In present-day Austin, we often forget that good isn’t a synonym for unaffordable. Asiana’s lunch buffet doesn’t require a late credit card payment, but it’s stocked with saag paneer, and lamb vindaloo, and rotating specials – in short, a showpiece for everything the bare-bones restaurant has to offer. If you don’t leave stuffed, you don’t love food.
801 E. William Cannon #205
All the Cajun classics are here – gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée, red beans and rice – but owner/chef Curtis Clarke’s less traditional creations like Gold Band Creole (huge fried butterflied shrimp served on fettuccine with a spicy aïoli and a titular strip of Parmesan) steal the show. The frequent live music keeps things rockin’.
The beef cheeks are braised for hours, the pork belly is cured in-house, and the brioche are baked on-site. Independence didn’t have to do any of that – after all, we are talking about sandwiches – but the effort pays off in some of the best food in all of South Austin.
In Texas, eschewing barbecue traditions is risky, but Valentina’s pulls off the rare feat of marrying tortillas and smoked meats with such finesse that even the grouchiest salt-and-pepper stalwarts could be convinced that fusion isn’t a dirty word. Bonus points for bringing barbecue into the realm of breakfast and offering the best pre-11am brisket in town.
11500 Menchaca Rd.
In the preliminary round of the Chronicle’s breakfast taco competition, Veracruz beat out Torchy’s 60% to 40% – no easy feat. In addition to excellent Mexican hand pies, Veracruz slings incredible tortas, and the original location on Cesar Chavez still whips up fresh fruit smoothies and aguas frescas.
4208 Menchaca Rd.
Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin. Support the Chronicle