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Our Favorite Places to Eat in Austin

The top spots around the city to enjoy delicious food.

Austin, Texas is not just the capital of Texas, it’s also the live music capital of the world. Apart from enormous music festivals like Austin City Limits and the city-wide music and film festival, SXSW, you can hear live music every day and night of the year. 

Whether you’re at a bar, restaurant, music venue, street corner, or even the airport, you’ll see a live musical performance. Austin’s temperate weather and hill country geography also make it one of the most active cities in Texas and beyond. Outdoor attractions abound, from the hike and bike trail on Lady Bird Lake to the city-wide Green Belt to Austin’s beloved Barton Springs Pool.

four friends enjoying burgers at a restaurant in Austin

Visitors to Austin will have a full itinerary of music shows, swimming hole hopping, and sunny bike rides around the city. All that activity will certainly work up an appetite, and Austin restaurants are happy to oblige.

When I recently searched for where to eat in Austin, I found an eclectic and unique array of restaurants that feature world-class fine dining to the typical Texas barbeque joint. Read on to explore my list of the best restaurants in Austin.  


Uchi

801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: 512-916-4808
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Meaning “house” in Japanese, Uchi is a fitting name for this world-class traditional Japanese restaurant located in an old South Austin house blocks away from Austin’s famous Zilker Park. Owner and James-Beard Award-winning executive chef Tyson Cole trained for over a decade in Tokyo, New York, and Austin to become one of the only American-born sushi masters in the world.

Uchi’s menu is vast, with every sashimi, sushi, soup, vegetable, and toyosu imaginable. You can order multiple dishes as they are all small portions. Often you begin a large order and continue ordering after the last plate has come. There is nothing on this menu that isn’t perfect. If you’re overwhelmed by the selection, you can always come with a group and order the Omakase tasting menu.


Franklin Barbecue

900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone: 512-653-1187
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If Barbeque were an art, Franklin Barbecue would be the grand opus. Owned and run by married couple Aaron and Stacy Franklin, Franklin Barbecue remains a small barbecue stand off the Texas Interstate 35in Austin’s East End. Franklin’s barbecued meats are so delicious that they sell out of it before noon on any given day. Some lines span multiple blocks starting at 8 am to buy this mouthwatering barbecue.

Franklin’s is famous for its smoked brisket and saucy pork ribs, but anything on the menu from this James Beard Award-winning Texas BBQ joint is life-changing. You order meat by the pound at the stand’s window along with classic sides like potato salad and coleslaw. They open at 11 am and sell out in a few hours, so come early and line up!  


Odd Duck

1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: 512-433-6521
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Located directly between the Zilker and Bouldin Creek neighborhoods of south Austin, Odd Duck is an innovative farm-to-table restaurant run by brothers Bryce and Dylan Gilmore. They use ingredients from only local farmers to create their ever-changing meat-centric menu. The restaurant is located inside an old Fleetwood Mallard trailer that the brothers purchased in Wisconsin and drove down to Austin.

The menu is a New American fusion of world flavors using ingredients sourced from local farms or the weekly Saturday farmer’s markets that the chef and owners are frequent. I recommend their aged pork loin with sweet potato curry, pear raita, jalapeno, bok choy, peanut, and mint.


Fonda San Miguel

2330 W N Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78756
Phone: 512-459-4121
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Fonda San Miguel is an upscale traditional Mexican food restaurant located inside a classic Hacienda-style compound in Austin’s Rosedale neighborhood. The hacienda is a beautiful stucco-stoned building with Mexican colonial detailing and an even more beautiful interior consisting of indoor dining rooms surrounding an enclosed patio replete with a giant water fountain.

Fonda San Miguel has one of the best Mexican brunch buffets in town, so I highly recommend it if you are looking for a hearty Sunday brunch. If you’re looking for an upscale traditional Mexican dinner, I recommend their queso fundido with chorizo and Swiss chard to share. For the main course, I recommend a traditional Yucatecan pork dish called Cochinita Pibil.


Veracruz All Natural

Multiple locations
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With six locations around Austin, Veracruz All Natural is a casual and trendy Mexican taco stand and outdoor eatery owned and operated by Mexican native sisters Maritza and Reyna Vazquez. In 2010, the sisters began making tacos out of the first trailer on Austin’s east side neighborhood off Cesar Chavez, gaining instant popularity and rapidly expanding taco trailers around town.

They make everything from scratch at Veracruz, including freshly fried tortilla chips and delectably spicy and tangy guacamole with cilantro and serrano peppers. My favorite tacos at Veracruz are the Shrimp Macha with butter-garlic shrimp, rice, salsa macha, and avocado, and the traditional taco al pastor with pork marinated with pineapple and spices served with cilantro and onion.   


Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

2713 E 2nd St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone: 512-803-2224
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Located in East Austin’s Holly neighborhood, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya is a Japanese Fusion restaurant named for the head chef and owner Tatsu Aikawa. They immigrated to the states from Japan, bringing with them authentic Japanese cooking techniques. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya offers a fusion of Texas and Japan both in the culinary sense and in the atmosphere. 

The atmosphere combines the traditional Japanese Izakaya or bar with a Texas-smokehouse. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya has an extensive wine, beer, cocktail, and sake list to accompany a slew of inventive small plates. I recommend the hot pocketz, brisket, smoked gouda stuffed tofu pockets, hippie bone marrow, smoked Italian eggplant with shishito dengaku, and toast points. 


Emmer & Rye

SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St UNIT 110, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-366-5530
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Emmer & Rye is a true farm-to-table restaurant with a menu that changes daily, supplied by local and seasonal produce with an on-site butchery station and in-house fermentation. Located on the cusp of downtown Austin and East Cesar Chavez, Emmer & Rye is an intimate, 12-course fine-dining experience.

Since the menu is a pre-fixe 12-course meal that changes every day, you’re in for a surprise. Dinner is a set price per persona, but you can also opt for their happy hour with a fixed per person small plates menu. They make bread and pasta from scratch on-site at Emmer & Rye. I loved their Abruzzi Rye Everything Brioche with smoked grouper, cream cheese, dill, and cucumber. 


Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

11500 Menchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78748
Phone: 512-221-4248
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Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ combines Texas’ two main culinary contributions to the world: Tex Mex and Barbecue. Located in South Austin’s Manchaca neighborhood in front of Austin Roller Rink, Valentina’s is a family-owned and operated Tex Mex and Barbeque trailer. They offer perfectly smoked Texas-style briskets and other meats with more Tex-Mex accompaniments like hand-made flour tortillas, avocado, and salsas.

The menu is divided into Tex and Mex versions of classic barbeque plates, sandwiches, and tacos. I recommend trying both the Texas-style chopped-brisket sandwich with pickles, chopped onions, and mesquite-smoked BBQ sauce as well as the smoked brisket taco with lime, guacamole, and tomato serrano salsa. I think you’ll have a hard time deciding which rendition of brisket tastes better. 


Launderette

2115 Holly St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone: 512-382-1599
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Located in East Austin’s Holly neighborhood, Launderette is a high-end neighborhood café and bistro, serving refined American food in a casual, bustling setting. Lunch, dinner, and cocktails are served seven days a week, along with an excellent boozy weekend brunch. Launderette is a small space meant for adult crowds seeking delicious craft cocktails and an intimate dining experience.

That said, they accommodate large groups by offering a prefix, family-style dinner menu. So if you’re going with a friend or significant other, Launderette has the perfect atmosphere for a date. I recommend their tortellini with shrimp and cod mousseline, corn pudding, confit tomato, crispy pancetta, and seafood brodo. 


Suerte

1800 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone: 512-953-0092
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Another East Austin favorite, Suerte, is a high-end, trendy Mexican food restaurant centered around one of Mexico’s key culinary foundations, masa. Run by Mexican native Head Chef Fermin Nunez, Suerte combines traditional Mexican recipes with local Texas ingredients in a beautifully designed dining space with an outdoor patio lined with giant agave plants.

Suerte’s innovative and perfectly executed Mexican fare has won recognition from Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, and the Eater, to name a few. I highly recommend trying one of their creative mezcal cocktails to enjoy with an appetizer of Morita chile refried lentils and yogurt with homemade chips. I also recommend the Tamal en Mole Blanco, a pine nut-almond tamal, with mole Blanco, goat queso fresco, hoja santa, and pineapple gremolata.


Dai Due

2406 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722
Phone: 512-524-0688
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Located in the Cherrywood neighborhood in Central Austin, Dai Due is a butcher shop and supper club offering the finest meats supplied by their on-site butcher shop. They strive to source all produce, cheese, and meat from local farmers and ranchers. They also strive to represent the regional flavors of Texas in their meat-heavy dishes.

Dai Due cooks and preserves ingredients using every technique, from dry-aging to smoking to fermentation. Their menu has a wide offering of wild Texas game. I recommend the dry-aged deer ceviche with apples, chilies, sweet potato, onion, and mint. Another unique dish is the wild boar confit with roasted butternut squash, chilies, herbs, crispy chickpeas, apple butter, and bone broth. 


