Austin

Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon

Jul 25, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Thumbs up for the incredibly moist charcoal-grilled local fowl (ours was seasoned in achiote and citrus). Double thumbs up for the fabulous homemade corn tortillas and the spicy salsas (tomato-serrano and jalapeño-garlic). We also love the whole jalapeño roasted in soy sauce (shades of South Texas). And be sure to…

Native Bar & Kitchen

Jul 21, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Just east of I-35, this two-sided space can take you from coffee to cocktails and back again. The hipster quotient is high, but that’s to be expected, as this funky eatery is attached to a stylish youth hostel. Elaborate woodwork and brick and rock walls set a rustic stage for the…

Dai Due

Jul 20, 2017 By Texas Monthly

“Everything is from around here” the menu modestly announces. But even if it didn’t, you’d likely get the picture. A tray of recently harvested heirloom tomatoes sits on the counter, waiting to be chopped up; scattered with venison machacado, bright green (hot!) chiles, and cotija cheese; and bathed…

Velvet Taco

Jul 20, 2017 By Texas Monthly

This Dallas transplant fits right in to the shiny new northern extension of the Domain, taking the counter-service taco to a new level (that includes decibel level, thanks to the the thumping beat of the sound system). Tacos al pastor with shredded pork, pineapple, and pickled onion were our most…

Tiny Boxwoods

Jul 19, 2017 By Texas Monthly

This breezy,well-manicured Houston import, dressed in white with blue accents, is aimed at the ladies who lunch (though for now it’s more like the ladies who sup). Hard wood surfaces amplified sound, but we did our best to converse while noshing on a French-inspired board of freshly baked country bread…

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille

Jun 22, 2017 By Texas Monthly

On the ground floor of the wedding cake building that is the historic Norwood Tower, this plush steakhouse primarily sates the carnivorous appetites of the legislative lobby. But when the lawmakers and their entourages have departed the city limits, come sample life where more is more. The bar area is…

Barlata

Jun 21, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Sitting at the beautiful slab of wood that is the bar with a friend, drinking sangria and nibbling swarthy morcilla sausage, you recognize the advantage of having an entire meal on plates the size of saucers. The small dishes are easily bartered for samples from the plates of the new…

Picnik

Jun 21, 2017 By Texas Monthly

All restaurants have a goal: feed their patrons well. Picnik, in a white, airy, light-filled space, has a mission as well: improve its patrons’ nutrition. The restaurant’s founder, Naomi Seifter, ardently believes that processed foods and grains are bad for you whereas vegetables, fruits, meats, fowl, and fish are good.

J.T. Youngblood’s Texas Chicken

May 22, 2017 By Texas Monthly

In the fifties, the hugely successful fried-chicken chain Youngblood’s waltzed across Texas, resulting in lines out the door. It closed after an unsuccessful attempt to expand nationwide, but now three business partners—chef Todd Duplechan of Lenoir, restaurateur Jeffrey Weinberger of Jeffrey’s fame, and former Trio at the Four Seasons manager…

Poke-Poke

May 22, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Not all of us are grousing about the Californication of Austin, especially if it brings us deliciousness in the form of the raw fish salad known as poke. This Hawaiian food became a trend in Venice Beach, the original location of Poke-Poke, and Austin is the first outpost away from…

LeRoy & Lewis

May 22, 2017 By Texas Monthly

The siren call of smoked meat brings young parents with ebullient toddlers, seniors with winsome dogs, and pretty much every age in between to trailers scattered in empty lots throughout the city. This one, helmed by Evan LeRoy, the former pitmaster at Freedmen’s, is definitely attracting the Instagrammers, who snap…

My Name Is Joe

Apr 5, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Back in the eighties, downtown executives had so-called power breakfasts and lunches in high-rise buildings. They still do, of course, but My Name Is Joe has an Austin state of mind. It’s an Airstream serving coffee and morning-type food that you eat at a picnic table while checking your email.

