Texas Monthly adds and updates approximately sixty restaurant listings to our Dining Guide each month. There’s limited space in the print issue, but the entire searchable guide to the best of Texas cuisine is at your fingertips online!

Below are a few highlights from the new restaurants reviewed in our September 2019 issue. In case you missed it, restaurant critic Patricia Sharpe’s 2019 list of Texas’s Best New Restaurants came out in our March issue, and you can also read up on her latest Pat’s Pick, Houston’s Squable.

Click “More Info” for further detail on each restaurant:


Austin

High Note

After years of plying us with bowls of Kerbey Queso, the folks behind Kerbey Lane Cafe bring us this healthy-ish spot just off the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. Replacing the bowls of velvety molten cheese product are antipasti platters with slabs of cashew cheese. There’s a refined wine list and several cocktail options starring vegetable juices, perfect to wash down the hefty quinoa falafel patties (served on a bed of, yep, more quinoa) while you think healthy thoughts on the couch-bedecked patio. Meat eaters aren’t left out, though; our kimchi beef bowl was fiery and brightened by a layer of fermented cabbage. Bright and airy, the eclectic space is an easy hangout.

New American | ⭑⭑ | $$ | More Info


Dallas

Hillside Tavern

We had to wait for a table at this lively neighborhood spot, an instant hit from the Boulevardier, Rapscallion, and Veritas team. Warm woods, taxidermy, comfortable couches, and tchotchkes lend a lodge look, and the food outshines typical bar fare. Besides beer and cocktails, there’s also a smart wine list (48 bottles, a rarity at beer-centric taverns). A juicy, cheesy patty melt with pickled peppers on sourdough ranks high among the sandwiches; the Smoked “Bologna”—decadent and shareable—is thick with pecan-smoked and griddled mortadella topped with cheese and “secret sauce.” Even the salads (Chicken Tinga, Hillside Wedge) are hearty. As for sides, the beer-battered onion rings stayed impressively crisp long after their arrival. Echoes of Rapscallion turn up in the pimento cheese, fried chicken sandwich, and bread pudding, which is deep-fried and served with whiskey-butter sauce.

American | ⭑⭑ | $$ | More Info


Fort Worth

Gemelle

Naming his new casual bar and eatery for his daughters—the name translates as “twin girls”—chef-restaurateur Tim Love finds a softer, lighter groove. The bright and bustling interior, as informal and yet stylish as the outdoor deck and garden seating areas, is comfortable for settling into salads of shaved zucchini, arugula, grilled fennel, and jalapeño-basil pesto, as well as celery root carpaccio with spiced walnuts drizzled with apple cider–walnut vinaigrette. Among thick but crispy-crusted Detroit-style pizzas, the scene-stealer is the Spring, topped with asparagus, green onion, goat cheese, and lemon zest. House-made pastas include the feather-light ravioli filled with rabbit-rattlesnake sausage, bathed in white bean–jalapeño pesto, and brown butter with grilled lemon for a tart foil. Aperol cocktails abound, and the Italian wine selections include great (and affordable) finds.

Italian | ⭑⭑⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info


Houston

MAD

Neon lights, bold colors, and fantastical chandeliers mark this new venture—has the dignified BCN crew gone lost it? Well, there’s a method to their madness. Expect the same well-trained (though more casual) servers, innovative food artfully plated, and Spanish flair for tapas, paella, and major steaks. We stuck with the modestly priced tapas. Oddly soggy, oily grilled shishitos proved the only downer. Fabulous indeed were the brioche con trufas, port-steamed little puffs of bread with truffle aioli and a shaved truffle crown, and the empanadillas de cochinillo, empanadas stuffed with suckling pig, potato, and onion with a mango-apricot chutney. But the MAD Tomato stole our hearts: an impossibly red, shiny gelatin “tomato” filled with Parmesan mousse and pesto and resting on pumpernickel crumbs!

Spanish | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info


McAllen

La Uno Cocina de Mar

La Uno isn’t just another Mexican seafood joint. This one has a relaxing, upscale atmosphere and nice views from the second-floor tableside windows. The menu has creative versions of seafood cocktails and soups, including a beautiful pozole with mussels and clams, but we went straight to the specialty tacos. Our favorite was the Cancuno taco, beautifully presented with crunchy fried shrimp and mushrooms topped with a chipotle mayo on a blue corn tortilla. We finished off with the mango aguachile: fresh marinated shrimp in a tangy habanero-mango sauce topped with pickled onions.

Mexican | ⭑⭑⭑ | $$$ | More Info


Rating System

Our reviews are written by critics who live in the cities and regions they cover. They remain anonymous to ensure that they receive no special treatment. The magazine pays for all meals and accepts no advertising or other consideration in exchange for a listing. Comments? Write us.