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 | Modern 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. Sway

    $$ | South Austin | Thai

    Based on a distinctive Australian-style Thai cuisine, Sway has provided Austin with an injection of modern Thai fusion in a chic, sexy setting...Read More

  • 3. Uchi

    $$ | South Austin | Japanese

    You've heard the term "extreme sports"? Uchi is "extreme sushi." Respectful of traditional sushi and sashimi methods—but not limited by them...Read More

  • 4. Bufalina

    $$ | East Austin | Pizza

    A bevy of new pizza places debuted in Austin over the past couple of years and one of the best is this hip eastside eatery, specializing in...Read More

  • 5. Elizabeth Street Café

    $$ | South Austin | Vietnamese

    This clever nouveau Vietnamese-French concept from chef-restaurateur Larry McGuire—of Lamberts and Clark's fame—sits on the corner of South...Read More

  • 6. Frank

    $ | Hot Dog

    Discerning hipsters, corporate lunch crowds, and late-night barflies frequent this Warehouse District favorite specializing in artisanal hot...Read More

  • 7. Justine's Brasserie

    $$ | East Austin | French

    On a distinctly unromantic stretch of far East 5th Street, this intimate French brasserie is a romantic oasis, perfect for any first date or...Read More

  • 8. Perla's

    $$$ | South Congress District | Seafood

    Seafood, service and panache are pretty as a pearl at this homage to yacht clubs on the Northeast Coast. One of Austin’s original high-end patio...Read More

  • 9. Salty Sow

    $$ | East Austin | Modern 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

  • 10. Second Bar + Kitchen

    $$ | Modern 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

  • 11. The Backspace

    $$ | Pizza

    This stylish pizzeria, another hit from chef/restaurateur Shawn Cirkiel (of parkside and olive & june fame), is one of Austin’s best bets...Read More

  • 12. The Oasis–Lake Travis

    $$ | Lake Travis | American

    This scenic Austin institution, on a 450-foot cliff above Lake Travis, is famed for its sunsets and special-occasion atmosphere, popular with...Read More

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