Mattie’s

Apr 5, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Carefully recrafted in a sleek yet stately way, the former Green Pastures is now Mattie’s, a delightful update of that old-Austin icon. Inspired by the playful cocktail menu, we settled on sparkling wine and a porch-perfect bourbon iced tea. It’s a toss-up as to which we liked better: the extra-sharp…

Oakwood BBQ

Apr 5, 2017 By Texas Monthly

This three-month-old barbecue joint in far north Austin is nothing if not appropriately named. The closest residential street is Oakwood Drive. Huge oak trees shade the outdoor pits and patio. Oak slats cover the walls—indoor and out—and oak is used for just about every piece of furniture in the place.

Asti

Apr 4, 2017 By Texas Monthly

When you’re hoping for a low-key night on the town, it’s great to know you can always rely on neighborhood favorites like Asti. Greeted with little toasts topped with fresh kale pesto and cherry tomatoes, we settled on a delicious salad of raw and fried brussels sprouts and seasonal…

Second Bar + Kitchen

Mar 29, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Things continue to add up nicely at this busy downtown intersection, where a thoughtful beverage director pulls both wine and Texas brews straight from the tap and the food takes cues from all over the globe. The menu, with a couple of new choices, still retains the superlative burger, and…

Old Thousand

Feb 3, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Inspired by the wild-card tile in mahjong, this neighborhood eatery connects on a lot of levels. Want a gin joint that slings up saucily named cocktails like a Fo’Shizi (shizi is Chinese for “persimmon”)? This is the spot. Under the watchful gaze of a crown-bedecked panda bear, a talented crew…

Street

Feb 3, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Ronald Cheng finally took over the space below his Chinatown location in Northwest Hills (formerly Musashino) and put in a casual spot for Asian street food. The food is everything we want to nibble on while drinking with friends: chile-flecked edamame, soup dumplings in little tins that make them easier…

Grizzelda’s

Feb 3, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Splashes of pink and green amid white stone tabletops and blond wood evoke a Mexican coastal retreat, which seems to be exactly what the team behind Jacoby’s was going for. Capitalizing on Austin’s never-ending appetite for any meal that starts with chips and salsa, this place serves tacos and ceviches…

East Side Tavern

Feb 3, 2017 By Texas Monthly

This is apparently what the young and hip are looking for in a city barbecue joint: a rustic-industrial space with both craft cocktails and a serious pit. With meat prices that equal and exceed those of Franklin and La Barbecue, is it worth it? On the Top Dog (a.k.a. the…

DeSano Pizza Bakery

Jan 27, 2017 By Texas Monthly

Mountains of 00 flour bags and towers of industrial-size cans of San Marzano tomatoes would be kitschy somewhere else but somehow work here. Perhaps because the Austin outpost of this small chain really does feel like a bakery, a bright, humming operation where white-clad pizzaiolos tame 6,000-pound wood-fired ovens. Grab…

Ah Sing Den

Dec 6, 2016 By Texas Monthly

The former East Side Show Room is now a swanky but comfortable lounge named for Ah Sing, whose own establishment allegedly purveyed opium to the literary lights of Victorian London. Alas, only “tipples and morsels” are offered in this sumptuous brick-lined space decked out in Chinese lanterns and gorgeous pastel…

Eberly

Nov 8, 2016 By Texas Monthly

This showstopper of a dining room and bar honors Angelina Eberly, the brave woman who shot a cannonball into the night to warn her fellow Austinites that Sam Houston’s minions were making off with the archives of the Republic of Texas, thereby moving the nascent state capital to Houston. Given…

68 Degrees

Oct 4, 2016 By Texas Monthly

A welcome addition to the Lake Austin Boulevard side of the river, 68 Degrees is a cozy neighborhood spot from the sister duo of Joan (of Santa Fe’s Andiamo) and Marion Gillcrist (owner of well-regarded La Traviata, in downtown Austin). Appropriately, the menu reflects both places. We started with crisp…

Second Bar + Kitchen [Domain Northside]

