Austin Restaurants

Though Mexican, Tex-Mex, and barbecue are the default cuisines, everything from Brazilian to Pacific Rim fusion has made headway here, and there are strong vegetarian and natural-food followers.

To find the best barbecue, local consensus tends to be that you've got to head out of town to Lockhart, Luling, or Llano, in the Hill Country. Nevertheless, there are several fine options within the city limits, the bulk of them simple places.

In some venues the music and food share nearly equal billing, like Threadgill's, whose massive chicken-fried steak is as much of a draw as the well-known blues and rock acts on stage. Stubb's Bar-B-Q hosts a popular gospel brunch on Sundays.

Austin is a casual city, and the dress code is almost always "come as you are"; a few restaurants require a jacket for men. Tips are generally 20%. Smoking is prohibited inside restaurants and bars, though some allow smoking on their outdoor patios.

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  • 1. Barley Swine

    $$$$ | South Austin | American

    The 36-seat eatery recently abandoned their no-reservation policy, which can now be made a month in advance, but there is a new 8-seat communal...Read More

  • 2. Congress

    $$$ | American

    An evening here is no regular weekday affair. As Chef/partner David Bull intended with this crisply elegant fine dining concept, this restaurant...Read More

  • 3. Driskill Grill

    $$$ | Sixth Street District | American

    Dominated by shiny, dark paneling and etched glass, this would-be cattle baron's club inside the Driskill Hotel recalls the palatial restaurants...Read More

  • 4. Hudson's on the Bend

    $$$ | Lake Travis | American

    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...Read More

  • 5. Lenoir

    $$$ | South Austin | American

    Bouldin Creek’s best date night destination might have limited dining space, with only 34 seats, but the seasonal prix fixe selections and shabby...Read More

  • 6. Bess Bistro

    $$ | American

    In the restored cellar of a 1918 brick building on the more sedate end of 6th is this casually chic boîte owned by actress Sandra Bullock (but...Read More

  • 7. Foreign & Domestic

    $$ | North Austin | American

    It’s been almost five years since chef/owner Ned Elliott opened his upscale, 47-seat North Loop gastropub, deep in the heart of the locavore...Read More

  • 8. Fork & Vine

    $$$ | North Austin | American

    North Austin’s Anderson Lane and Burnet neighborhood has welcomed several new restaurants over the past few years, with one of the most notable...Read More

  • 9. Goodall's Kitchen and Bar

    $$ | University of Texas Area | American

    Reopened after an extensive, well-executed redesign—the former Mansion at Judges’ Hill boutique hotel changed ownership and became the Hotel...Read More

  • 10. Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile

    $$ | East Austin | American

    The “ranch to table” cuisine of this new east side hotspot speaks to Austinite’s southern comfort cravings, with savory classics like stuffed...Read More

  • 11. Jasper's

    $$ | American

    Business travelers and upscale tourists alike are drawn to this handsome, 9,000-square-foot eatery, in the midst of The Domain shopping district...Read More

  • 12. Josephine House

    $$$ | Clarksville | American

    The adorable little sister of Jeffrey’s occupies a beautifully restored, light-filled bungalow next door to the Clarksville fine dining institution...Read More

  • 13. Odd Duck

    $$$ | South Austin | American

    This food truck turned brick and mortar was an early trailblazer of the city’s farm to table movement, thanks to chef Bryce Gilmore’s inventive...Read More

  • 14. Olivia

    $$$ | South Austin | American

    The menu recently transitioned away from its “hyper-playful” Italian-inspired cuisine and back to its original style of rustic, farm-to-table...Read More

  • 15. parkside

    $$ | Sixth Street District | American

    A gem in the midst of Dirty Sixth, parkside’s austere interior features exposed brick walls, shotgun bar, and bare light bulbs suspended by...Read More

  • 16. Qui

    $$$$ | East Austin | American

    Austin’s favorite culinary conqueror Paul Qui opened his eponymous Qui to an already adoring public last year and the modern fusion eastside...Read More

  • 17. Salt & Time

    $$ | East Austin | American

    Sure, it’s become a hipster-certified option for locally sourced charcuterie, meatball subs and an intimate (and meat-heavy) dinner service...Read More

  • 18. Salty Sow

    $$ | East Austin | American

    This porcine-themed gastropub in the midst of East Manor’s burgeoning food scene might sport a range of pig illustrations and artwork on their...Read More

  • 19. Second Bar + Kitchen

    $$ | American

    With all the high-class sophistication you get from Chef/owner David Bull's Congress restaurant, his adjacent brasserie-style restaurant is...Read More

  • 20. The Bonneville

    $$ | American

    Another upscale New American eatery hit downtown this year, with an impressive culinary and cocktail program led by husband-and-wife chefs....Read More

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