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2013ReadersFood

Best Artisan Food Company
Antonelli's Cheese Shop

If you like cheese like we like cheese – and, man, we really like cheese – there's no better place to get your goat (or sheep or cow) than Antonelli's, an artisan shop like no other in the ATX. The staff is devoted and expert, and their selection of delights – from the French Ossau-Iraty, an Old World semi-soft that is smoothly pungent, to a Wisconsin cheddar so nutty and fruity it'll blow your mind and your taste buds – is beyond compare. Come in for a taste – or two, or three – and leave with the knowledge that you'll be back, and soon (how else could you possibly build the perfect cheese board?).

Antonelli's Cheese Shop, 4220 Duval St., 512/531-9610, www.antonellischeese.com

Antonelli's Cheese House, 4220 Duval St., 512/531-9610, www.antonellischeese.com

Best Austin Food Landmark
Salt Lick

Already famous as a luxurious land of never-ending meat, riverside dining, and leisurely hammocks, it's basically inevitable that the Salt Lick will one day rebrand itself as a barbecue-themed amusement park. To help the proprietors along in that process, here are a few suggestions for their new and improved name: Ribsland. Universal Sausages. Six Servings of Brisket Over Texas. Turkeyworld. Hammock Gardens. Barbecue Kingdom. Schlitterbeef.

The Salt Lick, 18300 FM 1826, Driftwood, 512/858-4959, www.saltlickbbq.com

The Salt Lick, 3350 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock, 512/386-1044, www.saltlickbbq.com

Best Barbecue
Franklin's

The now world-famous barbecue mecca is open from 11am until they're sold out, so Franklin groupies know to line up as early as 7am to call dibs on their legendary brisket, turkey, and sausage – the stuff of carnivore dreams. Frequenters bring their lawn chairs and a Settlers of Catan board to pass the time – but boy, is it worth the wait! When it comes to flavor, quality, and consistency, Aaron Franklin is king.

Franklin Barbecue, 900 E. 11th, 512/653-1187, www.franklinbarbecue.com

Best Breakfast
Kerbey Lane Cafe

Breakfast for dinner is our favorite. Especially while drinking bottomless cups of coffee and debating whether or not the objects on the walls of Kerbey Lane Cafe are art (which we totally think that they are). This throwback to home-cooked comfort makes us feel like we're in an episode of Happy Days. Did we mention that Kerbey Lane's Frisbee-sized pancakes are the bee's knees (and that they offer gluten-free and vegan options, too)? And the omelets are the cat's pajamas?

Kerbey Lane Cafe, 4301 W. William Cannon, 512/899-1500, www.kerbeylanecafe.com

Kerbey Lane Cafe, 3704 Kerbey, 512/451-1436, www.kerbeylanecafe.com

Kerbey Lane Cafe, 13435 Hwy. 183 N. #415, 512/258-7757, www.kerbeylanecafe.com

4 more locations

Best Breakfast Tacos
Tacodeli

No matter what your dietary proclivities, Tacodeli has the breakfast taco for you. Maybe you’re gluten-free. No worries: The Vaquero (scrambled eggs, grilled corn, poblanos, and cheese) on corn is your huckleberry. Maybe you like to keep it weird? Try a taco with the ‘deli’s signature mashed papas. Or kick it old-school with a straight-up bacon, egg, and cheese or a plump migas taco. See? Told ya there was something for everyone.

Tacodeli, 12001 Burnet Rd., 512/339-1700, www.tacodeli.com

Tacodeli, 1500 Spyglass, 512/732-0303, www.tacodeli.com

Tacodeli, 4200 N Lamar Blvd., 512/419-1900, www.tacodeli.com

Best Burgers
Hopdoddy Burger Bar

There's a reason the line is always out the door. From the local brews on tap to the impossibly rich shakes, Hopdoddy is sure to deliver a satisfying dining experience. But it's their two staples – burgers and fries – that truly shine. Tuna and veggie burgers keep the non-carnivores content, while the Classic is guaranteed hormone-free Angus beef on a fluffy house-baked bun, and it's earned its title. Perfect plain or all done up – from the Terlingua's chile con carne and Fritos to the Magic Shroom's goat cheese and pesto – these burgers' best friend is a heaping order of those perfectly golden and slightly herbed Kennebec fries. We're not sure what the secret ingredient is, but we're positive of one thing: It's the stuff dreams are made of.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 1400 S. Congress, 512/243-7505, www.hopdoddy.com

Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 2438-A W. Anderson, 512/467-2337, www.hopdoddy.com

Best Cheap Date
Blue Dahlia Bistro

Whether it is the first date or the 50th, sharing a lovely (reasonably priced) meal at a homegrown eatery reminiscent of a European bistro is special. Casual but refined, the two Blue Dahlia locations offer a commitment to green practices, local and organic sources, and friendly service on top of delicious French-inspired dishes. Their various tartines, dinner specials, breakfast treats such as blueberry blintzes, and of course, wine, will surely make you swoon.

Blue Dahlia Bistro, 1115 E. 11th, 512/542-9542, www.bluedahliabistro.com

Blue Dahlia Bistro, 3663 Bee Cave Rd., 512/306-1668, www.bluedahliabistro.com

Best Chips & Salsa
Chuy's

The most dangerous moment when dining at Chuy’s is the one in which the chips and salsa land on the table. In that moment, diners must reckon with not one or two, but three dips from which to choose – the chunky tomato salsa, the smooth salsa verde, or the evil temptress known as the jalapeno ranch. From there, diners risk ruining their dinner by gorging on the bottomless, house-fried triangular carbohydrates, but who’s complaining?

Chuy's, 11680 Research, 512/342-0011, www.chuys.com

Chuy's, 1728 Barton Springs Rd., 512/474-4452, www.chuys.com

Chuy's, 10520 N. Lamar, 512/836-3218, www.chuys.com

2 more locations

Best Coffee
Houndstooth Coffee

Austin’s coffee scene is a buzzin’ thanks to Texan roasters like Cuvée and Tweed – both of whom supply Houndstooth with their addictive beans. Devotees of this nectar of the gods and our readers agree that the baristas at both locations (a second shop opened Downtown earlier this year) pour out the tastiest brews and most gorgeous rosettas in the city.

Houndstooth Coffee, 4200 N. Lamar #120, 512/531-9417, www.houndstoothcoffee.com

Houndstooth Coffee Downtown, 401 Congress Ste. 100-C, 512/394-6051, www.houndstoothcoffee.com

Best Desserts
Tiff's Treats

If you're going to gain the freshman 15, Tiff's Treats is the most delicious way to do so. Started by two college sophomores in 1999, Tiff's is all about giving you that homemade, right-out-of-the-oven treat. Order cookies for yourself or a loved one, and they will hand-deliver and wrap your goodies in a purple bow. No matter what you order, your sweet tooth or your sweetie's sweet tooth will be more than satisfied.

Tiff's Treats, 1806 Nueces, 512/473-2600, www.cookiedelivery.com

Tiff's Treats, 11011 Research, 512/349-2200, www.cookiedelivery.com

Tiff's Treats, 3201 Bee Caves Rd., 512/519-3300, www.cookiedelivery.com

2 more locations

Best Food Delivery
Greenling

Using technology as an essential tool for sustainable change in the food industry, Greenling delivers local, organic food to your doorstep. Order online and Greenling will pick up, pack together, and bring you all the ingredients you need to cook a homegrown meal you can feel great about. Supporting local farmers and artisan food makers, Greenling offers a variety of items, including fresh veggies, coffee, and tortillas. Grocery shopping has never been so easy.

Greenling, 512/440-8449, www.greenling.com

Best Food Trailer
East Side King

Paul Qui and Motoyasu "Moto" Utsunomiya have taken Austin's street food to a completely new level with their East Side King empire. Currently the Ssam and Chicken Karaage await drooling diners at Liberty and the Grackle, and a hidden gem location at Hole in the Wall offers an added ramen bonus. A South Lamar location is in the works to replace the recently removed Shangri-La station. Beet fries and curry buns forever.

