Cuisine

courtesy of Taste of Ethiopia

African

Woinee Mariam, who emigrated from Ethiopia to the United States at age 16, offers Austinites (and Pflugervillians) two locations at which to savor the flavors of East Africa. Warm spices imported from Ethiopia, fresh injera bread made in house, and family-style platters served in woven baskets make Taste of Ethiopia a perfect destination for East African flavors and hospitality in Austin.

Taste of Ethiopia
1100 Grand Avenue Pkwy., Pflugerville, 512/251-4053
3801 S. Congress #107, 512/814-3141
tasteofethiopiaaustin.com

Barbecue

Have you ever driven past Terry Black’s and not seen a line to rival Franklin’s? Since 2014, twin brothers/owners Mike and Mark Black have stayed busy, churning out legendary brisket, plump beef and pork ribs, and spicy sausage. Splurge on some mac & cheese and banana pudding and you’ve got a Central Texas hat trick.

Terry Black's Barbecue
1003 Barton Springs Rd.
512/394-5899
terryblacksbbq.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by Jana Birchum

Caribbean

After having initially wowed our city as executive pastry chef for Emmer & Rye and its cohort, the award-winning Tavel Bristol-Joseph triumphs again in this homage to his Guyanese culinary roots, helming an islands-inspired kitchen that excels in the savory as well as the sweet – and is well complemented by a cocktail-forward bar program.

Canje
1914 E. Sixth Ste. C
512/706-9119
canjeatx.com

Chinese

Chef, proprietor, and restaurateur Ling Wu presents a well-curated selection of dim sum with classic Cantonese flavors, a sprinkle of Sichuan fare, and of course those fantastic dumplings. All are constructed with local wholesome ingredients (when available). The dumplings are fire, delicate, but sturdy, and the Shanghai soup dumpling is the move.

Lin Asian Bar + Dim Sum
1203 W. Sixth
512/474-5107
linasianbar.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

French

The heady combo of classy and saucy at this Eastside pleasure den is what makes Justine’s so unequivocally French. Whether you’re looking for a classic, traditional meal starting with a Kir Royale and escargots or want to do bumps of caviar and guzzle champagne, this is the place for you.

Justine's Brasserie
4710 E. Fifth
512/385-2900
justines1937.com

Indian

Located inside the supposedly haunted Bertram Building in Downtown Austin’s historic Guy Town, Clay Pit has been around for more than 20 years. While you can find classics like butter chicken and chana masala, the real stars on the menu are fusion items like naan pizzas, curried mussels, jalapeño cream cheese naan, and chapati tacos with lamb rogan josh or fried cauliflower.

Clay Pit
1601 Guadalupe
512/322-5131
claypit.com

Photo by John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

Interior Mexican

Serving Austinites interior Mexican cuisine since 1975, Fonda is an institution, always good for a splurge-worthy meal. Start with queso fundido with rajas and chorizo verde and a Numero Uno Margarita. Finish with the Mixiote (slow-cooked seasoned lamb), but really anything you dive into will be delectable.

Fonda San Miguel
2330 W. North Loop
512/459-4121
fondasanmiguel.com

Italian

Owner and chef John Carver conjures his knowledge of Northern and Southern Italian cuisine into gastronomic wizardry, abetted by house-made pastas, locally sourced meats, seasonal vegetables, and his elegant venue’s custom-built, wood-burning grill, oven, and plancha. Do we even need to tell you about all the wines curated from Italy, Spain, France, Argentina, Chile, and more?

Red Ash Italia
303 Colorado #200
512/379-2906
redashitalia.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by Jana Birchum

Japanese

What was once completely foreign to American palates is now ubiquitous thanks to Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto’s growing empire. For the uninitiated, start with the chicken shoyu broth: Tatsu-Ya’s is always on point, with just the right amount of soy sauce, never bland, never too salty. The noodles are cooked to perfection every time, and the chashu is handled with care.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya
8557 Research #126
1234 S. Lamar
1600 E. Sixth
8601 S. Congress
ramen-tatsuya.com

Korean

This fast-casual mini-chain offers a veritable choose-your-own-adventure of options. Bowl or Ssäms? Korean BBQ steak or spicy pork, fried egg and pickled veggies, and the sauce, maybe a little more traditional with Sriracha or lime juice, or more West Campus with spicy ranch? Hey, they were probably the first in town to serve Japchae noodles – and definitely the first to serve those iconic kimchi fries.

Chi'Lantro BBQ
1509 S. Lamar, 512/428-5269
5222 Burnet Rd., 512/852-9970
1414 Shore District Dr., 512/382-9653
11005 Burnet Rd., 512/852-8789
1201 Barbara Jordan, 512/900-7648
303 Colorado #100, 512/580-4459
9911 Brodie Ln., 512/649-2599
6301 W. Parmer #204, 512/630-0145
chilantrobbq.com

photo courtesy of Chi'Lantro BBQ

photo by Chase Daniel

Mediterranean
Aba

One of the brightest dining stars on South Congress, Aba (which means "father" in Hebrew) is a Mediterranean restaurant that highlights the best culinary traditions of Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece under the talented hand of chef CJ Jacobson, with Liz Pearce’s array of region-resonant wines and spirits shining like a sea of relaxation.

