Looking for the best places to eat in Austin right now? Our curated list of new and essential restaurants will almost certainly have whatever you’re craving, from fall-off-the-bone barbecue to elevated Mexican eats and upscale sushi experiences. Eat up, y'all!
Pasta Bar Austin. Credit Chad Wadsworth.
NEW RESTAURANTS IN AUSTIN
From new concepts to plant-based cuisine and hip spots to sip wine and classic cocktails, Austin’s local food scene is keeping it fresh.
Sit at the marble counter for a chef’s tasting experience at Pasta|Bar, serving high-end small plates along with impeccable service in East Austin. The Italian-inspired bites here feature Texas flavors. Dishes may include truffles, bone marrow and ice cream drizzled with caviar in a menu that changes frequently. Reservations open the first day of the month for seating at the following month’s dinners.
Satisfy your seafood cravings with raw bar offerings, lobster rolls, seafood towers and more at Bill’s Oyster In the Second Street District. A daily happy hour features freshly shucked oysters sold individually. Or try Bill’s Burger, made from brisket short ribs. Classic cocktails such as a French martini, Pimm’s Cup or Salty Dog make the perfect accompaniment.
The husband-and-wife team of Chris and Roxie Nikolakos were inspired by family traditions to create Yamas Greek Kitchen and Bar, hoping diners will feel like guests instead of customers. Bright white walls, blue trim and an octopus mural set the scene in the Allandale restaurant. Feast on traditional Mediterranean dishes such as marouli salad with dill and feta, spanakopita, lemon potatoes, grilled octopus, and souvlaki made with chicken or filet mignon.
Join the troublemakers eating tacos and drinking cocktails at Double Trouble on East North Loop Boulevard. The delicious Vegan Nom tacos are full of flavor. Eat breakfast, lunch or dinner indoors or al fresco at a shaded picnic table. Try the Big Brunch Burrito or choose from an array of tacos featuring fillings such as avocado, jackfruit birria, Impossible meat, barbecued tempeh and vegan chicken. Order a side of chips and queso or house fries.
Goldy's. Courtesy of Goldy's and Cookie Rich.
Another breakfast and lunch option is offered at Littlefield’s. At Goldy’s takeout window, order freshly made, locally sourced fare such as a sausage-and-cheese biscuit, roasted chicken panini and pasta salad. Parents will appreciate the menu’s kids section featuring grilled cheese, hash browns, fruit cups and a chocolate fudge pocket. Enjoy the food and views at picnic tables in the shady, park-like setting.
The cuisine served at Fabrik is plant-based and sourced locally. Five- and seven-course tasting menus are curated seasonally at this intimate restaurant on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Many of the garnishes and greens are grown in Fabrik’s gardens. Dishes may include a salt-baked beet tartlette, parsnip cappelletti, Yakatori grilled oyster mushrooms and cashew cheesecake. Round out your meal with sake or kombucha.
The famed Barcelona neighborhood influenced chef Laila Bazahm’s Spanish fare at El Raval. The flavors of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia dominate the Lamar Boulevard restaurant’s menu. Creative dishes include fried almonds with summer truffle as a snack, bluefin tuna and prawn tartare, Texas-farmed Iberico pork steak, and several freshly prepared paellas. Pair the tapas offerings with wine or a cocktail.
Partners Claudia Lee and Richard Hargreaves opened Underdog Wine Bar and Store with the mission to serve great wine to complement the Korean food served as a tribute to Lee’s heritage. The food and wine change with the season at the First Street location. Try the foie gras maki rolls, peel-and-eat shrimp or roast pork belly. On your way out, pick up wine, flowers and take-home food items.
Drawing inspiration from Tel Aviv, Ezov offers wines from the Mediterranean and cocktails with bold flavors. Dishes remain true to the restaurant’s concept while also celebrating Texas. Seek out this East Cesar Chavez gem to try the halloumi, falafel, Texas Wagyu, chicken shawarma, and lamb and beef kofta. Sweet endings include Turkish coffee cake and baklava.
Nixta Taqueria. Credit Arts+Labor.
Essential Austin Restaurants
These tried-and-true favorites are some of the locals’ prime dining spots for barbecue, tacos and everything in between.
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew is a favorite neighborhood spot for savoring slow-smoked meats and cold craft beers. Try the brisket or Switch original sausage with a side such as corn casserole or the sweet serrano fried brussels sprouts. And be sure to try the homemade peach cobbler for dessert.
Intimate farm-to-table neighborhood restaurant Foreign & Domestic has held true to its “nose-to-tail” spirit and focus on local farms. The menu changes seasonally, so you can return over and over again for tasty, new delights.
Modern Mexican restaurant Comedor serves updated tacos and tostadas in a chic industrial interior. The bone marrow tacos are a must at this Austin Monthly 2019 Restaurant of the Year.
For a more casual Mexican meal, sample the house-made tortillas at Nixta Taqueria. The team here uses corn from Oaxaca to create their own masa daily in a bright, charming taco joint. Favorites include the duck carnitas tacos and yellowfin tuna tostada.
Interior Mexican spot El Naranjo also makes their own heirloom corn tortillas, but their menu is more traditional. Look for flavorful moles, rotating ceviches and chamorro with pork shank slow cooked in brine for 24 hours.
Ramen Tatsu-ya. Credit Jane Kim.
Get your ramen fix at Ramen Tatsu-ya. Their rich pork bone broth and chewy noodles introduced Austin to truly slurp-able “fancy” ramen. Customize your bowl with a bomb — a ball of extra spice and flavor — to make your soup just how you like it.
When you’re looking to splurge, head for award-winning sushi restaurant and longtime Austin favorite Uchi. This converted house on South Lamar serves perfect nigiri, plus appetizers like hot rock Wagyu beef and grilled branzino. Check the Toyosu menu for market-fresh specialty fish.
Critically and locally acclaimed Emmer & Rye highlights heirloom grains and in-house fermentation. Order from the daily menu, but save room for treats off the rolling cart that will make several stops at your table.
One of Emmer & Rye's sister concepts, Hestia, features a custom 20-foot hearth as the culinary centerpiece of their live-fire New American grill house. Halibut, king trumpet mushrooms and wagyu ribeye all get the open-flame treatment.
Elegant restaurant Olamaie puts a modern spin on Southern cuisine, adding a fresh twist to comfort food. Their flaky biscuits are so beloved, the owners gave them their own spin-off — Little Ola’s Biscuits. This casual shop serves sandwiches like fried chicken or pimento cheese on their legendary biscuits.
Via 313. Credit Stephanie Rogers.
Top Food Trucks, Tacos & BBQ
Try the spicy laab moo and papaya salad from Dee Dee Thai food truck. Via 313’s cheesy, square Detroit-style pizza is a local darling. Plant-based Mexican street food from Lick It Up has no meat but extra flavor. The Bearded Baking Company has savory desserts like a decadent three-layer chicken fried bacon gateau.
Authentic street tacos and fruit smoothies grace the menu at Veracruz All Natural. Eat breakfast, lunch or dinner from Tacodeli’s expansive taco menu. For wood-grilled chicken tacos, try Fresa’s Chicken Al Carbon. The al pastor taco at Vaquero Taquero is sweet, fresh and savory all at once.
Bring a chair for the line at Franklin Barbecue. The wait is worth it for their can’t-miss brisket. Try the smoked carnitas tacos or pork spare ribs at Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. LeRoy and Lewis specializes in unusual styles, like beef cheeks and Akaushi wagyu brisket. Austin landmark Sam’s Bar-B-Que serves old-school mutton ribs in East Austin.
Discover more dining options at visitaustin.org/food