East Side King, 1104 E. Sixth, www.eskaustin.com

East Side King at the Liberty, 1618 E. Sixth, www.eskaustin.com

East Side King, 2538 Guadalupe, www.eskaustin.com

East Side King, 2310 S. Lamar #101, 512/383-8382, www.eskaustin.com

Best Fries
Hopdoddy

There's a reason the line is always out the door. From the local brews on tap to the impossibly rich shakes, Hopdoddy is sure to deliver a satisfying dining experience. But it's their two staples – burgers and fries – that truly shine. Tuna and veggie burgers keep the non-carnivores content, while the Classic is guaranteed hormone-free Angus beef on a fluffy house-baked bun, and it's earned its title. Perfect plain or all done up – from the Terlingua's chile con carne and Fritos to the Magic Shroom's goat cheese and pesto – these burgers' best friend is a heaping order of those perfectly golden and slightly herbed Kennebec fries. We're not sure what the secret ingredient is, but we're positive of one thing: It's the stuff dreams are made of.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 1400 S. Congress, 512/243-7505, www.hopdoddy.com

Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 2438-A W. Anderson, 512/467-2337, www.hopdoddy.com

Best Ice Cream/Gelato
Amy's Ice Creams

While the flavors are ever-changing, at least one thing remains the same: As an application, potential employees are given a white paper bag to take home and bring back decorated. Jobs are given to creative and optimistic scoopers full of vim and vigor, and we think that performative oomph makes the cow-cream taste better.

Amy's Ice Creams, 5624 Burnet, 512/538-2697, www.amysicecreams.com

Amy's Ice Creams, 1012 W. Sixth, 512/480-0673, www.amysicecreams.com

Amy's Ice Creams, 3500 Guadalupe, 512/458-6895, www.amysicecreams.com

10 more locations

Best Intimate Dining
Lenoir

Owned and operated by husband and wife duo Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher, Lenoir is the perfect place to stare into your lover’s eyes over a three-course prix fixe menu. Designed by Chris McCray, using repurposed and recycled materials, Lenoir invites you to unwind al fresco under the twinkling lights of the wine garden or nestle into the cozy dining room with a plate of local and seasonal cuisine. Either way you will bask in whimsy while enjoying offerings aptly christened "field," "land," "sea," and "dream."

Lenoir, 1807 S. First, 512/215-9778, www.lenoirrestaurant.com

Best Pho/Noodles
Ramen Tatsu-Ya

This ultra hip joint is making ramen synonymous with soul food. Slurp their tasty broth and noodles to the rhythm of old school hip-hop and disco, or occasionally a Hall & Oates jam. There is a major rush during dinner, but don't let this pressure you to skip the numerous craft beers or ice cream mochi for dessert. And take a peek at the awesome bathroom decor – a dragon paper-towel dispenser? Heck yes!

Ramen Tatsu-Ya, 8557 Research #126, www.ramen-tatsuya.com

Ramen Tatsu-Ya, 1234 S. Lamar, www.ramen-tatsuya.com

Best Pizza
Home Slice

"Hey, pizza!" This independently owned and always bustling pizzeria offers the best New York style pizza in town, if not the whole dang state. Owned by married couple Jen and Joseph Strickland and friend Terri Hannifin, Home Slice is a SoCo must-taste. Pair the white clam pizza with an Austin Beerworks Pearl-Snap and fold that baby in half, Joey Ramone-style. After all, "This is the big time, girly. This is rock & roll."

Home Slice Pizza, 1415 S. Congress, 512/444-7437, www.homeslicepizza.com

More Home Slice, 1421 S. Congress, 512/444-7437, www.homeslice.com

Best Restaurant Design/Interior
Sway

The neon lotus sign on South First marks the spot for this year’s top dining destination. Square communal wooden tables, wide windows, and an open kitchen – designed by local visionary and architect, Michael Hsu – set the stage for your visit to modern Thai-Australian cuisine. Reward your taste buds with to-die-for creations like the Pok Pok Som (tamarind sipping vinegar) and the Son in Law (eggs with braised pork shoulder) that will make you sing with rapture. Don’t worry, fellow diners will join you for the chorus!

