Midtown

Chef Bryce Gilmore was at the forefront of Austin’s farm-to-table movement, and he continues to cook with the same inspiration and creativity at his Brentwood restaurant. Barley Swine guests can opt for the chef’s tasting menu experience or order à la carte from the constantly changing menu, which surprises and delights with creations like fried pig skin slaw or smoked fish salad with leek mousse and savory cereal. The bar program is equally inspired by the seasons, and the Swine Time happy hour is not to be missed.

6555 Burnet Rd. #400
512/394-8150
www.barleyswine.com

Like so many so-hot Austin restaurants, BMP started out as a food truck in the early 2010s, slinging Filipino-inspired fare like longanisa tots (tater tots topped with longanisa sausage and plantain sauce). Owners Mark Pascual and Giovan Cuchapin have recently expanded service at the joint to include the Kamayan Experience, a family-style meal served on banana leaves and eaten with the hands, every Tuesday.

7858 Shoal Creek Blvd.
512/814-7423
www.bemorepacifickitchenandbar.com

Photo by John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

Hawaiian slang for “big shot,” the Big Kahuna is the biggest, if not the only, game in town for real Hawaiian food. Anchored in the Rosedale food court on Burnet Road, the truck slings generous, heartbreakingly fresh poke bowls, the classic Loco Moco (rice topped with a burger patty, fried egg, and gravy), and simply outstanding coconut shrimp tenders.

5000 Burnet Rd.
512/680-0224
www.bigkahunaaustin.com/

The award-winning craft beer is brewed in-house, the elevated pub grub is a locavore’s dream come true, and the fish & chips would make Christopher Lee smile from beyond his British grave. Oh, and the whole industrially inflected joint’s run cooperatively, FTW, right there where Airport snugs into North Lamar.

7020 Easy Wind #100
512/452-2337
www.blackstar.coop

photo by John Anderson

Philip Speer’s bistro on Burnet is smooth like clarified butter. Go visit those bartenders squeezin’ gallons of fresh grapefruit juice for your morning-after pick-me-up, and remember that their brunch boasts such tasty hangover-banishing fare as Rum Baba French Toast and a rosti with thick-cut bacon, Boursin, and a perfectly cooked soft scrambled egg that warrants its own YouTube congrats from Jacques Pépin.

We don’t know what it was like to be some Eighties German pud who drank hectolitres of the world’s only source of excellent beer during America’s down years of brewing, but we do know what it’s like to enjoy the post-millennium renaissance of American brewers emulating German bierhalle precision. With a surprisingly thoughtful menu of housemade pretzels (with IPA mustard and beer cheese!) to the wundersalad All Kale Caesar, the food menu is only surpassed by their stunning Helles and Vienna lagers.

6015-A Dillard Cir.
512/524-0323
thebrewtorium.com/

Photo by John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

The rustic, wood-lined dining room and chicly rough-hewn stoneware plates match the kitchen’s stylish but casual approach to Spanish cuisine. Dishes like arroz valencia, or grilled octopus with chorizo and verdina beans, beg to be shared, ideally with a glass of sherry or two to wash it all down.

4807 Airport
512/474-2029
www.bullfight-austin.com

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and paleo items on one meat-free menu? From flapjacks at brunch to a barbecue “pulled plant” sandwich for dinner, this nondescript from the outside, but charming on the inside spot is full of surprises. Be sure to get a selfie with the pink rabbit on the wall before your third cocktail.

5011 Burnet Rd.
512/792-9546
www.citizeneatery.com

photo by John Anderson

John Anderson

Open less than a year, this homey, funky Tex-Mex comfort food joint has Austin cred out the yin-yang. Chef/owner Joel Fried pairs his creative spin on classic combo plates (mashed potato enchiladas, anyone?) with loving gestures toward Austin’s culinary history in the form of specials like the Lost Amis and the Cocina del Sur. We’re obsessed.

3300 W. Anderson
512/420-2222
www.eldoradocafeatx.com

This French and NOLA-inspired restaurant ought to be an essential staple on the brunch rotation. It offers the comfort of dining at (your very lovely) home to enjoy chef-created croque madames, beignets, and duck & grits with your cappuccino, but with absolutely no dish duty.

2307 Hancock
512/371-6840
www.epicerieaustin.com

Photo by John Anderson

Foreign & Domestic has redefined itself more than once. Last year, founder Ned Elliott sold the North Loop mainstay to talented chefs Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley. The co-owners are staying true to the roots (we see you, popovers) while making it their own (the nose-to-tail tasting menu), and their ability to adapt is a reason F&D remains a cherished neighborhood favorite.