Bufalina Due

6555 Burnet Rd #100, Austin, TX 78757
Phone: 512-215-8662
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Located in the family-friendly neighborhood of Allendale, Bufalina Due is an award-winning Italian wine bar and Neapolitan pizzeria. Owner Steven Dilley is one of Food & Wine’s Sommeliers of the year, and Bufalina’s happy hour was voted one of the “happiest” in Austin due to its one-of-a-kind natural wine list. 

While wine is the central focal point, Bufalina’s authentic wood-fired pizza is equally acclaimed. I recommend the Vodka Arrabiata pizza with vodka sauce, fontina, mozzarella, garlic, oregano, parmesan, chili flake, and black pepper with house-made sausage.


Home Slice Pizza

Multiple locations
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Home Slice Pizza is a New York-style pizzeria with the original location in the heart of Austin’s SOCO District and a second, more spacious location in the trendy Hyde Park neighborhood. Home Slice offers pizza by the slice from a walk-up window as well as a sit-down restaurant serving small plates, salads, and whole New York thin-crust and Sicilian deep-dish pies. If you’re looking for pizza in the city, this is the place to go!

Home Slice Pizza is as authentic as New York pizza gets its classic round pizza offering the most perfectly textured crispy yet chewy crust I’ve ever tasted. I recommend going with a crowd to sample both New York and Sicilian-style pizza. With the NY pizza, you can customize, but the thick-crusted square-shaped Sicilian comes in plain cheese or pepperoni only and sells out fast.


Bouldin Creek Cafe

1900 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: 512-416-1601
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Named for the South Austin neighborhood in which it is located, Bouldin Creek Café has been a neighborhood and hippie-friendly favorite for decades. Bouldin Creek Café is deeply rooted in serving the Austin community, offering tons of local discounts like getting 20% off meals if you present an Austin library card. Their menu is fully vegetarian with vegan options.

Bouldin Creek has a full espresso bar and has always been a favorite study spot for university students. They also have cocktails, beer, and wine. Breakfast is served all day at Bouldin, and you can make any vegetarian meal vegan. I went with their award-winning Veggie Royal, a scratch-made veggie burger on grilled ciabatta with lettuce, red onion, local tomatoes, jalapenos, and chipotle-pecan pesto.


Jeffrey’s

1204 W Lynn St, Austin, TX 78703
Phone: 512-477-5584
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Located in the quaint Clarksville neighborhood, Jefferies is a high-end, fine-dining steak house in an old, two-story Austin home. Jeffery’s specializes in French American cuisine and utilizes only the finest dry-aged Prime beef for their decadent steak menu. They also have an award-winning happy hour with the best cheese popovers and prime beef burger you’ll ever taste.

While the dry-aged prime wagyu burger is my top recommendation at Jeffery’s, they have a world-class steak and specialty seafood entrée menu if you’re looking for a more traditional steakhouse meal. I especially loved their Gulf snapper and lump crab en papillote with baby turnips, roasted trumpet mushrooms, and Thai basil and lemongrass-infused carrot broth.


Via 313

Multiple locations
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Via 313 started as an East 6th street Detroit-style pizza trailer, run by Detroit native brothers Brandon and Zane Hunt. The novelty of Detroit-style pizza, along with the high quality of its execution, soon rocketed Via 313 to the top of Austin’s favorite pizza spots. Now, they have three brick-and-mortar locations, along with three trailers in Austin’s hottest bar districts of Rainy and West 6th.

Detroit-style pizza is a square pan-pizza with no real outer crust but a thick, dense under-crust with a nice smokey char. While they serve thin-crust round pizza, their Detroit-style pizza made them famous. I recommend the Ambassador Bridge specialty pie with sausage, natural casing pepperoni, fresh garlic, Italian oregano, and house-made ricotta. 


Komé: Sushi Kitchen

5301 Airport Blvd #100, Austin, TX 78751
Phone: 512-712-5700
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Located in the North Loop neighborhood, Kome Sushi Kitchen is casual, yet refined sushi and family-style Japanese comfort food restaurant run by Japanese native couple Take and Kayo Asazu. Hailing from Osaka and Kobe, Take and Kayo started Kome to offer Americans authentic home-cooked Japanese meals to enjoy a family-style dining experience.

The prices at Kome are very reasonable for the quality of food served. One lesser-known Japanese comfort food favorite is fried chicken. They make unique variations of chicken wings like the Daruma Wings with miso paste and chili marinated chicken or their honey-chili glazed wings with sesame. IF you’re looking for an over-the-top sushi roll, I recommend the TX Surf-n-Turf with hanger steak, shrimp tempura, avocado, spinach, candied jalapeno, sesame seeds, and cilantro with green sauce and eel sauce.


