Food
1999 Readers Poll
1999 Critics Picks
Best All You Can Eat

This sumptuous pan-Asian buffet just refuses to let diners go home hungry, earning the readers' devotion year after year. Sample the stunning array of Asian salads, stuff yourself with fresh sushi, sate your appetite from the list of entree specials, and settle it all with several dessert selections.

Buffet Palace
4608 West Gate Blvd., 512/892-1800
www.buffetpalace.com

Best Bakery

Once again the undisputed victor, this Rosedale neighborhood treasure is the object of many pastry lovers' affections. Legions of loyal fans line up daily for the divine cinnamon/sugar-dusted sweet rolls, the flaky croissants, the rustic Paraguayan cornbread. Grab a good cup of coffee and relax on the mismatched tables and chairs. Chat with old friends or make some new ones; people love this place because it makes them feel at home.

Upper Crust Bakery
4508 Burnet Rd.
512/467-0102
www.theuppercrustbakery.com

photo by John Anderson

Best Barbecue

Bring the beer, bring the family, and belly up to the picnic table for family style servings of Texas BBQ and side dishes in a rustic country setting. The victuals will keep coming until you tell them to stop. The Roberts family has been smoking stellar brisket, ribs, and sausage for more than 20 years, and it's no wonder they have devoted fans all over the world.

The Salt Lick
18300 FM 1826, Driftwood, 512/858-4959
The Salt Lick Round Rock, 3350 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock, 512/386-1044
www.saltlickbbq.com

Best Breakfast

Years of breakfasts here have not dampened our ardor for the gingerbread pancakes. The coolest thing about Kerbey? Breakfast isn't just for breakfast - it's for daylight, nighttime, and late night. Whenever you need it, it's open. They are ready, willing, and 24-hours-able to flip your lid with those mammoth flapjacks.

Kerbey Lane Cafe
3704 Kerbey, 512/451-1436
13435 Hwy. 183 N. #415, 512/258-7757
2606 Guadalupe, 512/477-5717
4301 W. William Cannon, 512/899-1500
3003 S. Lamar, 512/445-4451
2120 N. Mays, Round Rock, 512/879-2827
701 Capital of TX Hwy. S., 512/879-2820
2200 Aldrich #100, 512/879-2818
www.kerbeylanecafe.com

Best Cake Decorators

The decorators at this campus-area cake shop aim to please. Famous for their signature creamy whipped frosting, they'll adorn cakes with butter cream flowers, chocolate-covered strawberries, Austin Powers lettering, pictures of Bevo, or your very best girl.

Best Caterer

Picture this: You're an Austin ad executive, and the President of the United States is coming to your house for dinner with a few hundred friends. You'll need a caterer with style and sophistication, of course, but also an organization that can deal with mountains of red tape, security clearances, and last-minute schedule changes resulting from natural disasters. Who do you call? Why, Word of Mouth partners Rebecca Wallace and Leslie Moore, of course. As the song says, they're the top.

Word of Mouth
2501 N. Lamar
512/472-9500
www.wordofmouthcatering.com

Best Coffeehouse

From its humble coffeehouse beginnings in the former home of the Terminex bug, Austin Java now seems poised to take over the world with locations both downtown and in the suburbs. We're still partial to the original Java near the ACC Rio Grande campus, where a serious student or a slacker can sip an espresso in funky comfort. We love the fresh roasted coffee and light fare in both Little City outlets, but we also find them to be fascinating places to appreciate local culture. Seated at a sidewalk table on Austin's main thoroughfare, coffee lovers can observe downtown's ever-changing nightlife. The view from the front window at the Drag location offers a whole different pageant altogether.

Best Diner

The stubborn funkiness of this roadside motel diner endears it to students, Gen X,Y,& Z night crawlers, and trend-spotters alike. With reliable, no-nonsense food and service that borders on the belligerent, Star Seeds exists in its own little world, and so many of our readers love to visit it.

Star Seeds Cafe
3101 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd
512/478-7107
www.starseedscafe.com

Best Grocery Store

We're downright smug about the fact that there aren't any grocery stores like our beloved Central Markets anywhere else in the world. Visiting chefs and out-of-town shoppers leave with wistful sighs and longings and we know why. It's a grocery store, it's a cafe with a live music venue, it's a bona-fide tourist attraction, but most of all, it's ours.

Central Market North
4001 N. Lamar, 512/206-1000
4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-4300
centralmarket.com

Best Lunch Deal

Hate that mad dash to get a good midday meal and get back to the office? Our readers know that picking up the phone and having Pizza Nizza deliver specialty pizzas (heavenly white sauce with artichoke hearts rules!), salads, and pastas, with plenty of ice-cold beer equals: no driving, no crowds, no problem! A deal that can't be beat. Kim Phung's overwhelming popularity is directly related to the concept of value received for the dining-out dollar. College students with insatiable appetites are elbow to elbow with hungry, harried business folks here at lunchtime. It's fresh, it's healthy, and the price is right. Those in the know slurp up the pho.

Kim Phung Chinese & Vietnamese Restaurant
7601-I N. Lamar
512/451-2464
www.kimphungaustin.com

Best Produce

Just when we're convinced they've thought of everything, the folks in the Central Market produce department come up with something new to entice us. We're fascinated with the custom-made mushroom shelves at the Westgate location, keeping the selection of exotic fungi fresh and delicious. We love the convenient packages of pre-cut stir-fry veggies and fresh juices pressed to order. We can't wait to sink our teeth into delicate champagne grapes or voluptuous elephant heart plumcots. If there's a produce section in heaven, it's probably like this.

Central Market North
4001 N. Lamar, 512/206-1000
4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-4300
centralmarket.com

Best Waitstaff

We Austinites thrive on diversity, which may be why we love the Trudy's waitstaff so darn much. From the waiter in khakes and glasses schlepping 'ritas and Coronas to the happy hour suits, to the waitress discussing her intimate piercings with two equally be-holed drinkers of Mexican martinis, this eclectic staff is quick with the chips and the smiles. With such swift service and titillating tales, we can't help but leave a fat tip.

Trudy's
Trudy's North Star, 8820 Burnet Rd., 512/454-1474
Trudy's Little Texas Lane, 901-C Little Texas Ln., 512/326-9899
www.trudys.com

 
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