306 E. 53rd
512/459-1010
www.fndaustin.com

Helmed by former Uchiko Executive Chef Sterling Ridings, this highly anticipated new seafood-focused restaurant features a raw bar fit for Aquaman himself, along with cooked ocean treasures like Chilean sea bass poached in marrow and oyster sabayon. Guild also dances delightfully with luxurious land-dweller dishes like double-cut pork tomahawk and Wagyu teres major. They’ve got chess pie, too.

3800 N. Lamar
512/975-2626
www.guildaustin.com

Photo by John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

Irasshaimase! The customary Japanese welcome greeting – announced in unison by the staff for each new guest – embodies the casual but chic comfort of this wonderful (and recently revamped/expanded) restaurant. Their insanely fresh sushi and sashimi plates are arguably the best lunch deals in town, and now that there’s a full bar, we plan to renew our wedding vows. Try the sunshine roll with fresh mango, Shiso greyhound, and chicken karaage.

5301 Airport #100
512/712-5700
www.kome-austin.com

It’s easy to have low expectations of a fast-casual Mediterranean joint, but that just means that you’ll be blown away by the freshness and flavor of this build-your-own pita/bowl concept from Turkey native Moody Ugur. Visitors to the Triangle restaurant should definitely not miss the kofte meatballs and falafel.

4700 W. Guadalupe #9
512/900-8200
www.mezzeme.com

Photo by John Anderson

Anybody with a gluten, corn, peanut, or soy allergy can easily eat at Picnik, but other folks seem pretty pumped about it, too. The paleo-popular grass-fed butter coffee is always front and center, but exec chef Dan Salivar also knocks it outta the park with beef stew, Cobb salad, and creamy cashew queso.

4801 Burnet Rd.
737/226-0644
www.picnikaustin.com

PHP is not Austin’s alpha pizza joint, no, but the combination of elite IPAs paired with one of their decidedly delicious pies makes them a top-shelf pizza/beer experience. As their development team smokes overtime to bring us things like the Burgler, a cheeseburger-inspired pie, we can rest assured knowing we’ll never reach the load baseline of an electric scooter.

4729 Burnet Rd.
512/436-9605
www.pinthousepizza.com

photo by John Anderson

While other barbecue joints in town see their names splashed all over TV shows and headlines, this Brentwood joint has been quietly pumping out top-notch ’cue since 2011. Don’t sleep on the banana pudding, either.

6610 N. Lamar
512/380-9199
www.stilesswitchbbq.com

What started out as Salty Sow chef Harold Marmulstein’s hot chicken food truck side gig has now blossomed into a full-blown Allandale restaurant that has snatched the fried chicken crown from all other local competitors. Thanks for the inspo, Nashville, but Austin will take it from here.

7211 Burnet Rd.
512/520-1998
www.tumble22.com

Photo by John Anderson

John Anderson

Sometimes we’ll shop at the Half Price Books on North Lamar only for an excuse to go back to nearby Titaya’s a third time in the same week, because the expansive menu of Thai classics is so gustatorily compelling. Or maybe it’s just how their tom kha soup’s made us, ah, coo-coo for coconuts? (Pro tip: Get the Talay Dancing.)

5501 N. Lamar Ste. C-101
512/458-1792
www.titayasthaicuisine.com

Like the classic little black dress, Uchiko has become a mainstay on the Austin dining scene. From the economical social hour to a date-night splurge with a shellfish allergy, there’s something for everyone at this beloved modern, innovative Japanese restaurant. The menu is in a league of its own: Not even Bon Appétit can nail that not-so-secret crispy brussels sprouts recipe.

4200 N. Lamar #140
512/916-4808
uchikoaustin.com

John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

The newest kid on the North Loop block proves itself a master with Vietnamese sandwiches that epitomize the flawless combo of spicy, fatty, and crunchy. If the baguette-enveloped tour de force isn’t your thing, opt for a vermicelli bowl or the pork egg rolls, but always, always say yes to extra house-made hot sauce.

201 E. 53rd St
www.vanbanhmi.com/

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
512/451-1218
www.astiaustin.com

John Anderson

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
512/459-4121
www.fondasanmiguel.com

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.

5621 Airport
512/452-3820
www.qualityseafood.wordpress.com

John Anderson

John Anderson

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.

6416 N. Lamar
512/451-5440
www.threadgills.com

 
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