Sway, 1417 S. First, 512/326-1999, www.swayaustin.com

Best Restaurant of the Year
Sway

The neon lotus sign on South First marks the spot for this year’s top dining destination. Square communal wooden tables, wide windows, and an open kitchen – designed by local visionary and architect, Michael Hsu – set the stage for your visit to modern Thai-Australian cuisine. Reward your taste buds with to-die-for creations like the Pok Pok Som (tamarind sipping vinegar) and the Son in Law (eggs with braised pork shoulder) that will make you sing with rapture. Don’t worry, fellow diners will join you for the chorus!   

Sway, 1417 S. First, 512/326-1999, www.swayaustin.com

Best Restaurant Service
Uchiko

The middle child has made quite a name for itself. Chef Tyson Cole's second venture after renowned sushi restaurant, Uchi, often still has a weeks-long reservation list, and Uchiko's stellar rep has helped make celebrity chef Paul Qui the star he is today. The ambience is modern elegance; razor-sharp servers skillfully present cuisine concepts that regularly blow up Instagram feeds. Japanese farmhouse food plus fresh sushi plus the sparkle of a beloved brand's redesigned creativity mean Uchiko will be a powerhouse for the foreseeable future.

Uchiko, 4200 N. Lamar #140, 512/916-4808, www.uchiaustin.com/uchiko

Best Sushi
Uchi

Executive Chef Tyson Cole worked his way from Kyoto dishwasher to Mushashino apprentice, and now boasts a world-class sushi restaurant, a James Beard award, and a burgeoning empire. Uchi is in a class by itself: Fish is flown in daily, and an ever-changing menu gracefully fuses Japanese tradition with local and seasonal ingredients for brilliant pops of flavor. Beautiful staple items like Machi Cure (yellowtail, yucca crisp, Asian pear, marcona almond, and garlic brittle) and daily specials such as the Wagyu Nikomi (short rib, coconut, chile, and kaffir lime) make this restaurant fresh and legitimate. This is one of the finest dining experiences in town.

Uchi, 801 S. Lamar, 512/916-4808, www.uchiaustin.com

Best Tacos
Torchy's

This taco joint is so devilishly good that we'll forgo our fried-food ban and take an antacid instead (avocados are supposed to be good for you, right?). If we're feeling frisky we'll order the Dirty Sanchez. If we've made too many "your mom" jokes, we'll grab the Trailer Park; there's a taco to fit almost all of our moods. What started as a food trailer off Bouldin Creek at South First has turned into one of the city's favorite chains, having opened its ninth location in Round Rock this year.

Torchy's Tacos, 2801 Guadalupe, 512/494-8226, www.torchystacos.com

Torchy's Tacos, 2809 S. First, 512/444-0300, www.torchystacos.com

Torchy's Tacos, 4301 W. William Cannon, 512/514-0767, www.torchystacos.com

10 more locations

Best Vegan/Vegetarian
TIE: Counter Culture; Bouldin Creek Cafe

What began as a dream and a food trailer turned into a brick-and-mortar vegan comfort food reality. Featuring favorites like Pesto Rawviolis, a Tempeh Reuben, and brownie bites, Sue Davis’ mission is good food made from scratch with meatless, gluten-free, raw, soy-free, and oil-free diets in mind. Counter Culture also serves sustainable craft beers and organic wine in addition to local, organic produce whenever possible. Community, character, and coffee are the headliners at Bouldin Creek Cafe and, in conjunction with a skilled barista staff, make this dog-friendly coffee shop and patio a lovely place to chill on South First. With dinner specials, local art, and plenty of treats, it’s no wonder Bouldin Creek is a favorite.

Counter Culture, 2337 E. Cesar Chavez, 512/524-1540, www.countercultureaustin.com

Bouldin Creek Cafe, 1900 S. First, 512/416-1601, www.bouldincreek.com

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