Restaurant Roulette

A Sampling of Eateries From the ‘Chronicle’ Restaurant Guide

Estimated meal cost per person:

North Austin


Hyde Park Bar & Grill You gotta have those batter-dipped fries, we know, but this spot at the fork in the road does other things very well, too, including fish, chicken, and beef. 4206 Duval St., 458-3168. $$

24-HOUR: Kerbey Lane Cafe Famously fabulous breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a favorite of the late-night set. 13435 Hwy. 183 N. #415, 258-7757. $$

Manny's Uptown Kitchen When you have to nosh, this is the place to do it. You'll find a good nova platter, kreplach right in the soup where it belongs, and quite the chub. 9503 Research #650, 794-0088. $

Mother's Cafe & Garden A welcoming vegetarian refuge since 1979, the meatless menu presents a mix of Southern and Tex-Mex options, including soups, salads, and heartier fare. 4215 Duval St., 451-3994. $$

Stallion Grill You'll find the traditional country fare here solid, tasty, and affordable. Don't miss the homemade rolls and desserts. 5201 Airport, 866/435-1184. $


Chuy's You'll find the same big plates of gooey Tex-Mex goodness that lure you to the Barton Springs location, and quite a bit of the same atmosphere. 10520 N. Lamar, 836-3218. $$

El Tacorrido In addition to standard breakfast-taco fare (bacon, egg, potato, chorizo, etc.), this place serves chicken, carnitas, and barbacoa tacos as well as burritos. 9320 N. Lamar, 873-8602. $

Julio's Cafe The vegetarian taco with perfectly grilled zucchini and summer squash is a favorite. Chicken is available in enchilada, chalupa, and fajita forms. If you're up early, the hearty breakfast tacos are a good to-go option. 4230 Duval St., 452-1040. $

Maudie's North Lamar In this "Tex-Mex Heaven," they serve breakfast every day and make their margaritas with fresh-squeezed juices. 10205 N. Lamar, 832-0900. $

Santa Rita Tex Mex Cantina Fresh sauces, rotisserie meats, and a friendly atmosphere make this a welcome addition to Austin's Tex-Mex scene. 1206 W. 38th, 419-RITA $$


Chosun Galbi Located near Highland Mall, this neighborhood favorite serves up Korean barbecue as well as noodles, soups, and a good selection of vegetarian options. Try the Gal Bi Jjim. 713 E. Huntland, 419-1400. $$

Curry in Hurry The authentic North Indian vegetarian menu changes every day. Order an entrée and a side at the counter, and one minute later it arrives with rice and roti or paratha alongside. The aloo sabzi is available every day. 2121 W. Parmer, 837-9701. $

Din Ho Chinese BBQ has a menu long on fresh seafood and meat, all authentically prepared and priced right – try roast or Beijing duck, Chinese barbecue pork, whole roast pigs, hot pots, and more. Get it to go, or eat there. 8557 Research #116, 832-8788. $$

Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant offers a 200-item Cantonese menu with all of your favorites, including dim sum. Full cart service on the weekends offers a taste of big-city dim sum hidden in an innocuous strip mall. The fruity cocktails are great, too. 10901 N. Lamar Ste. A-1-501, 490-1426. $$

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse Steak, seafood, and chicken come in a variety of freshly prepared grilling combinations with generous servings of appetizers and soup. 13492 Research #380, 288-7333. $$$$

Korean Grill Located in the Chinatown Center, Korean Grill is a favorite for family nights out. We get excited about the Ojingo Bockeum (stir-fried squid) and the SsamBob with four kinds of bulgogi. 10901 N. Lamar, 339-0234. $$

Midori Sushi Given its location, expect lots of lunch traffic, especially considering the bargain specials. A nice array of entrée choices are available for dinner and takeout. 13435 Hwy. 183 N. #301, 257-1411. $$$

Mings Cafe Applying the concept of yin and yang in Chinese cooking, this casual spot offers simple, recognizable food that people like to eat. 2604 Guadalupe, 476-8888. $

Muangthai means "land of the free" in Thai, so take the liberty here to order up lots of spicy salads, curries, and specialties like tom yom ta-lay heang. 13945 Hwy. 183 N. Ste. C-80, 219-5999. $$

Musashino Sushi Dokoro Serving a whopping variety of sushi and a small selection of Japanese appetizers, this restaurant features fine fish and friendly service. 3407 Greystone, 795-8593. $$

Pho Saigon Noodle House Is it soup yet? This pho is aromatic and delicious. Don't forget to try the char-grilled meats on vermicelli or rice. 10901 N. Lamar, 821-1022. $$

Veggie Heaven The menu is laden with Asian dishes and also offers meat- and dairy-free pastas, sandwiches, and desserts. 1914-A Guadalupe, 457-1013. $


Andiamo Ristorante This is good old-fashioned Italian – need we say more? Try the Linguine Luci Johnson. Mangia! 2521 Rutland, 719-3377. $$$

Asti For varied Italian regional cuisines and an extensive wine list of mostly Italian and Cal-Ital selections, try this Hyde Park corner spot. 408-C E. 43rd, 451-1218. $$$

