said "I'll be right back after I clean a table for you." 5 minutes later...she never showed back up, so we finally chose to sit at a dirty table. The waitress who was obviously tending to our section blatantly ignored us. After about 20 minutes of no customer service, while we sat at a dirty table, I got up to ask the waitress if she knew who would server was supposed to be. She responded "It will probably be about 25 to 30 minutes" before walking away. I still don't know what in the world she was referring to. My friend decided it was time to speak with the manager. His excuse was "If the table was dirty, they probably thought you had already eaten." Are you kidding me? We left and went to Z'Tejas where we had wonderful drinks, food, and service. See More
Marty Hobratschk
· April 13, 2017
We visited last Saturday around 8 pm, which you'd think would be prime dining time. The place was nearly empty and a sign said seat yourself. We wandered out back (where the customers were), but could...n't find a clean table. Another couple sat uncomfortably, until one got up and went inside to ask for a menu. When we went inside, one of the wait staff snapped, "Seat yourself." When I pointed out there were literally no clean tables in the restaurant, she waved at the bar tender and told him to go outside and clean a table for us, because she had "things to do." We went outside and stood by a table for a couple of minutes, but no one showed.

We left, fearing that the filthy dining room was a harbinger of a dirty kitchen, and disturbed that no one at the restaurant seemed interested in our business.

We won't be back.
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Vickie Babineaux
· February 12, 2017
I'm not sure where are these bad reviews are coming from! After living in Austin for a long time, a friend and I decided to give it a whirl. Saw a few things on the menu I've never seen on a Tex-Mex m...enu including the stuffed zucchini, which I ordered. The verde sauce was tangy, the red sauce had a bit of nip to it, and the black beans were just fine (not a big fan, but these were better than most). Oh, the margaritas...mmmmmmmmm!!! We just had the house version (and he floated some Patron on the second) but they were fantastic!! I'm now ashamed to admit how long I've lived here without eating here...I'll definitely be back soon!! The only bad thing is parking...not really sure where we're supposed to park, and it was a bitch to get out of the lot...but not bad enough to lower the rating. Again...mmmmmmmmm, margaritas!!! See More
Rita Ybarra
· January 6, 2018
Great place! Great food! Great Happy hour!! Nice thing is this place has actual parking out back.
Troy Rogers
· February 8, 2018
We came for the sign and the food was delicious, glad we stopped in, while in Austin today! We will be back!
Esther Iwabuchi
· February 13, 2018
I liked everything except scary restrooms outside...maybe because it was freezing cold but food was excellent and service was great, too!!!
John Suzanne David
· December 23, 2017
A decade ago or so the ditch was bought by someone who must have paid too much. The REAL DITCH has seafood enchiladas with cream cheese which made it a destination for us locals. So now (or at least t...he last time we cared to GAS and try (albeit after we and others had been asking WTF happened) the only thing they have going for them is this sign and it’s ‘funnies’ or happy birthday or whatever they can get someone to purchase and it’s location for most all entering downtown Austin.
New owners blew it big time...tuna fish, really?
NOPE, so many good restaurants, especially Mexican restaurants..this place is a BIG nasty tasting waste of money. Stupid choice new owners..wonder how many old locals you lost...especially those coming from WAYA to gather as a’s your “reworking of the recipes” to make them cheaper to make..we guess that’s why the margaritas are water, too, that have made your restaurant such a disappointment. This is not the ditch you remember...not in any sort of way. They are playing on another owners quality. All these owners have is a sign in a great location and many old college students memories. And that’s a big disappointment. WTG, ditch, you are obviously sinking slowly into it...not slowly enough for us, though. Go anywhere else.
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Randy Wallace
· February 1, 2017
I was there for a business function with about 25 people. It's probably a great spot for a very small party, but not for that many people. When we arrived they didn't have our reservation and we had t...o help the staff move tables together so that we could get everyone seated. We had one waitress for the entire group that just couldn't keep up with drink and food orders and we were the only customers in the entire restaurant. For every round of drinks, she walked around the entire table interrupting conversations to ask what we ordered. When the food came out she did the same thing and it took about 20 mins for everyone to sort out what was on her tray and what they had ordered. The food was cold and service was really bad. On the upside, it's got great atmosphere that's funky and cool, but in the food industry it's about a lot more than location and vibe. See More
Brianda Valdez
· May 5, 2017
After waiting for over 45 minutes with the waitress only coming by to give us water and the menus, she disappeared. Everyone that walked in after us got their drinks and some even got food and after s...tanding up to talk to a manager, they said for us to "give them a minute". Horrible service! See More
Samantha Alegnani
· September 25, 2017
I've always heard so much about this place, food was less than okay, even the margaritas were bad.
ABC News giving El Arroyo its due on national tv after the debate last night! Any good pundit knows that Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan and the Ditch are the go-to sources for quotes on political discourse!

Thanks to @i_am_more_or_less for this gem 😆 #ElArroyoSign #ElArroyoATX

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We kid. We’re just sick of the traffic 🤷‍♀️ #ElArroyoATX #ElArroyoSigns

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Isn't that the new one? #SXSW #ElArroyoATX #ElArroyoSign
In Austin for #SXSW? Be sure to stop by for a margarita and pick up a copy of the El Arroyo Big Book of Signs! Or order online here:

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