1) Uchiko It's hard to beat Michael Hsu for restaurant design these days, and Uchiko remains one of his most impressive projects. Firecracker-colored terracotta tiles contrast with dark stained wood, Far East curio cabinets, and warm lighting to create a cozy but sophisticated ambience.
2) Lenoir A grape cluster of twinkling brass lights illuminate a space that is so intimate, you might as well add the other diners to your Christmas card list now.
3) East Side Show Room There is always something to look at in this East Sixth cafe, wherein found objects and creative metal work converge in a space that is one part Parisian bistro, one part cabaret, and one part fantasy film set.
4) La Condesa Soaring windows, sculptural wood and concrete, and a sunny color palette make this one of my favorite spaces in Austin.
5) Sway Yet another Michael Hsu project, this space is a study in contrasts. Dark wood is set against sunny yellow tile, while communal tables nestle up against private screened spaces.
6) Blue Dahlia This bistro's DIY interior has a dark, cozy feel. But the best thing about Blue Dahlia is the lush, secret garden dining porch out back.
7) Fino With its reed screens and rattan lounge furniture, Fino boasts one of the most pleasant patios in town. But the cool, Hollywood Regency woodwork inside is what makes this place memorable.
8) Winflo Osteria Stripped-down shiplap siding and industrial copper light fixtures juxtapose with plush Louis XIV chairs in this playful setting of mixed metaphors.
9) Josephine House The all-white color scheme inside is accented by splashes of color and stained wood furnishings that make you feel like you've just stepped into a Bar Harbor guesthouse.
10) Arro Another restaurant that takes porches seriously, this one is ivy-enclosed. The interior blends rustic and modern for a space that has gravitas without losing lightheartedness.
Copyright © 2014 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.