North and Northwest

photo by John Anderson

No trip to Asia Cafe goes unrewarded, especially if you're into ridiculously authentic Sichuan cuisine. The reasonably priced portions are huge, which accommodates family-style dining nicely. Our family favorites are the spicy fish and chicken in XO sauce, and we love the happy chaos of the perpetually packed dining room. – Melanie Haupt

8650 Spicewood Springs Rd. #115

Once situated in Sunset Valley, Austin's only locally owned Brazilian steakhouse recently relocated to the Arboretum. Friendly gauchos slice off hunks of lamb chops, filet mignon, and picanha (bottom sirloin) until you beg for mercy; there's also an extensive salad bar for the vegetarians who lost the coin toss on dinner. – Melanie Haupt

10000 Research

photo by John Anderson

Think about the sandwich joint near your office. Does it have a line out the door every day? If not, you probably don't work in Cedar Park along 620, with easy access to sandwiches on scratch-made bread, boasting housemade charcuteries (including duck pastrami), pickles, and slaws. Life is so unfair. – Melanie Haupt

12233 RR 620 N. #105

Nestled in the back corner of the Research Boulevard shopping center amid neighbors Din Ho Chinese BBQ and Sunflower, Ramen Tatsu-ya is hands-down the year's hottest new restaurant. The house-made noodles are tender, the broth is velvety and plentiful, and the decor is a fascinating blend of modern and rustic. – Melanie Haupt

8557 Research #126

photo by John Anderson

In an unassuming strip mall north of 620, in the shadow of both a Panera and a SuperTarget, this earnest little Thai joint goes light-years beyond pad thai with daring treatments of pork, beef, and seafood. Not every dish is perfect, but when Spin is good, it is very, very good. – Melanie Haupt

14005 Hwy. 183 N. #1000

Taquerias are a dime a dozen in this town, but only a handful are truly priceless. Among the treasures here are the carnitas, the cabrito consommé, the pastor, and the famed salsa bar featuring six fresh salsas and assorted condiments. Come for the $2 tacos, stay for the aguas frescas. – Melanie Haupt

9414 Parkfield Dr.

photo by John Anderson

John Anderson

It's possible that there are menu items beyond bánh mì at Tâm Deli, but it's damn near impossible to get past its ideal marriage of warm grilled pork, crispy-cool carrots and jalapeños, and tender baguette. Top it off with a couple of cream puffs and a Vietnamese coffee, and you've got a near-perfect lunch. – Melanie Haupt

8222 N. Lamar Ste. D-33

From the moment you spot the rows of roasting ducks hanging in the foyer, you know Din Ho is here to party. This northern mall Chinese favorite would earn their place in the hall of fame for their whole roasted pig alone, but, honestly, you can’t go wrong with the pea shoots either. Inducted in 2018.

8557 Research #116

Photo by John Anderson

Old West Austin

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