Asian American food in an Asian American shopping center, ready to delight all Americans of any heritage? “We transform the authentic OG tastes and recipes of our upbringing to the familiar presentations that we’re accustomed to,” the Teahaus gang tells us, and we’re smiling concurrence and eating the hell out of dumplings, burgers, curries, and more – with so! Much! Boba! Tea!
6929 Airport Blvd. #132
Elevated vegan cuisine might not be the kind of fare you’d expect from a food truck, but chef Craig Vanis knows his way around the (tiny) kitchen, and his loyal fanbase can’t get enough of those rock star kolaches and gluten-free mac & cheese. The only question we’re asking now: “When are you opening that brick-and-mortar, Craig?”
701 E. 53rd
Famous for its rarely seen approach to employee compensation of implementing a living wage and a no-tipping policy, the co-op also offers a solid selection of house craft brews and pub grub like addictive fish & chips, burgers, and crispy fried chicken.
7020 Easy Wind #100
Carmen Rojas and her daughter Andrea Rincones are passionate about bringing their beloved Venezuelan fare – naturally gluten-free arepas, or griddled corn pockets stuffed with a mix of fresh sautéed veggies or proteins like pollo mechado – to the Austin masses. And we are so here for it.
5000 Burnet Rd.
The OG Eastside location sadly closed this year, but there’s a silver lining: Bufalina Due to the north is here for your wood-fired Neapolitan pizza needs. That perfect char! That melty, cheesy goodness! And take some of it to go, because you’ll want a slice of satisfying olive oil cake or mouthwatering tiramisu for dessert.
6555 Burnet Rd.
When you’re on the hunt for spot-on Sichuan, look no further. All the classics are ridiculously well done and served in heaping portions, and pescatarians will appreciate the seafood options, like the crispy fried salt-and-pepper shrimp and fish fillet in chile oil.
6801 Airport Blvd.
Follow the pink rabbit to this chill, modern vegan dine-in spot and pull up a chair or belly up to the bar. Because yeah, this joint serves cocktails and mocktails alongside delightful dishes like burgers and omelettes. That’s right, breakfast is served all day, citizen, just like it should be.
5011 Burnet Rd.
If you’re looking to play with your food, this nontraditional, decadent shabu-shabu experience is sure to please. It’s interactive: Swoosh your slices – wagyu beef, farm box veggies, kurobuta sausage, Hi-Fi Mycology ’shrooms – in your very own hot pot and dip (dip dip). Expect a gorgeous ambience, four lovable Tatsu-ya broths, and twists like shiso kosho queso.
7301 Burnet Rd. #101
Bread, bread, and more bread – savory or sweet, plain or fancy. It’s what David Norman built this local favorite upon. But the Tiger’s culinary architecture also includes fine charcuterie and a plethora of rich, belly-pleasing pub grub to accompany the many craft beers and cocktails lubricating the destination mingle.
The Linc, 6406 N. I-35 #1100
Raise your hand if Eldorado margaritas got you through the pandemic. Just us? No? Okay then, how about the creamy queso and crispy house-fried chips? Or the generous, customizable breakfast tacos? The filling and comforting enchiladas? (We’re particularly fond of the Esme’s Magic, filled with smooth mashed potatoes to level-up that comfort factor.) OK, put your hands down. Get in, losers, we’re getting tacos.
3300 W. Anderson
Sometimes you just need a little treat, you know? Just something to pop in your mouth for a little pick-me-up, like a li’l lemon meringue drop or a tidy macaron. Sometimes you need something more substantial, like a chocolate almond meringue cloud or a bananas foster tart that flips a flamboyant bird to your diet. You don’t need to be on a diet anyway, you perfect little pavlova.
With their patented nose-to-tail, farm-to-table approach to fine dining, chefs and co-owners Nathan Lemley and Sarah Heard marry Texas’ unpretentious friendliness with the finesse of fine French cuisine. Garden-fresh produce, mouthwatering meats, and biodynamic wines alike are locally sourced and given the space to speak – and shine – for themselves.
306 E. 53rd
Representing both his El Paso upbringing and Jewish heritage, Mo Pittle’s JewBoy Burgers cuts through the mishigas to elevate each culture’s classics to indulgent heights. Perfectly inspired choices abound, with pastrami-stacked burgers, burritos buffed up by chopped latkes, and hatch green chile studded queso. And oh, those latkes on their own are pretty swell, too.
This popular Japanese eatery on Airport embodies everybody’s favorite izakaya dreams, serving up a wide array of sushi, fried fish, salads, curry noodle bowls, and more – and great sake and beer to wash it down with – but is still on fresh-made, takeout-only status as the pandemic threatens to extend.
5301 Airport Blvd.
Trailblazing chef Nahika Hillery brought ATX its first Haitian food truck, and now she’s a Food Network star after winning Guy’s Grocery Games and sharing wisdom on Taste of Haiti. Although the truck is hard to pin down, it’s part of the rotation at Austin FC’s stadium. Track it on Insta for news on upcoming projects.
If you’ve been searching for a hot skillet of bò né (Vietnamese steak and eggs), complete with a bonus hot dog and corn, give this little place a try. Order a Vietnamese coffee or boba tea to wash it down.
