Chef Josh Watkins' menu of New American dishes uses pristinely fresh local food and the best of the rest. Insiders know it's one of the top spots in town. Serving all three meals, dinner is where they really shine. Treat yourself to Josh's tasting menu and you'll be blown away. – Mick Vann
1900 University Ave.
Top-notch ingredients form really delicious breakfasts, lunch sandwiches and salads, and simple dinners (Thu.-Sat. only). The food leans towards the healthy, but retains its yum quotient. The vibe is heavily hipster, but the food delivers the goods with aplomb. – Mick Vann
616 W. 34th
Paul, DeeAnn, and Jamil opened in 2006 and they just get better with time. Bread from Mi Tradicion matched with great fillings makes for creative, high-quality sandwiches. Expansion since the move to 24th Street has created a sandwich monster that can't be stopped. – Mick Vann
Hopfields is a magnetic beacon that draws in the craft beer crowd, then seduces them with great nibbles, bodacious burgers (and killer frites), with good prices for everything and a happy staff. From the street, you'd never expect the comfy feel inside. – Mick Vann
Want Thai near Campus? Mam's is the Drag option for authentic Thai, as spicy as you want it, with good-sized portions for the price. The expansive menu has some real treasures that seldom get explored by the contented fried rice crowd. – Mick Vann
Jeff Blank's tortilla wraps, filled with proteins coated in breakfast cereal, took off like an Austin street-food comet. You've probably had one at ACL or SoCo; now they are at the Rancho Rita trailer park and just as popular as ever. – Mick Vann
1720 Barton Springs
In Dobie Mall and on the Drag, VERTS is sucking in students with the all-powerful and portable German-Turkish döner kebab wrap, with "fresh" as their mantra. Big-taste sauces, inclusive options, and affordable prices add to the allure (plus, you can eat it while walking). – Mick Vann
Royers has expanded from Round Top up to the old Toy Joy spot, where they're serving great baked goods and pastries alongside savory and sweet pies with a decadent, buttery crust. Bobbi's Bisquits and the Sin-namon pecan rolls are freakishly good. – Mick Vann
Ruby's recently celebrated their 25th anniversary on the Drag, all those years cooking quality meats and making them shine. The eclectic menu also offers collards, mac and cheese, sandwiches, tacos, Cajun fare, and even veggie chili. It's not all about the oak smoke, but the smoky stuff coming out of the brick pits rocks. – Mick Vann
This longtime, newly remodeled family bakery now serves tasty dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The kitchen turns out delish, locavore bistro fare at night from a menu based on what's available at the farmers' markets. Rustic and homey, TFB – its food and its prices – fits the neighborhood like a comfy, snug glove. – Mick Vann
The devilish imp reigns supreme over the Drag's taco scene, with inventive combinations that appeal to the masses and salsas that are like crack to the endorphin-deprived. Prices are high for taco fare, but you get quality for what you pay. – Mick Vann
Vegetarians and spice lovers rejoice when they walk into the sumptuous, aromatic interior of the Clay Pit. Although sticklers for authenticity may disagree, this restaurant has elevated Indian cuisine for Austin. If you’re around for lunch, make sure to check out their buffet, where you can indulge for a very economical price. Inducted in 2018.
Once, on a first date in their original location off North MoPac, we may or may not have mistaken their oshibori (warm towel) as a complimentary facial, only to be gently guided by the angelic server to cleanse our hands before dinner. This is the kind of classy operation that is Musashino, which opened in 1993 and has become the origin story of several local superstars: Tyson Cole of Uchi/Uchiko/Loro; Kazo Fukumoto of his eponymous restaurant; Ramen Tatsu-ya’s owners/chefs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto. The Tokyo-style restaurant, now in the former Fino spot in West Campus, is known for creating some of the most elegant pieces of Edomae-style sushi this side of Japan. In addition to an impossibly fresh, stunning traditional menu, they offer a wide assortment of modern twists, and an omakase option. After spending so much time in loungewear at home, we cannot think of a better reason to dust off the jacket and black dress than dining at this world-class establishment. Inducted in 2021.
2905 San Gabriel St. #200
The Detroit Tigers may be in a rebuilding phase this season (fingers crossed!), but this Detroit-style pizza has enraptured Austin since the Hunt brothers’ first trailer opened in 2011. The cheesy, crunchy, thick signature squares topped with just the right amount of marinara are to credit for their now legendary winning streak, but the thinner bar-style pies will also have you happy-heckling the kitchen. Don’t skip their bonkers pizza collaborations featuring special toppings like Garbo’s lobster, la Barbecue’s cold-smoked ham, and Michi’s ramen. And if you don’t end up with meatballs on your pizza (do it), grab the appetizer version before you succumb to all the cheese. Bonus points for a seriously solid gluten-free crust. Inducted in 2019.
3016 Guadalupe #100
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