Step out of your burger and breakfast taco comfort zone and embrace the easygoing Brazilian vibes of this food truck. If you’ve had Brazilian food before, you probably already know about Boteco, and if you haven’t, let Boteco’s coxinhas (Brazilian croquettes), fresh mango juice, and Sunday feijoada convince you that ramen isn’t the only international food Austin can brag about.
1209 E. Sixth
Steven Dilley’s obsessive devotion to quality is the hallmark of this beloved Neapolitan pizza joint. The dough is expertly aged, perfectly chewy and nutty; the seasonally rotating toppings are fresh and frequently local; the wine list is unique and scrupulously compiled; and the house-made mozzarella is to die for. Go early and stay late.
1519 E. Cesar Chavez
We were sad to see Gardner close without enough time in the sun, but the truth is that replacement Chicon isn’t really much of a change. Chef Andrew Wiseheart’s cooking here still does innovative things with vegetables. It still feels suitably grown up. Only the trappings have changed from Scandinavia to Santa Fe.
We try to eat healthy, but to be honest a lot of health food tastes like sawdust and dirt. Curcuma chef/owner Rachel Musquiz has found a better way. Everything is plant-based, and friendly to those eating paleo or gluten-free. And just because there is a list of ingredients that they don’t use doesn’t mean you’ll ever feel like you are missing out.
2207 E. Cesar Chavez
The Dee Dee Northern Thai trailer is a family affair. Lakana Trubiana kicks out the jams in the back while husband Justin helps customers navigate the entrées at the order window. Their om gai – a spicy, brothy, dill-laden chicken dish – is perfect for sweating out a hangover, and the damn good tofu stir-fry is far from a vegetarian afterthought. Sharable boats of mango sticky rice and papaya salad round out the limited offerings, but we couldn’t ask for anything more.
4204 Menchaca Rd.
The Peelander Yellow graffiti on the outside of the food truck is sure to capture anyone’s attention, but we’re more intrigued with what’s inside. The neighborhood may look very different from when ESK first opened, but some things don’t ever change. The beet fries, pork buns, and brussels sprouts are still kicking it.
1618 E. Sixth
Sonya Coté’s farm-to-table wonderland still specializes in fancy fresh. You can’t go wrong with the lovely prix fixe option (with complimentary Deep Eddy cocktails!), but their Saturday breakfast is a lovely choice, too – especially when paired with a stroll through Springdale Farm’s market.
Chef Kazu Fukumoto’s focus on intricately composed izakaya classics combines a menu of Edomae sushi with yakitori specialties like toe to tail chicken parts marinated in sugar and soy, pork belly, and bacon/asparagus skewers. All of it is grilled over Japanese oak branches and all of it demands to be accompanied by a couple of glasses of grassy saké.
With its bright beachy decor and Tex-Mex meets traditional Mexican cuisine, dining at Grizzelda’s feels like spring break in Cancún, only with better food, decidedly better booze, and way less embarrassing memories. Their equally fun cocktail menu features the playful mezcal-based “Bad Girl Ri Ri” and the vodka and banana liqueur “Tropic Thunder.” We won’t judge if you let out a few celebratory “woooooos!”
For $6 you can buy a scratched record or maybe part of a Tidal subscription. We prefer to hear the angels sing when we spend it on ceviche. Chef Chad Dolezal puts the happy in happy hour by discounting some of his most sought-after small plates like peanut butter brussels sprouts or three-cheese queso fundido – all of it for less than you used to spend on a Third Eye Blind CD.
Some folks start their Sunday organizing the week ahead or strapped to some infernal workout machine. We’re sorry, but those people just ain’t that bright. The smart set is at Jacoby’s, pouring syrup from a hobnail milk glass bottle onto a heaping plate full of chicken-fried steak & waffles and washing it all down with one of the best Bloody Marys in town.
3235 E. Cesar Chavez
The atmosphere at this French brasserie is sexy enough that it can almost convince you that you are having dinner on the Rive Gauche instead of the Eastside. The actual food is almost beside the point, but you’ll be glad that the steak frites are as tasty as the cocktails. Justine’s continues to impress and get better with age like Catherine Deneuve or a fine bottle of wine. Ooh la la.
4710 E. Fifth
When it seemed like Ramen Tatsu-ya couldn’t possibly impress Japanese food lovers more, they launched a buzzing drinks & small-plates concept to enthusiastic reception. In this eclectic crossover between a Texas roadhouse and an izakaya, they serve up smoke-kissed dishes designed to pair with sakés, cocktails, and cold beer. There’s something for all adventure levels, from the BBQ Boat to the downright funky shiokara and stingray fin.
2713 E. Second
You might have to stand in line at la Barbecue. This is a good thing, because once you get to the front, place your first order (say, the Chi-Town Pinta, an unholy amalgam of a Chicago-style street dog and a late-night L.A. bacon-wrapped gutbuster), consume it, and then rapidly decide you want to try something else (la Frito Loco sounds good, doesn’t it?), you’ll have plenty of time to digest while you wait for round two.
2027 E. Cesar Chavez
Chefs Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki have created the near-impossible – a restaurant that is simultaneously effortless and special. The menu feels upscale, but the space is comfy and convivial, and there’s something for everyone, from kids on a family outing to courting lovers on a first date. Be sure to save room for Sawicki’s now-legendary birthday cake ice cream sandwiches.
Paperboy keeps it simple and casual with only four seasonal dishes served out of their 11th Street trailer until 2pm every day. But simple doesn’t mean boring. They still offer up one of the best breakfast/brunch options in all of Austin with a sweet potato hash that is scientifically proven to cure hangovers and a B.E.C. sandwich that is so good it even manages to attract crowds of Austinites to a site where no liquor is served.
1112 E. 12th
If there was ever a reason to risk gout, the cured meat selection at Salt & Time is a good one. Focused on both traditional and artisanal butcher cuts and charcuterie, the menus also feature local veggie and bread purveyors, and a rockin’ beer and wine selection to wash it all down.
1912 E. Seventh
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
Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin. Support the Chronicle