When Apothecary first opened, it had the feel of a bohemian, if slightly generic, coffee shop. My, how times have changed. The sophisticated new interior (in Dorothy Draper gray) is only matched by the assured food. It's a perfect perch for oysters and bubbles.
A perfect little slice of Italian dining culture in a casual, modern spot, Asti is a place where neighbors can meet and share apps and wine, pasta and mains (luscious carbonara and braised shortribs), and always-creative sides. It's also ideal for aperitifs and dessert after an evening stroll.
408-C E. 43rd
Since 2012, chef Sarah McIntosh has been gracefully translating the French cafe to an Austin audience. That means on-point salads with seasonal and local ingredients, très bon macarons, and richly marbled charcuterie. And oh, that cheese. Fantastique!
The first major Interior Mexican restaurant in the country will celebrate 40 years in 2015, still presenting exquisite versions of Mexican regional classic dishes in a graceful hacienda that boasts an enviable, museum-quality collection of Mexican folk art.
2330 W. North Loop
This cozy and unpretentious neighborhood bistro with an open kitchen regularly puts out some of the most original food in town. Chef-owner Ned Elliott also has a flare for networking with other young chefs around the country, generously hosting pop-ups that showcase emerging national talent.
306 E. 53rd
Austinites will wrap anything in a tortilla, but somehow chef Casey Fannin's tacos still manage to surprise. Fork's broad palate and thoughtfully sourced ingredients are our favorite example of "think global, act local."
If you have a hankering for Japanese comfort food, this star of Airport Boulevard serves the real deal. From hearty ramen bowls to super fresh, signature sushi, Také and Kayo Asazu's home-style darling always excels. Expect superb teishoku, a new happy hour menu, and a happy belly.
5301 Airport Blvd.
Deli food isn't a particularly hot topic on the Austin dining scene, but Melvin's is an example of why we should be paying closer attention. For a little over two years, Melinda and Kevin Ellis have mastered the art of the monster sandwich, from house-cured pastrami Reubens to delightfully gooey croque monsieurs. Wear your loosest pants for lunch.
On a recent lunch visit to Michi Ramen, the place was packed with diners wanting a reprieve from the cold weather. But you don't have to wait for an arctic chill; Michi is a welcome respite in any season. Even in our blisteringly hot summer, you'll still welcome the warm fuzzies.
6519 N. Lamar
Noble Sandwich has redefined our ideas of what a sandwich can and should be, elevating the genre to high art. The snappy duck pastrami with Russian dressing has become legendary among food cognoscenti. Stick-to-your-ribs breakfasts include luscious biscuits and gravy, as well as sweet and savory waffles.
Our love affair with this food trailer empire began with bánh mì tacos. Now their new brick-and-mortar has won us over with an artful blending of Asian and Southern cuisines. Dishes like Southern Fun – a take on chow fun noodles with brisket – and an impressive whiskey program have us praising this peach.
5520 Burnet Rd. #100
Named for an old railroad station, this Austin original helped rehab an old North Lamar shopping center, Violet Crown. Pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick is all about that meat, but the craft beer, uber-cheesy mac and cheese, lemon-vinaigrette slaw, and home-style peach cobbler will make you feel better than McConaughey at the Moontower.
6610 N. Lamar
Our city waited with bated breath for Titaya's 2.0 to finally reopen. It's shinier and has some tasty new dishes, but our favorites – tom yum gai and green curry – are just as delicious as before. Long lines are common, but there's always takeout. In or out, make sure to try the fried banana roll and house-made coconut ice cream.
5501 N. Lamar Ste. C-101
A relic of Austin's past, this old-timey burger joint has legions of dedicated fans who love their no-frills, classic char-grilled burgers, superb onion rings, and crispy, juicy fried chicken. The ultra-cool curb service stations are great, but dine inside for an awesome trip down memory lane.
7525 Burnet Rd.
One of the new pleasures of the still-glittering Uchiko is a monthly vegetarian omakase. Where other fine-dining empires might rest on laurels, Tyson Cole's upscale farmhouse is still working for their raves, sending out revelations like a sunflower-seed risotto.
