Downtown

John Anderson

Comfy and independently owned, Austin Land & Cattle Company serves steaks that are succulent, tender, and cooked as-ordered, and you get three sides with your entrée (unlike the premium chains). There's a bustling bar scene after work for properly made cocktails. One downside: Parking can be a real bitch. – Mick Vann

1205 N. Lamar
512/472-1813
www.alcsteaks.com

Shawn Cirkiel brought serious dining back to Sixth Street with parkside, but he didn't stop there. The backspace – so tiny! – serves upscale Neapolitan-style pizza, a sweeping selection of antipasti (we swoon for the roasted apples with fennel, chili flake, and parsley), and a lovely Italian wine list. – Gracie Salem

507 San Jacinto
512/474-9899
www.thebackspace-austin.com

photo by John Anderson

John Anderson

This beloved bistro has set the bar for French cuisine in Austin for decades, transporting guests to another time and place. Prepare for an amazingly inviting wine list and classic dishes: crispy duck confit, pommes dauphines, and salade Lyonnaise with a delicately poached egg and lardons. – Gracie Salem

510 Neches
512/473-2413
www.cheznousaustin.com

The first Mex-Korean truck in the ATX still makes the best bulgogi tacos and kimchi fries in the city. And if you get the burger, by all means get the optional fried egg. – Claudia Alarcón

1509 S. Lamar
512/428-5269
www.chilantrobbq.com

On the short list of the very best in Austin. For a majestic night out, choose Congress. If you want a more casual affair, but still want inventive food, choose Second Bar + Kitchen. Either way, you get a grand meal by chef David Bull and his staff, supported by superb cocktails and a masterful wine list. – Wes Marshall

It sure is nice when a place opens with chutzpah and lots of press, and then lives up to all that buzz. This is the real deal. Highly-stylized look with an Old World menu of delectable bread-centric "provisions." Go big with the housemade bologna on pain au lait bread with pickles, mustard, and fried eggs. Wow. Historic Downtown seating, to boot. – Gracie Salem

709 E. Sixth
512/614-4972
www.easytigerusa.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

What's not to love about this quirky sausage emporium? Aside from off-the-wall gourmet hot dogs made from pork and its tasty friends (including vegan), Frank serves incredible coffee, well-made cocktails, and some of the best fried chicken in town. They host great entertainment, and support the arts and dog rescue organizations. – Claudia Alarcón

407 Colorado
512/494-6916
www.hotdogscoldbeer.com

Driving along the dusty super highways of India, you'll occasionally run into food places with shaded areas to sit, and the crowded ones will often offer exquisite food. My first sight of G'Raj Mahal transported me back. It wasn't illusory: G'Raj Mahal's food is authentic and just as good. Bonus: It's BYOB! – Wes Marshall

73 Rainey
512/480-2255
www.grajmahalaustin.com

photo by John Anderson

These trucks cater mainly to late night crowds looking for something to soak up the party, and the fluffy flat bread wraps do the trick. They come packed with tender, succulent meat or falafel and abundant tangy cucumber tzatziki sauce. Lighter fare includes hummus with pita triangles and a Turk salad. – Claudia Alarcón

1720 Barton Springs Rd.
512/394-6562
www.kebabalicious.com

Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki keep rocking my world with modern fare that reminds me of my hometown, including those awesome tacos Arábicos and El Califa, their homage to the popular Mexico City late-night spot. Add all kinds of groovy desserts and an ever-changing selection of craft cocktails, and you can't go wrong at this hip Second Street spot. – Claudia Alarcón

400-A W. Second
512/499-0300
www.lacondesa.com/austin

John Anderson

This tiny Downtown bistro flies under the radar when it comes to our ever-changing restaurant scene, yet it continues to delight with well-executed Italian classics and quaint elegance. Its close quarters can sometimes be too loud for dinner conversation, but that just adds to its NYC neighborhood trattoria feel. – Claudia Alarcón

314 Congress
512/479-8131
www.latraviatatx.com

The first of Larry McGuire's still-growing empire marries the low and simple style of traditional barbecue with the high style of Downtown dining. Wild boar ribs, cold smoked rainbow trout, fried strawberry pie. Sunday brunch is unbeatable. Live music upstairs. – Gracie Salem

401 W. Second
512/494-1500
www.lambertsaustin.com

Courtesy of McGuire Moorman Hospitality

Perched next to the Tiniest Bar in Texas, Lucky Puccia's (pronounced poo-chah) cranks out some of the city's heartiest sandwiches on toothsome traditional bread with wood-burning flavor. Order from the menu or build your own, but be sure to try the Puccia Contadina with sliced turkey, provolone, arugula, tomato, and olive tapenade. Feeling lucky, indeed. – Gracie Salem