1309 W. 45th
There’s a new oasis of culinary paradise in the Commodore Perry Estate across from H-E-B-anchored Hancock Center? Yes, and, in keeping with its resort-level surroundings, it’s elegantly appointed and redolent of how locally sourced foods can represent the finest of contemporary dining à la chef Bradley Nicholson. Not-so-secret weapon: pastry chef Susana Querejazu. We’re in love with the “green dish.”
4100 Red River St.
Ah, the bagels at this place so near the big Half Price Books! Just chewy enough on the outside and soft enough on the inside, served up plain or filled with a variety of delicious breakfasty or lunchy insides (of which Willie’s Hot Pastrami may well be the ne plus ultra) and ordered online or via in-person touch screens.
5501 N. Lamar Ste. B-101
Eric Silverstein’s masterful blend of Asian and American Southern cuisines continues to produce dishes that are often as surprising as they are comforting, whether it’s innovative tacos or sliders, brisket-boldened ramen, or Wednesday night’s Fried Chicken & Whiskey special. (Once you’re hooked, check out sister spot Bar Peached.)
5520 Burnet Rd. #100
Come for the gumbo, stay for the laid-back Louisiana brunch vibes. We’re partial to the blue raspberry Deep Eddy lemonade and specials like salmon croquettes and fried green tomatoes with lump crab meat. BTW, their patio is an excellent option for the soon-to-be-classic combo of boudin balls and streaming Austin FC matches.
6215 N. Lamar Blvd.
This gem of noodly flavor in the bustling, Asian-centric Crescent setting is home to the rich, cloudy-brothed, paitan style of ramen – conjured in chicken or pork or, yes, vegan style – and a small, fierce array of craft cocktails. Ace in the hole: the curry rub of their Indomitable Fries.
6929 Airport Blvd. #146
This excellent epicenter of slow-cooked meats right there on North Lamar is no secret, but for some reason we’re always surprised by how it’s the equal of our town’s more famous barbecue spots. When we mentioned this to a certain co-worker, he replied, “Oh god, yesss! The pork loin, the pork loin!”
6610 N. Lamar
Of course this town’s gonna jump on the whole Nashville hot chicken trend. And of course that trend will establish itself beyond the moment, as the many combos and levels of fried poultry and peppery heat offered at this burgeoning local chain compel many return visits over a chicken- lover’s lifetime.
7211 Burnet Road
Chef Tyson Cole’s Japanese-inspired cuisine excels in thoughtful flavor combinations, impeccable service, and the freshest ingredients around. They can make salmon taste like brown sugar and a humble trumpet mushroom masquerade as the elixir of life. Uchiko is at the top of the Austin food game, a true gem to treasure and tithe like the cathedral of epicurean delight that it is.
4200 N. Lamar
An all-star team (Juniper, Via 313, Nickel City) brought the casual Italian cafe to Hyde Park in 2019, covering everything from antipasti (marinated sardines) to dessert (affogato). Classic salads, hearty “sandos,” and pane tostato (toasted focaccia) fill the in-between. A new Eastside location at the Hotel Eleven promises more of the same.
4222 Duval St.
Lawrence Eguakun brings the traditional foods of Nigeria into a more plant-based manifestation and adds diversity (and plenty of spice) to the vivacious vegan enclave called Possum Park. The bestselling platter’s got “five items, and any one you eat, you’re going to enjoy the whole five,” says the longtime Austin chef, and we happily concur.
701 E. 53rd
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
When we talk about restaurateurs that helped put Austin on the food city map, multiple James Beard Award finalist Bryce Gilmore – executive chef and co-owner of Barley Swine, Odd Duck, and Sour Duck Market – is up there with the best. In 2009, back when our farmers’ markets were small and the food truck scene was still gestating, Gilmore and his brother refurbed an old trailer and opened fan-favorite Odd Duck, serving only local produce and utilizing whole animals. Gilmore’s acclaimed fine dining restaurant Barley Swine opened the next year, spotlighting his dedication to seasonal ingredients with an always exquisite tasting menu, and the crowds went wild. The continuous efforts to celebrate local ranchers and farmers, and up the ante with casual sister restaurant Sour Duck Market, an annual almanac, and a carbon neutral initiative, are forever seared in our hearts. Inducted in 2021.
6555 Burnet Rd. #400
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
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.
Long before Korean food was a popular cuisine in the Austin restaurant scene, Korea House opened in 1988, and legions of fans, new and old, still frequent what is considered the first Korean restaurant in town. Outside seating overlooking a lovely koi pond, twinkly lights, and peaceful music all contribute to their wonderful ambience, but it’s the delicious and consistent food that keeps customers coming back. While the menu continues to expertly execute classic dishes like bibimbap, galbi, and seafood pajeon – and helped introduce banchan and one of the world’s greatest condiments, kimchi, to many diners – they’re set on maintaining the magic with new concepts like family meal kits for budae jjigae and Korean-style barbecue (both grilled and DIY). We’re big fans of this delightful place. Inducted in 2021.
2700 W. Anderson Ln. #501
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.
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
Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin. Support the Chronicle