Leroy And Lewis Barbecue

121 Pickle Rd, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: 512-945-9882
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Leroy And Lewis Barbeque is a trendy barbeque trailer located in South Austin’s famous Cosmic Café beer garden lot. Named for the head chef and director of operation duo Evan LeRoy and Sawyer Lewis, the barbeque trailer offers new and inventive barbeque creations using locally sourced meats.

You’ll find way more than just brisket, ribs, and sausage at Leroy And Lewis Barbecue. Take, for example, the Barbacado, a ½ an avocado topped with barbacoa, onions, queso fresco, cilantro, and jalapeno salsa served with potato bread. Their sides are some of the yummiest I’ve seen, including Texas Red Chili Frito Pie and Pork Hash and Rice, to name a few.


40 North

900 W 10th St, Austin, TX 78703
Phone: 512-660-5779
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Ironically located in Austin’s West End, 40 North is a neighborhood pizzeria and casual comfort food eatery specializing in Neapolitan pizza, sandwiches, and burgers. They’ve been voted some of the best pizza in Austin by the Austin American Statesman, Thrillist, and the Eater. Like many Austin favorites, 40 North started as a pizza trailer.

While their burgers are excellent, their specialty Neapolitan pizza is the star of the show, with amazingly inventive topping combinations. I recommend the summer elote, a Mexican-style pie with roasted summer corn, pecorino romano, garlic, house mozzarella, red onion, roasted tomatillo, chorizo, shishito pepper, Mexican crema, fresh oregano, and tajin. 


La Barbecue

2401 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone: 512-605-9696
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La Barbecue is another James Beard Award-winning famous Texas Barbeque joint, recently relocated from South Austin to the heart of East Austin’s Holly neighborhood. La Barbecue is a female-owned company, an admittedly rare occurrence in the Barbeque industry. Still, owner Leanne Mueller uses her father Bobby Mueller’s smoked meat recipes and techniques.

I recommend trying their deliciously spicy house-made chipotle of jalapeno sausages. If you want an overload of meat, I recommend the El Sancho Loco sausage, pulled pork, and chopped beef sandwich, topped with pickled red onions and served on a potato bun. 


The Peached Tortilla

5520 Burnet Rd #100, Austin, TX 78756
Phone: 512-330-4439
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Located between Allendale and Brentwood, The Peached Tortilla is a modern Asian comfort food restaurant that began as a food truck in 2010. The Peached Tortilla combines Southern comfort dishes with Asian ingredients and flavors in a contemporary, airy dining space with a full cocktail bar. 

The Peached Tortilla has nightly specials like Taco Tuesday, Ramen Night, and Chicken & Whiskey Wednesdays. I recommend the pork belly buns with Vietnamese braised pork belly, green onions, cucumbers, and Chinese BBQ sauce if you’re ordering from the regular dinner menu.


Clark’s Oyster Bar

1200 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703
Phone: 512-297-2525
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Located in the Clarksville neighborhood in a beautifully tiled dining space with a large outdoor patio, Clark’s Oyster Bar is a high-quality seafood and oyster bar. Not only is Clark’s an oyster bar, but they have a full espresso and cocktail bar. In addition, they have an excellent happy hour Monday through Friday from 3-5 pm with half-off martinis and burgers and discounts on their famous raw oyster plates.

Clark’s has over 15 raw oyster variations, along with a full cold and hot seafood menu. I recommend trying a shooter of raw oysters to start. Their cooked mussels and clams in white wine and herms with wood-charred sourdough are fresh and flavorful. 


Matt’s El Rancho

2613 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: 512-462-9333
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Established in 1952 in the old South Lamar neighborhood, Matt’s El Rancho is Austin’s oldest Tex-Mex restaurant. Founded by Mexican American couple Matt and Jannie Martinez, Matt’s El Rancho is an Austin establishment worldwide. Texas President Lyndon Johnson was a regular customer.

Matt’s El Rancho has a tortilla machine and corn grinder to make their delicious tortillas and chips. One thing you can expect at Matt’s El Rancho is delicious frozen margaritas with freshly squeezed lime juice and bottomless baskets of chips and creamy queso. I recommend trying a Tex Mex dinner plate, namely the No. 1 dinner with a beef taco, beef enchilada, and pork tamale covered in chili con queso and served with rice and refried beans. 


Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile

3235 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone: 512-366-5808
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Located in a beautiful ranch house building right along the Colorado River in Austin’s East Side, Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile is a family-owned and run ranch-style restaurant specializing in Texas rustic fare. The Jacoby family are multi-generational cattle, sheep, goat, and pig ranchers and use the meat raised on their farm to supply their menu.

