Abo Youssef Mediterranean Food

John Anderson

Operating out of a brightly decorated Airstream, Abo Youssef is as cheerful as the food it serves is delicious. Look for enormous platters of shawarma, gyros, and falafel, plus cucumber salad, legendary lemon mint tea, homemade hummus, and some of the best tzatziki in town.

2101 Manor Rd.

Blue Dahlia Bistro

John Anderson

Blue Dahlia’s array of inexpensive tartines, lush salads, and decadent desserts make it a perennial favorite for Mother’s Day brunch. But it also happens to be the ideal place to throw back a bottle of Pinot during happy hour. It’s good that you two can finally agree on something.

1115 E. 11th, 512/542-9542


John Anderson

We’re not saying you want all the drama of George Cukor’s 1939 classic The Women, but we bet you wouldn’t turn down an invitation to its dude ranch. At Contigo, you don’t need to be a socialite in town for a quickie divorce. But if you wrap yourself in a Mexican blanket, order an El Pepino and a skillet of rabbit & dumplings, you’ll feel as glamorous as one.

2027 Anchor, 512/614-2260

Dai Due Butcher Shop & Supper Club

John Anderson

A lot of Austin restaurateurs talk the locavore talk, but few walk it as religiously as Dai Due’s Jessie Griffiths. Everything at his eatery and butcher shop comes from around these parts – from the wine and beer to the proteins to the tea. That in itself is enough of a reason to go and go often. It also helps that their Sunday fried chicken dinner is so good you’ll forget to be upset your weekend’s over.

2406 Manor Rd., 512/524-0688

Franklin Barbecue

John Anderson

If you don’t know about Franklin by now, we’ll gladly send this in a letter to that rock you’ve been living under. That brisket is witchcraft – good enough to convince us to wait for hours and (gasp) start up conversations with complete strangers. You’ll want to get all your chattiness out in the line anyway. Once you reach the end, you’ll be speechless.

900 E. 11th, 512/653-1187

Hillside Farmacy

John Anderson

The Thonet chairs, penny tiles, and art nouveau wallpaper in the dining room of Hillside Farmacy might convince you that you’ve traveled back in time. And, truth be told, the facial hair of the clientele certainly won’t tell you different. But with a sprightly farm-to-table menu and a view of the hippest stretch of East 11th, this cafe is anything but old hat.

1209 E. 11th, 512/628-0168

Kyoten Sushiko

John Anderson

Some Austin sushi places are all flash and no substance. At Kyoten Sushiko, you get the opposite of all that. The dining room is austere, and chef Otto Phan does not spend much time glad-handing, but none of that really matters. The toro with fresh wasabi or the Miyazaki A5 Wagyu will demand all your attention anyway.

4600 Mueller Blvd #1035, 512/888-7559

L'oca d'oro

John Anderson

You’re not going to find meatballs drowning in red gravy and endless breadsticks at this casually upscale Italian restaurant. But you outgrew all that somewhere around your 18th birthday. Celebrate the pleasures of adulthood with chef Fiore Tedesco’s locally sourced, seasonal dishes (the wood-roasted mushroom lasagna is already legendary) and botanical cocktails – all served by fairly paid workers in a breathtakingly beautiful space.

1900 Simond, 737/212-1876

Old Thousand

John Anderson

At this stunner, old-school can mean a few things: the care they put into their modern takes on Chinese classics like mapo tofu, clay pot pork belly, and congee; the hip-hop vibe that informs everything from the decor to the soundtrack; even the cheeky names of the cocktails. Put together, they remind us that dining out should be fun. That’s about as old-school as you can get.

1000 E. 11th #150, 737/222-6637


John Anderson

On a spring evening, there is something magical about sipping on a glass of rosé and watching the neighborhood go by. But if you live in certain parts of East Austin, you want to be able to see it from your front porch. The gang is all at Patrizi’s, scarfing down handmade semolina pasta with vibrant pomodoro and beef fat toast covered with grana at a boho backyard party where everybody gets an invitation.

2307 Manor Rd., 512/522-4834

Salty Sow

John Anderson

While some of us at the Chronicle Food section care about the difference between Kylie and Kendall and some of us are still hoping Lindsay Lohan will finally make it through the storm, there is one thing that brings us together. The duck fat fries – only $5.50 at happy hour – are GOAT.

1917 Manor Rd., 512/391-2337

Unit-D Pizzeria

John Anderson

This Manor Road staple is like a long-distance lover: always on your mind, delicious every time, but only available for dinner. Their Neapolitan pies feature quirky toppings like sweety drop peppers and cauliflower, and a delightful menu of ambitious sides, salads, and desserts. Pencil in this hot spot every chance you get, especially on the $2 pint night.

2406 Manor Rd., 512/524-1922

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