Restaurants in Austin
Despite its unassuming strip mall location, this New American restaurant is often lauded as one of the best in the city. The dining room is intimate and understated, with about 15 white-clothed tables and windows screened with Japanese washi (rice paper).
Located off the beaten path in the West Campus neighborhood, this second-story restaurant is known for its Mediterranean small plates and inventive cocktails. The covered patio caters to a 30-something happy hour crowd, while the candlelit dining room is popular with couples.
The postmodern barbecue joint, housed among mid-construction condo buildings in an airy, historic brick warehouse, delivers outstanding barbecued chicken, moist and with a clove-y smoke character. Chase your bbq with a hoppy Lost Gold IPA from Blanco, Texas.
Chefs who try to fancify lowbrow food warrant suspicion but not immediate dismissal. Max’s Wine Dive in Austin is a perfect example of why checking it out is smart. Advertised awkwardly as “upscale comfort food,” its fried chicken is better described as Tex-Mex soul.
Go for some Texas barbecue at the low-key Artz Rib House, where for $16.99 you can get messy with a full rack of baby-back ribs.
The Scene: Despite their demanding day jobs, Hannah Calvert and her business partner, Tasso, opened SUG in 2006 as a way to exorcise their deep desire to cook, entertain, and even matchmake.
El Meson, which serves traditional Mexi
This retro restaurant and bar evokes Rat Pack–era Palm Springs; the
furniture in its Vegas-style space is covered with acres of tufted
leather, and its upstairs terrace has views of the Austin skyline.
From an unassuming, tin-roofed structure on Manor Road, across from Interstate 35 and the University of Texas at Austin campus, El Chile serves Tex-Mex to a mixed crowd of Austin high rollers and hungry undergraduates.
The coffee house is adjacent to the Hotel San José and is perfect for iced coffees and people watching.
Aquatic-themed watering hole. The bar at this Caribbean-Mexican restaurant is backed by an enormous black-lit aquarium filled with brightly colored tropical fish.
This barbecue institution began as a small addition to a general store in the Texas Hill Country town of Leon Springs. Since then, it has expanded to locations throughout Texas, with a few in neighboring states, too. The look is indeed that of a Texas country store.
Named for the expansive pecan trees lining this trendy section of Barton Springs Road, Shady Grove's patio area provides coverage from the hot Texas sun.
This tacqueria in Old West Austin
This updated version of the traditional diner concept is not, in fact, a cafeteria at all but a sit-down restaurant popular for its take on traditional meat-and-three Americana.