The menu is meat and seafood-heavy with all the Texas south flavors. Delicious starters like devilled eggs with pickled vegetables, pimento cheese, and Texas Caviar, a bean onion, and pepper salad with avocados tossed in guajillo vinaigrette. To keep the Texas-them going, I recommend the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes. 


Fresa’s

Multiple locations
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With downtown and south Austin locations, Fresa’s is a casual Mexican food stand and dine-in restaurant specializing in Mexican-style wood-grilled chicken. They also have a full margarita and Mexican cocktail menu and traditional Mexican food favorites from every region.

Fresa’s top sellers are their whole chicken plates served with fresh corn tortillas, grilled onions, marinated jalapeno, black beans, salsa, and rice which are big enough to feed a family of four. They offer delicious Mexican beer cocktails known as Micheladas with authentic botanas or snacks like Mexican street corn with mayo, cotija cheese, chile, and tajin.


Contigo

2027 Anchor Ln, Austin, TX 78723
Phone: 512-614-2260
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Contigo is a casual ranch-to-table restaurant and bar in the Mueller neighborhood, designing the beautiful, mainly all-outdoor eating space after the owner’s family ranch. Their happy hour has great deals on cocktails, frozen margaritas, and local can and draft beers to enjoy with a country-style bar food menu. 

Contigo’s menu features refined new American dishes with contemporary flavors at accessible prices. I recommend starting with the charred avocado with kale Furikake, lime, cilantro, crema, and camp bread. I recommend the grilled Texas quail with Texas Caviar, herbs, and olive oil for the main dish.


Quality Seafood Market

5621 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 7875
Phone: 512-452-3820
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Quality Seafood Market is a fresh fish and seafood market and casual seafood eatery located in a giant old warehouse space in North Loop. The market started in 1938 as a single stall in the larger Starr’s Fruit and Vegetable market in front of the state capitol. Today they offer the freshest catches hauled from the Texas gulf coast.

Quality Seafood is a great spot for lunch, offering a wide array of different fresh fish and shellfish po’boys. My personal favorite is the fried gulf coast oyster po’boy. If you want a delicious Texas-sized seafood dinner, I recommend the Texas Gulf Black drum with andouille sausage, red beans and rice, and fried okra.


Barley Swine

6555 Burnet Rd #400, Austin, TX 78757
Phone: 512-394-8150
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Located in the Brentwood neighborhood, Barley Swine is a fine dining New American bistro under the leadership of Executive Chef Bryce Gilmore. Barley Swine offers a chef’s tasting menu that is market-driven and locally sourced, constantly changing according to the availability of ingredients.

Barley Swine is a very meat-centric restaurant that prepares beautifully presented meat and seafood dishes with Texas flavors. I loved their shishito pepper tamale with confit duck and shiitake mayo to start a super decadent multi-course meal.


Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille

114 W 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-474-6300
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Located in the historic Norwood Tower in downtown Austin, blocks away from the Capitol, Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille is a fine-dining traditional steakhouse and seafood restaurant in a grandiose multi-roomed dining space. Their beautiful space and exquisite meals have won them various awards such as Best Restaurant for a Date from Open Table and Best of the Best fine dining restaurants from the Austin American Statesman.

 I recommend trying their filet three ways featuring an 8 oz file sliced into three medallions and topped with three classic steak garnishes: Oscar-style with blue lump crabmeat, 3-peppercorn au Poivre, and Coffee crusted.


Red Ash

Colorado Tower, 303 Colorado St #200
Phone: 512-379-2906
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Located in the heart of downtown Austin, Red Ash is a wood-fired Italian kitchen owned by head Chef John Carver. The giant custom-made wood-burning grill is the restaurant’s focal point aesthetically and culinarily, with all prime meats and seafood dishes are artfully grilled. Red Ash’s menu takes inspiration from Northern and Southern Italy, making bread and pasta from scratch to accompany plancha grilled meats and vegetables.

Their delicious menu features a long list of Italian flavored grilled meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes, along with stellar pasta dishes. I recommend the Osso Buco Milanese with an extra thick cut of red wine marinated veal shank served with saffron risotto and lemon gremolata. 


The Capital Grille

117 W 4th St, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-322-2005
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Located in Downtown Austin’s Warehouse District, The Capital Grille is a fine-dining classic American Steakhouse that uses only the finest cuts of USDA Prime steaks that have been dry-aged onsite for 18-24 days. Their extensive wine list has wines from every region in the world, and their highly knowledgeable staff create a special dining experience.

The Capital Grille’s menu offers numerous cuts of dry-aged steak along with fresh seafood platters and delicious shareable appetizers. I recommend their pan-fried calamari with hot cherry peppers to start. Their signature steak is the porcini rubbed bone-in ribeye drizzled with 15-year aged balsamic. 


