photo by John Anderson

Sample a variety of Asian cuisines at 101, including Korean bulgogi tots and basil fried chicken, Taiwanese noodles, and Japanese curries. This Airport Boulevard offshoot is globalism (with a teensy nod to colonialism via the London Fog panna cotta dessert) at its finest.

6929 Airport #132

Recognizing the potential to highlight specific places at certain times in Central Texas, James Beard darling Bryce Gilmore and his team focus on supporting farmers and ranchers and their seasonal offerings. The team in the kitchen turns that challenge into an opportunity for greater creativity, reaping delicious rewards.

6555 Burnet Rd. #400

John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

There’s almost no way to be more specifically unspecific when defining what exactly Filipino food is. It’s a little bit Malaysian with a dash of Chinese and a hint of Spanish influence, resulting in a whole lot of character perfectly captured in this standard-bearing restaurant.

The owners don’t have to boast about their island flavor or aloha spirit – patrons insist that the freshness and large portion size of the ahi tuna poke and popcorn shrimp will make an instant convert out of you. That, plus the vibrancy and presentation of the sides, will make you forget you’re dining in a parking lot.

1309 W. 45th

Photo by John Anderson

Photo by David Brendan Hall

You could probably replace therapy with Eastern European cuisine – let the pierogi, halusky, and stroganoff at Brama seamlessly work out your issues. There’s something wonderfully out of place about hearty Russian and Polish cuisine in the heart of Texas, but the flavors don’t miss a beat. Brama is a must if you crave comfort.

3301 Steck

Already a bastion of superlative baked goods, cured meats, and brewskis, the Tiger roared into greater might with their expansive, sun-dappled, music-friendly, and smartly-designed Linc venue that’s like a home away from home, complete with Austin’s best brews and a set of pingpong tables. Don’t sleep on that almond croissant.

The Linc, 6406 N. I-35 #1100

Photo by John Anderson

Walk into this bustling restaurant at literally any time between open and close and you’re immediately hit with a cacophony of conversation, sizzling plates, and clanking paloma cocktails. All of these converge into a wonderful mélange, from the acutely attentive and tireless staff to that short rib salpicon with the cheesy rice. The vibe here is one of community, and while Joanna and Joel Fried’s Mexican-inspired cafe references the “Lost City of Gold,” perhaps an even better descriptor for this oasis of consistently delicious food is “the Golden One.”

3300 W. Anderson

Sarah McIntosh’s Rosedale French-meets-Cajun mainstay succeeds by consistently delivering the craveable favorites diners love to return to. Fried oysters? Beef tartare? French onion soup? All present and accounted for. A comfortable brunch – try the egg Roxanne with dirty rice, coddled egg, house hot sauce, green onion, and a honey butter biscuit – and hearty bistro dinner fare add more reasons to visit.

2307 Hancock

Photo by John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

Who’d’a thunk that someone could turn an airy concoction of egg whites and sugar into dang ol’ art? Yet that’s exactly what owner Kristin Collins has accomplished at her cosmopolitan meringue-centric cafe on Burnet Road, along with patisserie and a deep tea list. For the savory babes, Fluff has you covered with Antonelli’s cheese and Two Hives honey, plus a rotating menu of scones and stuffed peppery delights.

4800 Burnet Rd. #450

Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley’s F&D 2.0 has been a seamless transition: the local sourcing, unconventional proteins (venison tartare, fried pig ear!), and neighborhood vibe remain. The duo’s skill with pasta (eggplant fettuccine!) and vegetable dishes (charred turnip!) shines in added menu breadth; there’s now something for every reasonably adventurous diner. Be brave, and experience a whole new world.

306 E. 53rd

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Photo by John Anderson

The expanded digs just a few blocks down from the original Airport Boulevard location have made this casual spot for delicious Japanese meals and sushi even more welcoming – irasshaimase, indeed – especially with those wallet-friendly lunch specials and happy hours.

5301 Airport #100

Having recently upgraded her trailer and completed a culinary degree, chef Nahika Hillery impresses customers with Haitian fare that is difficult to find in Texas. Griot (fried pork shoulder), mayi moulin (Haitian grits), soup joumou (traditional Haitian beef and pumpkin soup), fresh guava punch, and fried sweet plantains stand out, but the rice and beans alone are enough to keep folks coming back.

805 Stark

Photo by John Anderson

John Anderson

That irresistible combination of bright lemongrass and cilantro on top of marinated meat sandwiched between an airy French baguette is served up in a multitude of combinations at Le Bleu. Not feeling a bánh mì? There’s also pho, bún, and Bò Lúc Lắc to tantalize taste buds with the fresh tang and deeply rich flavors emblematic of Vietnamese cuisine. Sister trailer Saigon le Vendeur is also not to be missed.

