The North University area didn't know it needed an upscale curry-and-pints gastropub, but chef Mark Schmidt has filled that niche beautifully. Go for the inventive salads or the raw bar, stay for the elegant preparations of rabbit, lamb, and beef. And don't dare skip the chocolate ganache tart, the stuff dessert dreams are made of.

Original chef Josh Watkins may have left, but his team carries on the legacy of high-quality, inventive New American cuisine – enhanced by friendly, professional service, an excellent wine list, fresh cocktails, and a serene atmosphere. Ideal for those seeking a fine-dining experience without Downtown parking hassles.

1900 University Ave.

John Anderson

Shelley Hiam

The germinating seed of Paul Qui's empire is still going strong, with two brick-and-mortar locations and an ever-expanding fleet of trucks and concepts, while holding the line with the classics. Want bánh mì hot dogs? Head to Cheer Up Charlies. Weird Japanese tacos? South Lamar's your huckleberry. The fusion ramen at Hole in the Wall edges out the internal competition.

The location in a historic 19th century stone building and a secluded dining patio are worthy attractions, but chef Evan LeRoy's slow-smoked meats and award-winning hot sauces, not to mention the bar's craft cocktails, keep people coming back.

photo by John Anderson

This campus-area eatery's confidence in sandwich artistry is demonstrated in the Ainsworth, a custom build comprised of your deli worker's choice of "the best ingredients of the day." Add a bag of Zapp's crunchy kettle-cooked chips and a cold can of microbrew, and we've got our favorite campus-area lunch spot.

Olamaie's stunning space – lovingly adorned in slate and pomp – set the stage for a revolving offering of local, seasonal fare. The menu represents pristine Southern charm steeped in contemporary artistry. Yes, the much-lauded biscuits with sea salt-dusted honey butter are indeed divine, but so is everything else. Splendid, really.

1610 San Antonio St.

Photo by John Anderson

Candice Gallion

The hook is this is New Haven-style "apizza," but we doubt neither Sally Consiglio nor Frank Pepe had such an ornery streak. Salvation plays with tradition, adding Texas touches like jalapeño and bacon, but they never forget the foundation. The clam pie is the real deal.

624 W. 34th

Texas may be the first word, but the focus is on the second. The bistro can fry perfect frites, turn out a sublime coq au vin, and whip up any sauce ending with "aise." It's not trendy, and the interior isn't sleek, but it's always at the tip of our tongue. We guess it just has a certain je ne sais quoi, y'all.

2900 Rio Grande

Photo by John Anderson

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.

1601 Guadalupe

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

John Anderson

2015 Intro

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