Café Nenai: Austin’s First South American Bakery

I was on my way to a yoga class last week when I realized I had a few extra minutes on my hands… “Hmm, where can I go that I’ve been meaning to check off my list?”

Cafe Nena’i, an adorable south American bakery near East Riverside, has been on my radar for a while. It started with our sound guy at church asking me if I’d been. (When people find out I’m a food blogger, they’re quick to offer their recommendations and favorites, which I love.) The next month I saw an article about it in Austin Monthly’s “Top Restaurants” edition. And then I heard basically every one of my Austin food blogger friends mentioning it: Have you been to Cafe Nena’i yet?

So I ducked into the shop for a quick breakfast before heading to my weekly vinyasa class.

Here are the details:

  • It was opened by a mama and daughter. The mom does all the cooking, and the daughter handles social media/publicity/business. Dream team!
  • It’s small, so plan on either getting your empanadas to go, or enjoying them at a counter top on a stool. It’s not really a stay-for-hours-and-work sort of coffee shop vibe.
  • Pastries galore! Many are names I hadn’t heard of before.
  • In addition to the sweet pastries, there are also empanadas and sandwiches, so you could totally go here for lunch.

TRY THIS -> the bollos are guava or dulce de leche filled donuts.

I grabbed an off-menu item that Elena (the chef) recommended: an empanada stuffed with guava and cheese. It was a fun alternative to the typical savory empanadas I’ve tried, and the homemade crust was flaky and soft.

Off-menu items are often times most fun, don’t you thinK?

TRY THIS -> the “alfajor” is a crunchy, sweet cookie sandwiching a thick smear of dulce de leche, rolled in coconut flakes.

The gooey, caramel-y dulce de leche filling oozed out with each bite of the crunchy cookies. This is absolutely one of those sweets I’ll be craving at the most random times of day. (You know what I mean? When, oddly, a craving for something very specific comes at 10:30 at night?)

I filled my tummy with these treats then got back in the car to dutifully go to my yoga class. By the way: yoga isn’t as easy when your belly is full of delicious south American pastries…

Word for the wise.

Cafe Nena’i

1700 Montopolis Dr. Suite A, Austin,Texas 78741

Open Tue-Sun (Closed Mondays)







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terra @
6 years ago

I feel like guava is a flavor we don’t get nearly enough and I freakin’ love it!

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