Aba
1011 S. Congress, Bldg. 2 #180
737/273-0199
abarestaurants.com/austin

Middle Eastern/Arab

Halal Bros’ status as a go-to spot for generous portions of delicious Middle Eastern fare is well-deserved. The menu is simple: Tender proteins like lamb and chicken (or falafel) rest atop flavorful, fluffy rice. Juicy gyro and shawarma wraps burst with flavor. Loaded fries serve as a white- and red-sauce delivery mechanism. You simply cannot miss (unless you skip the sauce).

Halal Bros
2712 Guadalupe, 512/284-8105
1910 W. Braker #800, 737/222-5487
11521 FM 620 N. #1300, 512/580-0879
419 E. Seventh, 512/284-8105
thehalalbros.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by Jana Birchum

New American

What’s the definition of New American cuisine? You can find that answered exquisitely at several Austin venues, but especially at Odd Duck, where Bryce Gilmore and sous chefs Javier Nuñez, Matthew LaCaze, Daniel Rodriguez, and Jay Salvante work a fusion of global foodways and modern techniques into meticulous plates of culinary artistry. Starter case in point: peach salad with pork rinds, kimchi vinaigrette, and whipped chèvre. Yes, chef, yes!

Odd Duck
1201 S. Lamar
512/433-6521
oddduckaustin.com

Seafood

When you’ve been in business for more than three quarters of a century, you must be doing something right. The seafood market provides fresh, seasonal seafood like salmon and lobster for your home cooking and grilling needs, while the restaurant side offers oysters, po'boys, generous plate dinners, and happy hour peel-and-eat shrimp with $2 Modelos.

Quality Seafood Market
5621 Airport
512/452-3820
qualityseafoodmarket.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

South American

For pushing 20 years, this boutique favorite has been serving hearty Argentine fare, the family matriarchs’ recipes, to the Austin masses. Much more interesting than just the beefy, bready dishes in most mind's eyes, the nuance of flavor is layered, sublime, and always pairs perfectly with their signature Malbec. For a nightcap, make a resy at the not-so-secret basement speakeasy, the Milonga Room.

Buenos Aires Cafe
13500 Galleria Cir., U-120, Bee Cave, 512/441-9000
1201 E. Sixth, 512/344-9198
buenosairescafe.com

Southern /Soul

This house of Southern-style cuisine from chef Hoover Alexander and his team continues to purvey the sort of down-home, stick-to-your-ribs dishes, so rich with flavor, that make your palate and stomach sure that there must be a heaven and Hoover’s might just be an outpost of it. Soul food, indeed.

Hoover's Cooking
2002 Manor Rd.
512/479-5006
hooverscooking.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by Jana Birchum

Tex-Mex

Matt and Janie Martinez started their restaurant 70 years ago and their family still runs the beloved south-side institution on South Lamar. Come for the lunch specials and a chance to be around longtime Austinites and newcomers alike, enjoying margaritas and tacos, enchiladas, and chiles rellenos (don’t forget the famous Bob Armstrong dip!).

Matt's El Rancho
2613 S. Lamar
512/462-9333
mattselrancho.com

Thai

A perennial favorite, the classics keep us coming. Yes, the massaman curry, tom kha, and pad thai are tops, but you really need to try the Kao Soi 360. Titaya’s offers the best version of this Northern Thai/Burmese dish in the capital city. Chewy ramen noodles, succulent braised chicken, a turmeric-based curry, and the pickled mustard greens really set it off.

Titaya's Thai Cuisine
5501 N. Lamar Ste. C-101
512/458-1792
titayasthaicuisine.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

Vegan/Vegetarian

Pro-worker, plant-based before it was cool, and forever South Austin weird, Bouldin Creek Cafe has our hearts and our stomachs on lock. The menu is sprawling, but we’ll never say no to breakfast (served all day!). The tofu scramble zings in migas and the b’fast Scramwich, and hot damn, that blueberry cornbread, y’all.

Bouldin Creek Cafe
1900 S. First
512/416-1601
bouldincreekcafe.com

Vietnamese

Dreaming of a perfectly made bánh mì dressed with as much fiery chili sauce as you can handle? How about pho, topped with braised brisket or crispy pork belly from Niman Ranch? Elizabeth Street Cafe tweaks the above already-perfect Vietnamese dishes by using the best local, organic produce they can get.

Elizabeth Street Cafe
1501 S. First
512/291-2881
elizabethstreetcafe.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by Jana Birchum

Wild Card

Like all great Cajun chefs, the people at Evangeline Cafe take their seasonings seriously. Bring a bottomless appetite to better enjoy the slow-cooked gumbo, or challenge yourself with alligator bites. The wild card on EC’s menu is the bunless Cheeseburger Salad, which may be drizzled with the house rémoulade.

Evangeline Cafe
8106 Brodie Ln.
512/282-2586
evangelinecafe.com

 
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