Oct 4, 2016 By Texas Monthly

The open dining room in the new Archer Hotel, with its window walls and sky-high ceiling, is far more than Second’s second location. For one thing, it offers a compelling breakfast menu, in which even a simple fruit plate becomes an artistic statement. Ours arrived with charred berries and pineapple,…

Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon

Oct 4, 2016 By Texas Monthly

Located in Freddie’s old location, the new Fresa’s is a larger, table-service version of the original drive-through. It’s bright, colorful, and just plain fun, from the watermelon agua fresca to the house-made vanilla ice cream with a sugar cookie. Among our favorites were the huitlacoche quesadillas on blue corn tortillas…

Coast

Oct 4, 2016 By Texas Monthly

A tiny neighborhood restaurant for hip urban dwellers, Coast has colonized Mulberry’s former digs, lightening up the space with blue watercolors of waves painted on its tall white walls. The succinct menu emphasizes seafood, but there’s also a New York strip with smashed fingerling potatoes to satisfy Dad types. If…

Tacodeli

Sep 30, 2016 By Texas Monthly

The place where it all started, the original location on Spyglass, has been spiffed up with new tables and a more logical layout (which somehow makes it feel bigger). It’s arguably now the premier Austin Tacodeli location for chilling under the trees on a weekend morning, as bed-headed couples roll…

Walton’s Fancy and Staple

Sep 26, 2016 By Texas Monthly

Life is sweet at this little downtown eatery, flower shop, and bakery. A whimsical yesterday is evoked by wire egg baskets and faded advertisements on the exposed brick walls, but today’s culinary trends are acknowledged in details like cute cactus-shaped macarons. The Freebird, a pressed sandwich, unites grilled chicken breast,…

Snooze

Sep 12, 2016 By Texas Monthly

No one ever went broke overestimating Texans’ appetite for huevos rancheros and eggs Benedict.

Cane Rosso

Sep 12, 2016 By Texas Monthly

All the rage in Dallas, this hip pizzeria just slid into the St. Philip spot in South Austin. The staff is friendly and happy to explain the Cane Rosso way, which is Neapolitan-style thin crust with fresh ingredients. However, the crust was not just soft, it was doughy—i.e., not cooked…

June’s

Sep 8, 2016 By Texas Monthly

With small round tables, gilt accents, and a broad, L-shaped bar, June’s is like an old-fashioned French bistro but with a vintage jukebox playing eclectic pop tunes. Named for June Rodil, the sommelier who oversees the beverage program at this and all of Larry McGuire’s restaurants, the venue offers tasty…

Wu Chow

Jul 27, 2016 By Texas Monthly

The crowds have been streaming in ever since the folks behind Swift’s Attic opened this Chinese eatery. Make a reservation, even on a quiet night, to avoid being shuttled to the empty bar by the young and a little unseasoned staff. The food’s traditional interpretation is surprising, given the subtle…

La Traviata

Jul 26, 2016 By Texas Monthly

Drawing a steady crowd for lunch and dinner, La Traviata has all the trappings of a neighborhood bistro. And while it may not be one of the shiny new downtown spots, the friendly service and warm atmosphere make you feel at home. From our window-side table, we enjoyed a simple…

Musashino

Jul 25, 2016 By Texas Monthly

There were palpable withdrawal symptoms among longtime devotees of this fresh-fish temple when the restaurant, housed for decades below Chinatown in a somewhat awkward configuration, shuttered for a few months to move toward West Campus. It appears that the crew moved everything into the spot that formerly housed Fino and…

Cover 3

Jul 25, 2016 By Texas Monthly

When Cover 3’s north location opened several years ago, its menu far exceeded what was required even for an upscale sports bar. Since then it has become a solid neighborhood destination, with the likes of ahi tuna with udon noodles and snap pea salad, calamari with fried artichokes, jerk shrimp…

Irene’s

Jun 8, 2016 By Texas Monthly

Boy, this place has got Austin’s number. Which is not surprising, considering it’s the latest venture from the same empire that birthed Easy Tiger and Italic. Inside the smartly designed cafe/saloon or out back under the towering pecan trees, romper-clad young women and blue-shirted bros (this place is just steps…

Vinaigrette

May 24, 2016 By Texas Monthly

The build-out of the former Tree House Italian Grill is as fresh as the leafy comestibles that make up the bulk of the menu; blond-wood tables anchored by bright red chairs, vaulted white ceilings, and, best of all, a wall of windows framing the giant oak tree on the patio.

