There’s an intensity about Apis that sets them apart from other destination restaurants. For one, they are working to have complete control over their ingredients, from the vegetables they harvest to the proteins they raise. But don’t think for all that exactitude they can’t have a good time. Witness the liquid nitrogen shots that often cap off their feasts.
23526 Hwy. 71 W.
Buenos Aires Cafe is run by two generations of women, chef Reina Morris and Paola MG Smith. Together, they are our favorite mother-daughter pair since Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, serving tender, flaky empanadas, beautiful meats de la parrilla, and delectable pisco sours.
13500 Galleria Cir., U-120
Everything from the luxurious crudo plate to the legendary cheeseburger sets this landlocked seafood wonder apart. The oysters are, of course, truly excellent, like PEI Malpeques and Umamis from Rhode Island. They also have $5 happy hour martinis, for when you want to pretend to be Dorothy Parker on the cheap.
1200 W. Sixth
Laverne and Shirley, Mulder and Scully, Wolfgang and Cassie, Fabi and Rosi: Well-paired duos (even if only fictional nomenclature) do great things. This West Austin Eurocentric fine-dining hot spot celebrates scratch cooking, sourced from the best parts of Texas. From bone marrow dumplings to Black Forest mushroom ravioli, every bite is delectable.
Think of Josephine as the Madewell to Jeffrey’s preppier J. Crew. Everything feels breezy and casual, from the cottage setting to the Monday steak frites nights. It all adds up to an effortless neighborhood experience, as easy as an espadrille dangling off a toe.
Although the little purple house on West Sixth bills itself as a dessert bar, the dinner menu is equally boastworthy, with dishes like seared sea scallops with sunchoke pudding and charred broccoli with burnt lemon. The cocktail menu is a stunner too, with adventurous drinks using lime foam and pipe smoke. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate name for one of our favorite places to grab one last drink before calling it a night.
1401 W. Sixth
You’ll feel like Diane Lane looking out from your fantasy Tuscan villa when you dine al fresco at this Neapolitan pizza purveyor’s spot on the Pedernales. Robust sauce and interesting ingredients make this pizza worth the drive, and their wild boar salumi is a must.
23526 Hwy. 71 W.
In 2013, after a couple of years of health problems, owner Ronald Cheng had an opportunity to reopen in the building where Chinatown started in 1983. He kept some of the former menu items, added some delicious new ones, and gave the whole place a new look – simultaneously reinvigorating his brand and cementing his Austin culinary legacy. Austin is full of restaurateurs. Cheng is a giant. Inducted in 2016.
2712 Bee Caves Rd.
This European gastronomic exploration exudes taste inside and out. The love story that started it all continues through the care and craftsmanship incorporated into everything from the homemade bread to the house-cured Metzger board. Perhaps the very best part, however, is that the price point of this luxe-sounding menu makes it accessible to most. Inducted in 2018.
Jeffrey’s is a rare classic establishment where heart-stopping prices actually equate to fine dining. The centerpiece of the menu revolves around perfectly seasoned and seared steaks, but even those who aren’t carnivores can make a meal of the sides and salads that are just as legendary as the delectable meat. Inducted in 2018.
1204 W. Lynn
In an Austin that often mistakes fine surfaces for fine dining, chefs Stewart Scruggs and Mark Paul’s strip mall eatery is the real deal. Maybe there’s no miles of carrara marble and the fixtures may not require weekly wipe downs with Brasso, but wink has it where it counts – beautiful food made with the best ingredients, immaculate service, and a wine program that’s worth raising a glass to. Inducted in 2017.
1014 N. Lamar
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