2200 I-35 S. 512/448-9711
When you need your Lone Star cold, your chicken-fried steak hot, and the ghost of Ernest Tubb on your shoulder, the Spoke is it.
3201 S. Lamar 512/442-6189
300 E. Fourth 512/473-0450
Locals who lament the scarcity of down-home dinettes these days, who search for that perfect platter of "meat and two", should take heart. The former home of Sallie's, just such a beloved joint, is now polished up and slinging three hots, seven days a week. Great folks, good food, go there. Read our review.
4140 E. 12th 512/926-4140
It's been around for a few years, but still feels like a discovery. Look for upscale soul cooking, e.g., curried grits and greens, sweet pulled pork, and grass-fed short ribs. All ingredients are locally grown, and the condiments are all made in-house. The fresh juice cocktails go down nicely in an atmosphere described as "silent movie house meets Speakeasy". Read our review.
1100 E. Sixth 512/467-4280
Light-filled and cheery with brightly colored walls and an open floor plan, this place serves up a raved-over crust on fried items as well as the best peach cobbler in these parts. Read our review.
1050 E. 11th #100 512/391-2331
The vinaigrette-dressed barley salad, tossed with smoked salmon, sectioned grapefruit, and kalamata olives is inspired simplicity. Move on to the house-made merguez
, a grilled Moroccan beef and lamb sausage served with a green olive and red pepper salad, crispy potato coins, and red pepper aioli. Finish up with a puckery lemon bar. Read our review.
2307 Hancock 512/371-6840
This Lakeway spot is serving up contemporary comfort food seven days a week. The spacious open-air patio fills up fast, so get there early on a pretty day. Read our review.
900 RR 620 S., Ste. B108, Lakewaay 512/263-3673
As the first Texas outlet of a famous Memphis fried-chicken chain, this newcomer comes in strong. The simple menu includes chicken by the plate or individual piece. Plates come with a choice of two or three pieces: white, dark, or the "half chicken" option – one piece of each. Plates come with baked beans and slaw, but substitutions are allowed for 50 cents extra. Start with a couple of cans of Austin Beer Works brew and a plate of the best fried green tomatoes ever. Read our review.
117 San Jacinto Blvd. 512/474-4877
Hill's Cafe has been around (off and on) since 1947 and is well-known not just for its chicken-fried steak and barbecue but for some big music in a small space.
4700 S. Congress 512/851-9300
Chicken, biscuits, and sides.
2017 Manor Rd.
Dishing out huge portions of Southern-style home cooking including jerk pork ribs, pork chops, and amazing sides, this place draws crowds. Try sweet-potato pancakes and fried chicken at breakfast.
2002 Manor Rd. 512/479-5006
This legendary spot rests not on its laurels but atop beef-eaters' picks for Best Burger. It's justifiably famous for the two-for-one specials.
807 W. Sixth 512/472-0693
Surrounded by panoramic windows and a superb view of Lake Travis, the bar and dining room offer a bright, unwittingly retro atmosphere for gussied-up comfort food with a Southern accent, including a fried-green-tomato BLT, crab-cake sliders, and a variety of down-home sides. Don't miss farm-to-table Wednesdays: Three local, seasonal, chef-prepared courses for $25.
101 Lakeway Dr., Lakeway 800/525-3929
This popular trailer near Zilker Park turns out Nak-i-dish (ground pork and beef mixed with onions and stuffed inside a puff pastry crust), red beans and rice with juicy chunks of andouille sausage, and terrific crawfish pie.
1604 E. Sixth 512/573-5215
This enterprise features mashups of Southern comfort food and classic Thai dishes. Son-in-law eggs, a popular Thai street food consisting of deep-fried boiled eggs seasoned with tamarind, for instance, are transformed into church picnic-worthy deviled eggs topped with wisps of fennel. Try the Low Country shrimp and grits salted with Virginia country ham and swimming in a broth of tom kha soup. Read our review.
1700 West Parmer #100 512/832-7870
Located above the Briarcliff Marina, this place is the ticket for great barbecue, fancy sides, and tender steaks.
406 Sleat Dr., Spicewood 512/264-7040
Imagine a piece of fried chicken sealed in a thick, brown crust seasoned with a combination of 17 spices, on top of a buttery, light-as-air homemade waffle.
5035 Burnet Rd. 512/524-2917
The chicken is tender and juicy, the breading perfectly crisp, and it washes down well with a Juicy Lucy frozen watermelon margarita or the spicy Bee Sting. Like being at an impeccably curated picnic.