Downtown

Say mai oui to the unfussy French bistro fare at this sister restaurant to the Easy Tiger bakery, where you can always count on exceptionally crusty bread with flavored butters, moules frites, or a steak au poivre. Seasonally changing specials keep the menu from going stale. The metal chairs are too small for American butts, but a Parisian might feel right at home.

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A stellar craft beer lineup, a killer brunch complete with a michelada bar, and an alluring variety of sausages can be expected at Banger's. Try the jalapeño cheddar brat with an Austin Beerworks Black Thunder schwarz and better yet, add a plate of fried cheese curds to an order of poutine. It's more than acceptable to roll out.

79 Rainey
512/386-1656
bangersaustin.com

Chef David Bull didn't bring foie gras to Austin, but he surely helped evangelize it. Few other chefs use such precious ingredients in such a confident way, more matter-of-fact than "look-at-me." The cool kids always make it seem effortless.

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A pioneer in the effort to class up Waller Creek, this German biergarten-inspired bakery-cum-gastropub specializes in handcrafted breads and pastries (gotta love that spicy Tiger Claw) from head doughpuncher David Norman, and sausages, mustards, and delectable pastrami from the creative and ambitious chef Drew Curren. A meticulously curated selection of whiskeys and beers rounds out the sophisticated-yet-casual ethos.

The Linc, 6406 N. I-35 #1100
512/494-4151
easytigerusa.com

John Anderson

Chef James Robert will use a dazzling array of techniques in service of a simple chicharrón. The work pays off, Fixe's crispy beef tendon manages to be both featherweight and beefy, playful and refined. Why, it might even be a metaphor for their entire operation.

500 W. Fifth
512/888-9133
www.austinfixe.com

From the trio of guacamoles to the ceviches, elevated street fare, and wood-grilled entrées, you can't go wrong at this sexy, modern Mexican standby. The bar gets packed thanks to expertly made signature cocktails and a spectacular selection of tequila and mezcal, and the patio is perfect for people-watching any time of day.

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

John Anderson

Nestled among the often rowdy bars of the Rainey district, chef Iliana de la Vega's eatery is a sleek and refined oasis. El Naranjo serves fresh and contemporary renditions of the classic dishes of de la Vega's heritage, offering Mexican food aficionados something entirely new.

2717 S. Lamar #1085
512/520-5750
elnaranjorestaurant.com

The flagship restaurant of celebrated chef Shawn Cirkiel, parkside was the city's first gastropub. It's still the standard-bearer of local sourcing, both of grass-fed meats and organic produce, as well as a first-class seafood destination. The top-quality fare is worth braving Sixth Street.

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

John Anderson

Although barely 2 years old, this classy spot has garnered plenty of national attention with a fresh and playful cuisine that defies categorization. Local ingredients are widely used, portions are fit for sharing, the bar program is excellent, and service is always on. Great for brunch and happy hour, too.

315 Congress
512/482-8842
swiftsattic.com

Ruth can have her Chris. Chef Phillip Brown outruns the competition with prime dry-aged steaks, pork chops, scallops, and sides that are considered dishes themselves. The contemporary dining room and sophisticated desserts may surprise you.

301 San Jacinto
512/457-8325
www.vinceyoungsteakhouse.com

photo by John Anderson

David Brendan Hall

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
arloscurbside.com

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.

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John Anderson

 
Campus
East

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