Otoko

Apr 5, 2016 By Texas Monthly

Head chef Yoshi Okai is now the ringmaster at Otoko, while celebrated executive chef Paul Qui completes drug rehab following being arrested for assault, a charge he denies. Live and in person most nights, Yoshi helped design the breathlessly anticipated 20-course tasting menu, served at a 12-person counter in an…

L’Estelle House

Apr 5, 2016 By Texas Monthly

This small courtyard stop adjacent to the Drafting Room may just be the best-kept secret on Rainey. Simple tables line the pebbled courtyard for perfect al fresco dining. Guests need simply walk up to the sliding glass window at the front and place their order. If it’s early—and during brunch…

Clark’s Oyster Bar

Apr 4, 2016 By Texas Monthly

There’s always a cheerful buzz at this stylish neighborhood spot. After devouring a few briny favorites on the half shell, we savored a Texas-size wedge salad with thick-cut bacon and savory blue cheese. Sadly, the dressing was a little heavy-handed; same with the New England–style lobster roll, which was chock-full…

Nightcap

Mar 9, 2016 By Texas Monthly

The exterior of this vintage cottage has been painted a deep aubergine; inside, it’s sleekly updated. While the name suggests late-night desserts and cocktails, don’t overlook the rest of the menu. Silken sweet-potato bisque was vibrantly spiced with Thai curry and red pepper. Seared salmon, though a bit too done,…

Bufalina Due

Mar 9, 2016 By Texas Monthly

Newly fashionable NoBu scored the second location of this East Austin favorite; the cinder block and concrete space is almost stark, the decor limited to stacks of cardboard pizza boxes, orderly rows of wine bottles and glasses, and simple wood tables packed with your fellow diners (many of them pint-size).

Central Standard

Feb 9, 2016 By Texas Monthly

This South Congress Hotel eatery scores big for atmosphere, with tall ceilings, hypnotic teal-colored tiles, and gilded accents. Crisp uni-butter toast whetted our appetites for a lively wedge salad with candied kumquats and blue cheese and heavenly grilled lamb kebabs in a creamy dill sauce with garlicky braised garbanzo beans.

Chez Nous

Jan 21, 2016 By Texas Monthly

A fixture in the ever-changing landscape of Dirty Sixth, Chez Nous has seen countless businesses come and go while resolutely staying exactly the same (popcorn ceiling, potted ivies, posters of Gallic scenes). Fresh bread and a giant square of butter prepare lunchtime diners for croque-monsieurs and -madames and made-in-house pâtés.

Goodall’s

Jan 20, 2016 By Texas Monthly

Edith Wharton devotees (or those who find the reclaimed-wood trend just a bit twee) might see this secreted dining room as a revelation—beautiful high ceilings, velvet banquettes, and cheeky framed nudes on the gallery walls. The space is hushed; we were almost the lone table. The food aspires to be…

Trio

Dec 8, 2015 By Texas Monthly

Tucked downstairs at the Four Seasons, with a view of the patio and lawn, this proper but not intimidating dining room should be on your radar. Expense accounts are easily indulged here, and you will always see local and visiting power brokers sizing up the impressive wine list.

Fukumoto

Nov 16, 2015 By Texas Monthly

It’s hard to remember the days when Musashino was the premier, albeit almost only, sushi spot in town. It’s where Tyson Cole (who went on to found the Uchi empire) and Kazu Fukumoto learned to slice fish, and now Fukumoto has his own spot. As you’re heralded by greetings, you’ll…