9070 Research #303

You’ll find more than falafel in this Turkish kitchen. Think kofte meatballs (traditional beef and lamb patties), roasted local veggies, and chicken shish kabob piled onto grains, pita, or spring mix and topped with tasty add-ons like hummus and roasted eggplant, collectively called mezzes (get the name now?). Don’t forget the baklava!

4700 W. Guadalupe #9

Photo by John Anderson

Not just for the paleo set – though if that’s you, and you haven’t imbibed Picnik’s butter coffee, shame on you – this multiple-location biz has a little something for everyone, and it’s all gluten-, corn-, peanut-, and soy-free. Find trendy avocado toast, citrus fennel salad, or bone broth for sippin’.

4801 Burnet Rd.

Nashville-style fried chicken, yummy sides, fresh pies, and local beers and cocktails are the hallmarks of this NoBo family restaurant. Dip your fries in comeback sauce for some Deep South flair.

7211 Burnet Rd.

Photo by John Anderson

David Brendan Hall

Pepe Garcia’s cozy-yet-casual counter service spot brought Portuguese flame-grilled chicken to the Linc last year, showcasing the spicy, vinegary Peri-Peri marinade. As if tender birds basted in a sauce of your choice and grilled to order weren’t enough, the variety of dipping sauces, unique appetizers and sides, and diner-esque desserts will send you over the edge.

6406 N. I-35 #2510

Tyson Cole is a man of restraint: Despite the perennial praise and packed houses, he mostly expanded his empire over time by refining his interpretation of Japanese food and letting his talented team riff on it in other locations (or, now, cities). Uchiko is remarkably consistent, precisely because it funnels creativity through a precise editor’s eye. It simply never disappoints.

4200 N. Lamar

John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

Inviting like Grandma’s Northern Italian kitchen, Uncle Nicky’s casual cafe is Hyde Park’s newest meeting ground, thanks to the folks behind Juniper, Via 313, and Nickel City. The menu accommodates a full range of social encounters: bambinos seeking afterschool gelato, business types strategizing over prosciutto sandwiches, and happy hour groups washing down Aperol spritzes.

4222 Duval St.

Aiming at approachable but slightly elevated Tex-Mex, Shawn Cirkiel opened this Airport Boulevard eatery in the space formerly known as Bullfight. Chef Chris Martinez relies heavily on open fire (think rib eye and redfish grilled on Texas oak), but the school-style taco salad wins over our hearts.

4807 Airport Blvd.

Photo by John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

Van’s Báhn Mì is a slice of Vietnamese comfort food located in the heart of North Loop. With daily fresh-baked bread and meats flame-grilled to order, this little trailer serves up three different kinds of Vietnamese sandwiches, along with mouthwatering egg rolls and vermicelli plates for non-sandwich folks. Now all you have to decide is whether to order them with pork, shrimp, chicken, or vegetables.

201 E. 53rd

Vaquero Taquero brings their version of taco traditionalism to Austin by way of the Rio Grande and Monterrey, and North Campus has been the prime beneficiary. Their Hyde Park truck has since been joined by a restaurant on East 31st. More al pastor, por favor.

Photo by Jana Birchum

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

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

John Anderson

We suppose there’s a sentiment around 24-hour diners like Kerbey Lane that inevitably boils down to “it’s open,” but there are spoons that rise above the greasiness. Most of the locations maintain those endless hours (keep them in your thoughts), and Kerbey Lane has been doing this town a public service for going on 40 years, feeding their wonderfully absorbent and delicious array of pancakes to patrons needing a particular brand of restorative. We recommend starting with the Cowboy Queso before moving on to the California Omelet. In a town that constantly reckons with its identity, Kerbey’s recent expansion into the Mueller community solidifies and expands on its role as a particular and much-needed cultural and culinary mainstay. Inducted in 2019.

3704 Kerbey

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

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.

We’ve sampled so many delicious selections from this incredibly popular Thai restaurant, from yum nuer (a wonderfully spicy variant on steak salad) to endless combinations of fried rice and a selection of curry that has no equal. But there are two dishes (both staff favorites) that we return to time and time again: the pork garlic mixed peppercorn, with its wonderfully seasoned meat and vibrant spinach salad, and the Ta-lay Dancing, a three-chile-hot seafood, mushroom, tomato, and onion medley in tom yum sauce. Add to that the skillful and eternally effusive waitstaff who cover the comfortably cozy space with an ease that mimics a flawless dance routine, and you have all the makings of a perfect dining experience. Inducted in 2019.

5501 N. Lamar Ste. C-101

Photo by John Anderson

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