In a restored ranch house near Lake Travis, 30 minutes outside of town, Hudson's on the Bend has been Austin’s best destination for elevated wild game cuisine since 1984. Owner/chef Jeff Blank and executive chef Kelly Casey are champions of imaginative and exotic creations, like espresso-, chocolate-, and chili-rubbed smoked elk backstrap topped with crab and pecan-smoked duck breast shingled with seared scallops. Despite the considerable price tag and special occasion atmosphere, Hudson's is a fun, unpretentious place enhanced by expert service. We recommend the six-course Hill Country tasting menu for $90, or $130 when paired with Texas beer or wines. Holiday meals, from Thanksgiving to Mother’s Day, are decadent affairs, but reservations are a must.