4200 N. Lamar
In 2001, Chronicle readers voted this Hyde Park mainstay the Best New Restaurant in our annual Restaurant Poll. Customers haven’t stopped raving since. It’s rare for a restaurant to have longevity over a more than 15-year span; it’s rarer still when a restaurant still feels relevant. Inducted in 2016.
408-C E. 43rd
When we talk about restaurateurs that helped put Austin on the food city map, multiple James Beard Award finalist Bryce Gilmore – executive chef and co-owner of Barley Swine, Odd Duck, and Sour Duck Market – is up there with the best. In 2009, back when our farmers’ markets were small and the food truck scene was still gestating, Gilmore and his brother refurbed an old trailer and opened fan-favorite Odd Duck, serving only local produce and utilizing whole animals. Gilmore’s acclaimed fine dining restaurant Barley Swine opened the next year, spotlighting his dedication to seasonal ingredients with an always exquisite tasting menu, and the crowds went wild. The continuous efforts to celebrate local ranchers and farmers, and up the ante with casual sister restaurant Sour Duck Market, an annual almanac, and a carbon neutral initiative, are forever seared in our hearts. Inducted in 2021.
6555 Burnet Rd. #400
Serving regional Mexican cuisine since 1975, Fonda San Miguel is as much of an Austin icon as it is a great happy hour spot. The walls of the expansive hacienda-style space showcase a fine gallery of Mexican art, and the dishes served are equally remarkable. Do not visit without ordering a ceviche and house margarita. Inducted in 2016.
2330 W. North Loop
We suppose there’s a sentiment around 24-hour diners like Kerbey Lane that inevitably boils down to “it’s open,” but there are spoons that rise above the greasiness. Most of the locations maintain those endless hours (keep them in your thoughts), and Kerbey Lane has been doing this town a public service for going on 40 years, feeding their wonderfully absorbent and delicious array of pancakes to patrons needing a particular brand of restorative. We recommend starting with the Cowboy Queso before moving on to the California Omelet. In a town that constantly reckons with its identity, Kerbey’s recent expansion into the Mueller community solidifies and expands on its role as a particular and much-needed cultural and culinary mainstay. Inducted in 2019.
Long before Korean food was a popular cuisine in the Austin restaurant scene, Korea House opened in 1988, and legions of fans, new and old, still frequent what is considered the first Korean restaurant in town. Outside seating overlooking a lovely koi pond, twinkly lights, and peaceful music all contribute to their wonderful ambience, but it’s the delicious and consistent food that keeps customers coming back. While the menu continues to expertly execute classic dishes like bibimbap, galbi, and seafood pajeon – and helped introduce banchan and one of the world’s greatest condiments, kimchi, to many diners – they’re set on maintaining the magic with new concepts like family meal kits for budae jjigae and Korean-style barbecue (both grilled and DIY). We’re big fans of this delightful place. Inducted in 2021.
2700 W. Anderson Ln. #501
Did you know that this Austin institution supplies many of your favorite restaurants with fresh Gulf seafood? Even better, their own menu will satisfy just about any seafood craving you’ve got: peel-n-eat shrimp, grilled Texas black drum, and buttery lobster. Plus, they’ve got that family reunion-style mac & cheese you not-so-secretly love. Inducted in 2017.
Calling Eddie Wilson’s down-home restaurant an institution is an understatement. Generations of Austinites have downed a beer (or two) at Threadgill’s while feasting on chicken-fried steaks that are as legendary as the musicians who performed there. The massive selection of sides still makes us hoot and holler. Inducted in 2016.
We’ve sampled so many delicious selections from this incredibly popular Thai restaurant, from yum nuer (a wonderfully spicy variant on steak salad) to endless combinations of fried rice and a selection of curry that has no equal. But there are two dishes (both staff favorites) that we return to time and time again: the pork garlic mixed peppercorn, with its wonderfully seasoned meat and vibrant spinach salad, and the Ta-lay Dancing, a three-chile-hot seafood, mushroom, tomato, and onion medley in tom yum sauce. Add to that the skillful and eternally effusive waitstaff who cover the comfortably cozy space with an ease that mimics a flawless dance routine, and you have all the makings of a perfect dining experience. Inducted in 2019.
5501 N. Lamar Ste. C-101
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