For a night out in a chill joint that’s dripping with ambience (and saucy main dishes), nothing beats the Beer Plant for meat-free fare and creative botanical cocktails. So go ahead and wash down some sriracha-glazed Brussels sprouts with a lavender Earl Grey martini. We dare you.
They successfully pivoted to an expanded patio during the pandemic, no reservations necessary. Grab a macchiato early, chilled ramen for dinner. Here, the high- and low-brow collide: Note options like the “Milwaukee Mouthwash” – that’s a can of Miller High Life and a shot of Rumplemintz – or some fine natural wine. And ambience? You’ll hear a Les Baxter arrangement followed by Three 6 Mafia on any given evening.
An Austin date-night classic, Olive & June’s beautiful tree-covered patio is a perfect spot to savor well-made, balanced Italian fare. Start with decadent arancini in romesco sauce, then sample the spring herb ricotta ravioli or any other handmade-in-house pasta. It’s simple, rich food with perfect portion sizes and a diverse enough menu to share small plates or horde your own bucatini. A satisfying, elegant experience from acclaimed Austin mainstay Shawn Cirkiel.
Ground Control to Major Tom: Take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Pastrami, the other brisket, is a star in this tiny, lovely shop. They offer a thoughtful natural wine selection, killer subs, house-made accoutrements, and good deli vibes. Known for their griddled Reuben, we’re also partial to the Roddy and new beet pastrami.
1104 W. 34th
If you’re curious about what goes into creating a standout pizzeria in the crowded Austin market, consider 48-hour fermented dough topped with legit tomato sauce and high-quality cheese and commitments to helping the community boosters at orgs like Free Lunch. These folks know.
1108 E. 12th
For anyone who felt foolish queueing at any one of the world-famous joints around town, then curiously ordering the freakin’ sandwich instead of 15 pounds of steaming beef on a metal tray, SLAB has you covered with a streamlined experience serving over 10 different ’cue sandwich combos including brisket, chicken, and pork. No multihour line, and an immediate meat craving placated. Do not under any circumstances sleep on SLAB’s spicy hot barbeque sauce.
7101 Hwy. 71 W.
When MML Hospitality acquired this longtime neighborhood bakery a few years ago, they changed its name away from a pun (for which we’re eternally grateful), but kept the spread of beloved comestibles intact, showcasing the bagels, pastries, pies, cakes, and a diverse variety of sandwich and snacking breads. Also: rotisserie chicken!
1120 W. Sixth
The comforting family Thai recipes like pad see ewe and tom kha soup from chef/owner Kruewan Chiangthuek stole our hearts and continue to inspire a regular trek to West Austin.
1158 Lost Creek Blvd.
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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