Moonshine Grill

303 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-236-9599
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Located in downtown Austin, Moonshine Grill is a contemporary take on an old bootleg saloon, serving southern American comfort food in a comfortable, casual, old-school atmosphere. Moonshine Grill strives to take patrons back in time with its wide array of moonshine-inspired cocktails with names like Southern Belle and Blind Mule.

Apart from excellent craft cocktails, the southern comfort dinner and brunch menu at Moonshine Grill is stellar. I cannot recommend their pretzels and pimento starters enough, and they make a creative green chile macaroni and cheese with grilled chicken, corn bisque, and bacon gratin.


Jack Allen’s Kitchen Oak Hill

7720 State Hwy 71 West, Austin, TX 78735
Phone: 512-852-8558
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Jack Allen’s Kitchen is a Texas-style casual and family-friendly southern bar and grill with locations in the Oak Hill neighborhood, 360, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Anderson Lane neighborhoods. The motto at Jack Allen’s is “local in source, Texan in spirit” to express Owner Jack Allen Gilmore’s intention to serve locally sourced ingredients prepared with southern and southwestern flavors.

They offer lunch and dinner along with amazing weekend brunches. I recommend coming for a weekend brunch with family and friends to sample a delicious brunch cocktail. Their over-the-top French toast is made with fresh Challah stuffed with mascarpone soaked in a TX whiskey and local honey glaze topped with berry compote and Mexican vanilla whipped cream.


Justine’s

4710 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone: 512-385-2900
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Located in the heart of East Austin’s Govalle neighborhood, Justine’s is a French bistro and thematic restaurant situated on a huge plot of land. The bar and kitchen lie inside an old-timey Austin home, but the property has giant patio areas, verandas, fire pits, and weird art installations that make Justine’s a one-of-a-kind experience. 

The food at Justine’s is classic French cuisine, offering a slew of cheese and charcuterie boards to start. I recommend their Escargot with garlic herb butter to start and their wood-fired Steak Frites with Roquefort for the main dish.  


LE Meals

4305 Red River St, Austin, TX 78751
Phone: 512-736-9174
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LE Meals is a Gullah-Geechee and Creole fusion kitchen, reflecting head chef and owner Alexandria Hollowel’s cultural heritage. LE Meals is a delivery-only meal service that comes straight from their Hyde Park kitchen.

I recommend trying both Gullah Geechee fare and classic NOLA creole. I loved the traditional Gullah Geechee okra stew with tomatoes and jumbo lump crabmeat. For a NOLA classic, I recommend the shrimp and grits made with organic creamy grits smothered in creole shrimp sauce with sauteed shrimp and andouille sausage.


LENOIR

1807 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: 512-215-9778
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Located in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood of South Austin, LENOIR is a new American farm-to-table restaurant owned and run by Texas native couple Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher. They met in New York City as culinary students and aspiring restaurateurs. Lenoir supports the local culinary community by sourcing exclusively from local farmers and purveyors to create a seasonal menu.

In accordance with Texas climates, chefs describe the menu at Lenoir as “hot weather food,” full of spicy, brothy, citrusy, and tangy ingredients. I recommend starting with the house-made Pullman bread with smoked jalapeno pimento cheese for a true taste of Texas. 


Salty Sow

1917 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722
Phone: 512-391-2337
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Salty Sow is an intimate and high-end American gastropub specializing in pork-centered meals. All ingredients at the Salty Sow are mindfully sourced from local farmers, and all craft cocktails are expertly mixed. Salty Sow is a rustic-contemporary pub offering sophisticated food in a cozy environment.

Their menu offers a slew of refined yet super decadent bar food items like triple fried duck fat fries topped with a 110-minute egg. Since Sow is in the name, I recommend the candied pork belly with collard greens and soy balsamic syrup.  


The Carillon

1900 University Ave, Austin, TX 78705
Phone: 512-404-3655
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Located within the University of Texas’ enormous campus, The Carillon is a high-end New American bistro with a cozy yet elegant atmosphere and fine-dining service. Chefs at The Carillon create innovative dishes using the freshest ingredients, but the real draw to the food is its exquisite presentation.

The Carillon serves only breakfast and lunch. While breakfast is usually a lavish buffet with a small selection of a la carte plates, the lunch menu changes daily. I loved their Achiote chicken with grilled pineapple relish with a side of roasted fingerling potatoes.


Terry Black’s Barbecue

1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: 512-394-5899
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Located right across the road from Austin’s famous Auditorium Shores Park and event center, Terry Black’s Barbecue is a family-owned and classic Texas barbecue joint. Owner Terry Black and his twin sons Mark and Michael hail from Lockhart, Texas, a town known for its incredible barbecue.

