Lower East

John Anderson

The intimate and cozy (read: tiny) Bufalina consistently offers up well-executed, seasonal pies that are well worth the wait. And you will wait. The steady stream of patrons filing in to the willfully understated dining room speaks fondly to their delectable, wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizzas. The dough shines here. As it should.

1519 E. Cesar Chavez
512/524-2523
www.bufalinapizza.com

Chef Sonya Coté's darling offers weekly showcases of fine cuisine created directly from the farm's bounty. Al fresco dining gives a delightful glamping vibe, complete with twinkle lights, chickens, and charm.

755 Springdale
512/428-6500
www.edeneastaustin.com

Photo by John Anderson

This much-discussed newbie is the intersection of maximilism and minimalism. Beautifully presented bites, small plates, and entrées might employ a bounty of hay and hazelnut or squid ink and sorrel, but each mouthful is a testament to a love for freshness and simplicity.

There's much to admire in chef Chad Dolezal's cocktail-friendly menu. He's a wizard with hanger steak and just as adept with tofu and green beans. But if he only served those fried chickpeas, we'd still be back every week. We're not ashamed to admit we have a problem.

1209 E. Seventh
512/524-1448
thehightower.com/

Only Ree Drummond has done more to glamorize the ranch. But unlike the celeblogger, owner Adam Jacoby has some bona fides. The prime beef raised for the restaurant comes from his folk's land. And that fine-tuned sense of hospitality is another family tradition.

3235 E. Cesar Chavez
512/366-5808
www.jacobysaustin.com

Whether you're there for one of their elaborate, raucous parties, or a quiet, late-night dinner, an evening at Justine's makes you feel like a celebrity. It's a hideaway you always hoped others didn't find out about, but the secret's out: The great wine list, enchanting atmosphere, and divine steak tartare rightfully earn our praise.

4710 E. Fifth
512/385-2900
www.justines1937.com

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Holy mackerel! It's difficult not to use a few mild expletives when describing Kyoten's battera. It's that dang good. That perfect cuts of extraordinarily fresh, ecologically responsible fish can come out of a tiny kitchen is perhaps our town's best indication that we're not quite done with food trucks.

La Barbecue brings out all the staples you'd expect in a barbecue joint – brisket, pulled pork, turkey, sausage, ribs, with sides like buttermilk potato salad rounding out the meat-centric spread. Pitmaster John Lewis, who honed his skills at Franklin Barbecue, cooks from a pit of his own design and his ingenuity reveals itself in every juicy, smoky bite.

2027 E. Cesar Chavez
512/605-9696
www.labarbecue.com

Kenny Pailes

John Anderson

laV

The elegant yet approachable laV has been a game changer, helping to establish a fine-dining scene on the Eastside. Run by one of the most talented trio of ladies in town, the elegant dining room offers expertly prepared Provençal cuisine complemented by refined and knowledgeable service and one of the most impressive French wine cellars in town.

The hospitality served up at this East Sixth bungalow has captured our hearts, and the authentic Mexico City dishes have captured our stomachs. When you're here, you're treated like família, invited into mama Licha's home for her flor de jamaica blue-corn quesadillas and orange-chipotle chicken sopecitos. Happy hour on their festive patio also can't be beat.

1306 E. Sixth
512/480-5960
www.lichascantina.com

Photo by John Anderson

qui

Tom Colicchio called Paul Qui the "most talented chef" to ever compete on Top Chef. Duh, Tom, tell us something we didn't know. We are just glad we can get to his wildly original flagship restaurant by a cab ride.

Cheeky chef Erica Waksmunski gave the Austin restaurant scene an old-fashioned poke in the eye with the launch of Red Star. From quirky vegan renditions of meatloaf to fried chicken that would bring a tear to your mee-maw's eye, this Airstream transports you to the Southern upbringing you never had.

photo by John Anderson

Sleek design meets old-world butchery at this unassuming Eastside spot. With plentiful craft beer options and a hearty menu (lunch, brunch, and dinner) ranging from small plates to honkin' entrées, there's something for almost every palate. And yes, they do have great vegetarian options.

1912 E. Seventh
512/524-1383
www.saltandtime.com

Most famous for their vegan Reuben, this all-vegetarian Jewish deli trailer is almost out of sight behind Farewell Books and Flat Track Coffee, but serves up some of the best falafel this side of the Mediterranean. Rotating varieties of homemade kombucha and an incredible vegan potato salad seal the deal for one of our favorite lunch spots.

photo by John Anderson

Thai-Kun's uncompromising cuisine should come with a warning. When they say "hot," they don't mean a deseeded jalapeño was chopped somewhere within a three-mile vicinity of the truck. They mean that they used enough heat to get your endorphins going. Few other Austin restaurants can get you that high.

1816 E. Sixth (at Whisler's)
512/422-5884
thaikun.com/

The Detroit-style pizzeria has us hooked on their foccacia-style four-cornered crusts and caramelized-cheese edges. Combinations like prosciutto, fig, gorgonzola, and balsamic glaze have us lined up at this trailer, often 10 people deep, regardless if it's 40 degrees out or 100. A second trailer on Rainey Street now means more bar-hoppers get a piece of the pie.

Photo by John Anderson

Since 1961, the Avila family has been providing Austinites with some of the best greasy spoon Tex-Mex in the 512, with homey takes on classics like huevos rancheros, breakfast tacos, and, of course, their infamous hangover-busting menudo. Make sure to stop by the bakery out front for a concha after breakfast. Inducted in 2018.

2305 E. Seventh
512/472-0017
www.joesbakery.com

 
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