Food
2013 Readers Poll
2013 Critics Picks

John Anderson

Best Artisan Food Company

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

Best Austin Food Landmark

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

photo by John Anderson

Best Barbecue

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

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
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
www.kerbeylanecafe.com

Best Breakfast Tacos

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
1500 Spyglass, 512/732-0303
4200 N Lamar Blvd., 512/419-1900
www.tacodeli.com

Best Burgers

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

Best Cheap Date

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

Best Chips & Salsa

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
1728 Barton Springs Rd., 512/474-4452
10520 N. Lamar, 512/836-3218
Chuy's Round Rock, 2320 N. I-35, Round Rock, 512/255-2211
4301 W. William Cannon, 512/899-2489
www.chuys.com

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

Best Desserts

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
11011 Research, 512/349-2200
3201 Bee Caves Rd., 512/519-3300
117 Louis Henna Blvd 130, Round Rock, 512/808-4300
4301 W William Cannon #210, 512/687-6800
www.cookiedelivery.com

Best Food Delivery

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

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
East Side King at the Liberty, 1618 E. Sixth
2310 S. Lamar #101, 512/383-8382
www.eskaustin.com

Nate Jackson

Best Fries

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

Best Ice Cream/Gelato

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
1012 W. Sixth, 512/480-0673
3500 Guadalupe, 512/458-6895
2805 Bee Caves Rd. #416, 512/328-2697
10000 Research #140, 512/345-1006
ABIA: Amy's Ice Creams, 3600 Presidential #20, 512/530-2918
1301 S. Congress, 512/440-7488
4477 S. Lamar #790, 512/891-0573
13265 Hwy. 183 N., 512/918-2697
3100 S. Congress Ste. 3-A, 512/851-2697
9600 S. I-35 Ste. 400-C, 512/282-2697
13420 Galleria Cir. Ste. 140-A, 512/263-2903
2901 S. Lamar, 512/447-2697
www.amysicecreams.com

John Anderson

Best Intimate Dining

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

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
1234 S. Lamar
www.ramen-tatsuya.com

John Anderson

Best Pizza

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

Best Restaurant Design/Interior

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

Sandy Carson

Best Restaurant of the Year

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

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

John Anderson

Best Sushi

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

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
2809 S. First, 512/444-0300
4301 W. William Cannon, 512/514-0767
4211 Spicewood Springs, 512/291-7277
1468 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 512/337-0997
5119 Burnet Rd., 512/382-0823
3005 S. Lamar, 512/614-1832
11521 FM 620 N., 512/381-8226
1801 E. 51st, 512/322-2411
301 N. Guadalupe, San Marcos, 512/757-8888
2150 E. Palm Valley, Round Rock, 512/381-0173
1311 S. First, 512/366-0537
1822 S. Congress
www.torchystacos.com

Best Vegan/Vegetarian

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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