The Black family saves you the hour-long trip to Lockhart by bringing its famous Barbecue to Austin. You can order family packs with multiple pounds of different smoked meats, ribs, and sausages with your choice of various sides, which is the best way to sample every variety of meat.


Eddie V’s Prime Seafood 

Multiple locations
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Eddie V’s Prime Seafood is an upscale, modern steak and seafood restaurant and cocktail bar located in the heart of downtown Austin. Eddie V’s multi-room dining space features a massive wine cellar and a cocktail lounge with live music playing most nights of the week. 

Eddie V’s menu features a sommelier-curated wine list with a wide array of foreign and domestic bottles along with expertly poured craft cocktails. I recommend their impressive shellfish tower with Maine lobster, shrimp, crab, and oysters to begin your decadent steakhouse meal.


Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood & Crab

Multiple locations
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Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood & Crab is a fine-dining seafood restaurant located in Downton Austin’s Warehouse district and North Austin’s Great Hills Arboretum outdoor shopping mall. Truluck’s is a special, fancy dining establishment with a strict coat and tie dress code, so it’s an excellent choice for a special occasion meal.

 I recommend starting with their crab dip taramasalata, a mix of olive tapenade and blue lump crab. They make a deliciously chunky lobster bisque topped with horseradish goat cheese, and their colossal pan-seared New England Sea Scallops with parmesan mashed potatoes and piccata sauce was utter perfection. 


Cypress Grill

4404 W William Cannon Dr, Austin, TX 78749
Phone: 512-358-7474
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Cypress Grill is a New Orleans-style southern comfort restaurant in the Sunset Valley neighborhood of Austin. Cypress Grill is a family-friendly establishment that serves sinfully rich Louisiana favorites with service that perfectly fits the southern charm.

Whether you’re looking for crawfish etouffee or Jambalaya, Cypress Grill has all the Cajun, and Creole favorites served in Texas-sized portions. I went for the Atchafalaya Catfish filet blackened and smothered with crawfish etouffee over dirty rice with mustard greens.


Stella San Jac

310 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-792-5648
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Located in the trendy Young-professional neighborhood of East Sixth, Stella San Jac is an upscale gourmet American Food bistro in a beautiful dining room. The contemporary yet cozy dining room has an open kitchen and bar along with blush green booths, leather chairs, and a slew of interesting lighting fixtures hanging from a slatted ceiling.

The atmosphere and dining experience are as amazing as the food is delicious, and their motto is “come for the food, but stay for the experience.” The refined gourmet menu offers delicious and sophisticated food at half the price of a fancy steakhouse. I recommend the beef short ribs with sweet potato mash and green apple slaw. 


III Forks

111 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-474-1776
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Located right off the Butler Hike and Bike Trail in Downtown Austin, III Forks is a fine dining steakhouse with a large, classy dining room and sophisticated bar and piano lounge. Guests are invited to make a night of it at II Forks, starting with craft cocktails in the piano lounge to enjoy live music before retiring to the dining room to savor a traditional multi-course steak dinner.

III Forks uses only the finest USDA Prime steak in their beautifully presented dishes. I recommend starting with the creole crab cakes in beurre blanc followed by the 42-day aged prime Angus Ribeye with fresh asparagus and lobster mac and cheese. 


Lonesome Dove Austin

419 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-271-2474
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Lonesome Dove Austin is an urban western bistro in downtown Austin owned and run by executive Chef Tim Love. Chef Love cooks western cuisine with a contemporary Austin-inspired twist, using local ingredients to flavor Western exotic game dishes. 

Lonesome Dove Austin is a great place for adventurous eaters to try rare entrees like rattlesnake, rabbit sausage, or elk steaks. Dinner is a multi-course meal, with wild game as the centerpiece. I recommend the rabbit ravioli with jalapeno-foie gras sausage in smoked gouda alfredo sauce.  


True Food Kitchen

222 West Ave Ste HR100, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-777-2430
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Located in downtown Austin’s Seaholm District, a block from the beautiful downtown Austin Public Library, True Food Kitchen is a health-conscious and fit-friendly New American bar and grill. They use seasonal and local produce and suppliers to create a nutritious and delicious selection of juices, cocktails, salads, bowls, flatbread pizzas, and much more.

In accordance with their mission to provide healthy meals for every dietary preference, you can customize any meal to be vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. I recommend one of their colorful grain bowls. I had the Spicy Panang Curry bowl with forbidden rice, sweet potato, broccolini, green bean, carrot, roasted brussels sprouts, onion, basil, and mint in a Thai shellfish curry broth.


Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Multiple locations
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With locations in the trendy SOCO District, the East Side, and multiple locations in North Austin, Hopdoddy Burger Bar is a super hip burger bar serving the highest quality beef burgers and craft beers in town. There are consistently lines out the door at any given location with loyal patrons waiting hours for these incredible burgers and the fun, hipster bar atmosphere in which to enjoy them.

Their selection of burgers is unlike any other burger bar I’ve ever seen, with multiple types of beef, bison, chicken, tuna and even vegan burgers that are combined with scratch-made condiments and grilled veggies. They also have some pretty outrageous milkshakes that you can make alcoholic. I had a Nutella pretzel milkshake with the classic burger and can’t wait to go back to try every mouthwatering burger on the menu. 


Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

117 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-474-4877
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Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is a downtown Austin favorite, offering the crispiest battered and fried chicken with a Texas kick to it. Owner Vernon “Gus” Bonner uses his parents’ award-winning southern fried chicken recipe that they sold for over 40 years in their home state of Tennessee.

You can specify the type of chicken you’d like, whether it’s white breast or dark meat drumsticks, all of which are fried to order. They also have a great list of southern sides like fried okra, mac n cheese, and baked beans, to name a few. They also have fried pickles and fried green tomatoes for appetizers that use the same family-recipe fry batter as their delectable chicken.


Bird Bird Biscuit

2701 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722
Phone: 512-761-4922
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Located in the Chestnut neighborhood of East Austin, Bird Bird Biscuit is a southern comfort food restaurant specializing in biscuits and fried chicken. Owners and long-time friends Ryan McElroy and Brian Batch had a long history working together in the food industry, namely as owner and barista of Austin’s beloved Thunderbird coffee house.

Whether you want a couple of perfectly fluffy biscuits and jam or a hearty biscuit sandwich, Bird Bird Biscuit has an enticing menu that revolves around their incredible biscuits. They even have vegetarian biscuit sandwiches. I recommend the Queen Beak biscuit sandwich with spiced, breaded chicken breast, cayenne, black pepper honey, and bacon-infused chipotle mayo.


ATX Cocina

110 San Antonio St #170, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-263-2322
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Located in the heart of downtown Austin with great views of Ladybird lake and the hike and bike trail, ATX Cocina is a Mexican food restaurant serving elevated versions of traditional Mexican dishes. Every dish revolves around corn imported from small farms in Mexico and “nixtamalize” or processed in the traditional Mexican way on site. 

ATX Cocina is a beautiful space with a full cocktail bar that assumes the same equitable sourcing as their food menu, with delicious hand-shaken margaritas, fresh fruit juices, and high-quality tequilas and mezcal. I recommend starting with the huaraches, corn masa boats topped with oyster mushroom, squash blossom, cashew macha crema, smoked beans, avocado, and queso fresco. The entrees are a high-end mix of steak or seafood plates using traditional Mexican preparations and flavors.


Best Restaurants in Austin

  1. Uchi
  2. Franklin Barbecue
  3. Odd Duck
  4. Fonda San Miguel
  5. Veracruz All Natural
  6. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya
  7. Emmer & Rye
  8. Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
  9. Launderette
  10. Suerte
  11. Dai Due
  12. Bufalina Due
  13. Home Slice Pizza
  14. Bouldin Creek Cafe
  15. Jeffrey’s
  16. Via 313
  17. Komé: Sushi Kitchen
  18. Leroy And Lewis Barbecue
  19. 40 North
  20. La Barbecue
  21. The Peached Tortilla
  22. Clark’s Oyster Bar
  23. Matt’s El Rancho
  24. Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile
  25. Fresa’s
  26. Contigo
  27. Quality Seafood Market
  28. Barley Swine
  29. Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille
  30. Red Ash
  31. The Capital Grille
  32. Moonshine Grill
  33. Jack Allen’s Kitchen Oak Hill
  34. Justine’s
  35. LE Meals
  36. LENOIR
  37. Salty Sow
  38. The Carillon
  39. Terry Black’s Barbecue
  40. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood 
  41. Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood & Crab
  42. Cypress Grill
  43. Stella San Jac
  44. III Forks
  45. Lonesome Dove Austin
  46. True Food Kitchen
  47. Hopdoddy Burger Bar
  48. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
  49. Bird Bird Biscuit
  50. ATX Cocina

Final Thoughts

Austin’s restaurants are as authentic and creative as its music scene, with every imaginable dining experience and unique cuisine combinations. So whether you’re looking for award-winning barbeque, tasty Tex Mex, or a fancy steakhouse, my list of the best restaurants in Austin has an excellent choice for any dining preference or food craving.

Did we leave anything out? Leave us a comment and tell us what we missed!

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Written by Erin B.

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.