Perched in the heart of Downtown, Manuel's has quietly made happy many a customer with Gulf Coast shimp, tomato, cilantro, avocado, and serrano chiles, or a Sunday brunch favorite: Sope Con Huevo Estrellado of grilled masa, black bean puree, arbol chiles, queso fresco, and an over easy egg. – Gracie Salem

310 Congress
512/472-7555
www.manuels.com

photo by John Anderson

With a name that reflects inspiration from both Austin and New York City, this chic little wine bar and restaurant has a very devoted following. The crowd comes for a diverse selection of wines by the glass and the bottle, craft beers on draft, and chef Kristine Kittrell's deft hand with innovative, locally sourced cuisine. Great happy hour, too. – Virginia B. Wood

Chef Iliana de la Vega operated a world-famous restaurant in Oaxaca. Lucky for us, she decided to make the move to Austin, where her classically modern restaurant and traditional Mexican cuisine are a huge hit. Hint: Park at the lot on Driskill and Rainey. – Wes Marshall

John Anderson

John Anderson

parkside's bar has an extensive collection of oysters and is a relaxing place to have a few cocktails. In the restaurant, there's a lively crowd and a fascinating menu. We never get past the appetizers and sides (marrow bones, crispy sweetbreads, broccolini) but we've mooched tastes of most of the entrées, and the verdict is in: parkside is a Sixth Street treasure. – Wes Marshall

301 E. Sixth
512/474-9898
www.parkside-austin.com

Eric Silverstein's busy truck is famous for JapaJam burgers, Yumé Dogs, and brisket barbecue sliders. Check the Web for daily locations or catch them at the Long Center hosting Trailer Food Tuesdays. – Virginia B. Wood

5520 Burnet Rd. #100
512/330-4439
www.thepeachedtortilla.com

We could talk about the beautiful dining area and bar, or emphasize the stellar wine list. But here's the honest truth. At least one person at your table has to get Perry's Famous Pork Chop. But "famous" is too vapid a term. Legendary. Mythical. Magnificent. Glorious. Stunning. Dazzling. Don't miss it. – Wes Marshall

114 W. Seventh
512/474-6300
www.perryssteakhouse.com

Although menu prices continue to escalate, it's hard to find a more fun place to watch the game while enjoying cold beer and good Louisiana-style food. On a sunny day, the patio overlooking the creek is hard to beat, and it's also a favorite spot for seasonal crawfish boils. – Claudia Alarcón

909 N. Lamar
512/474-0805
www.shoalcreeksaloon.com

It's been a year since doors opened, but the all-star team of Clouser, Northcutt, Speer, and Chin keeps upping the ante with playful cuisine, delectable desserts, appropriate libations, and excellent service. The atmosphere can get boisterous, but a night at Swift's promises both a memorable meal and a super fun time. – Claudia Alarcón

315 Congress
512/482-8842
www.swiftsattic.com

We've been enjoying this locavore-centric eatery for some time now, from Joyce Garrison's award-winning cocktails to Janina O'Leary's spectacular desserts. With veteran chef Lawrence Kocurek now at the helm of the kitchen, we can't wait to see what's next for our favorite pre-Moody Theater spot. – Claudia Alarcón

200 Lavaca
512/542-3660
www.traceaustin.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

The top chefs in Austin respect chef Elmar Prambs for his longevity (27 years at the Four Seasons!) and his consistent track record producing some the city's most elegant fare. The services of chef de cuisine Grant Macdon­ald, chef Javier Franco, super-sommelier Mark Sayre, and the setting overlooking Lady Bird Lake round out the experience. – Wes Marshall

98 San Jacinto
512/685-8300
www.trioaustin.com

If you ask an Austinite where to eat vegan food, 99.9% of the time, the immediate response is, “Arlo’s!” Plant-based but designed with carnivores in mind, the menu caters to late-night cravings, and they’ve absolutely mastered the art of meatless cheeseburgers with their famous Bac’n Cheezeburger. That Frito pie ain’t nothing to sneeze at either, friends. To really let you in on how special their trio of curbside eateries is, consider this: Arlo’s is the very first food trailer and only the second plant-based kitchen inducted into our First Plates Hall of Fame. Austin’s plant-based comfort food baby is all grown up now. Inducted in 2019.

900 Red River
512/840-1600
www.arlostruck.com

David Brendan Hall

John Anderson

Comfort, warmth, and a dash of romance makes this little bistro live up to its name. Started by three Parisian friends in 1982, it’s a classic take on traditional French fare, and an excellent spot for relishing in conversation over escargots de Bourgogne and bubbles while hidden away from the Downtown melee. Inducted in 2017.

510 Neches
512/473-2413
www.cheznousaustin.com

 
Campus Area
East

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