Years before Magnolia Avenue made the list of “Great Places in America,” it had a great little restaurant named Lili’s Bistro.
After 11 years, Lili’s still comes up with surprises — such as this year’s addition of a patio deck.
Lili’s began in a narrow dining space formerly occupied by a seafood restaurant. The two primary attractions were (1) the century-old wall sign advertising Mrs Baird’s Bread and (2) the juicy house cheeseburger on a jalapeno bun.
Over the years, Lili’s has added more space and more seafood.
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The menu now offers cioppino-style ragout served atop pappardelle, chipotle-butter shrimp, Thai chili salmon and platters such as coconut-macadamia flounder, coffee-crusted salmon and crab-stuffed tilapia.
Sure, there’s also a chili-cumin-crusted rib-eye and veggie dishes such as a quinoa-stuffed roasted poblano.
The former house band at long-ago Sardines, the Johnny Case Trio, plays Saturdays in the bar.
And if you step outside the east door, you’ll find Lili’s comfy deck, the Lilipad.
It’s a good covered, shady perch for watching the crowds walking along Magnolia, or the night owls across the street guzzling Avoca coffee.