Cool River Cafe This elegant steak house and grill has a ski-lodge atmosphere and a full bar. The surf, turf, and venison menu items have a Southwestern flair. 4001 W. Parmer, 835-0010. $$$

Daily Juice Cafe Looking for a healthy brunch? Everything on the menu here is composed of raw vegetable matter of one kind or another. The gluten-free baked goods are terrific. 4500 Duval St., 380-9046. $$

Iron Cactus offers surf and turf with the added twist of Southwestern and Interior Mexican spices. The bar has more than 80 kinds of tequila as well as a great beer selection. 10001 Stonelake, 794-8778. $$

Quality Seafood Market is where all your favorite restaurants get their seafood, so you know it's the freshest. Daily specials could include lobster, shrimp pizza, king crab, or even Crack Pie. This place gets packed. 5621 Airport, 454-5827. $

South Austin


Barley Swine This small gastro-pub offers small plates of skillfully prepared seasonal and local foods, including several gluten-free options. Long waits are typical. 2024 S. Lamar, 394-8150. $$

Broken Spoke When you need your Lone Star cold, your chicken-fried steak hot, and the ghost of Ernest Tubb on your shoulder, the Spoke is it. 3201 S. Lamar, 442-6189. $$

Snack Bar has created a menu of global dishes with fresh, local ingredients for vegans and omnivores alike that you can enjoy indoors or out on the dog-friendly patio. 1224 S. Con­gress, 445-2626. $$

Shady Grove Enjoy a beautiful outdoor seating area and hot dogs year-round. We're partial to the green-chile cheeseburgers with mountains of onion rings. Family-friendly. 1624 Barton Springs Rd., 474-9991. $$

Threadgill's World HQ is just a shout away from the former Armadillo World Head­quar­ters. The menu is packed with solid home-cooking options, and there's a brunch buffet on Sundays. 301 W. Riverside, 472-9304. $$


Artz Rib House is the Austin headquarters for lovers of great barbecue and bluegrass to converge. The thick country-style pork ribs are legendary, and there's live music most nights. 2330 S. Lamar, 442-8283. $$

Green Mesquite BBQ One of Austin's favorite barbecue dives – it may look seedy, but the menu is extensive and the food is terrific. 1400 Barton Springs Rd., 479-0485. $$

Ray's BBQ The oak- and mesquite-grilled meats are falling apart, the sides are made fresh daily, and there's sweet tea to wash it down. What more do you need? Yes, they have banana pudding made with Nilla Wafers, too. 6301 Monsanto, 385-8262. $


Casa Maria One of the best-kept secrets in town – who knew? It's been open for 13 years, serving succulent, tender pork; fabulous soup; and all of your other Tex-Mex favorites. 4327 S. First, 444-8861. $$

Chuy's With hubcaps, colored lights, and a velvet Elvis, this is Austin-style Tex-Mex at its tacky, funky best. Almost always busy, but the creamy sauce and chips are worth the wait. 1728 Barton Springs Rd., 474-4452. $$

Curra's Grill The kitchen whips up handmade corn tortillas while you sip avocado margaritas. Don't miss the chile rellenos with pecan cream sauce, or for breakfast, the huevos machacado. 614 E. Oltorf, 444-0012. $$

El Flaco Mexican food just like your abuela used to make: hearty servings, all made from scratch, and breakfast any time you want it. 3632 S. Congress, 444-2767. $

El Gallo This Austin-style Tex-Mex joint has been family-owned since the Fifties. Try the cabrito, and stay for the mariachi trio that plays Thursdays through Saturdays. 2910 S. Congress, 444-6696. $$

Güero's Taco Bar Located in the old Austin Seed & Feed building, Güero's has moved into the top tier of Austin institutions without compromising the food. The people-watching has expanded to the oak garden, as has the live music. 1412 S. Congress, 447-7688. $$

Izzoz Tacos Try the pulled-pork torta: slow-roasted carnitas-style pork seasoned with ancho chiles and served in a toasted bolillo with pickled slaw, red onions, and chipotle aioli ... oh, and those hand-cut garlic fries. 1503 S. First, 916-4996. $

Maria's Taco Xpress This funky little joint with the brightly decorated patio is the heart and soul of South Austin. Arrive early for hundreds of breakfast taco variations, great migas, great hot sauce, and a full bar. 2529 S. Lamar, 444-0261. $

Polvos Locals are big fans, so show up early for a shorter wait. It's either the solid Tex-Mex complemented by the bottomless salsa bar or the pitchers of frozen margaritas, we figure. 2004 S. First, 441-5446. $$

La Reyna Mexican Restaurant The Queen of South First: A casual, friendly atmosphere and some of the best no-frills Tex-Mex south of the river. 1816 S. First, 447-1280. $$

Torchy's Tacos The crowds gathering at all hours attest to the loyal following Torchy's has developed. Try the Little Nookies: deep-fried chocolate-chip cookies. 1311 S. First, 366-0537. $


Botticelli's It may be described as Chicago-style Italian, but this popular spot offers some sophisticated fare as well. One special, the clams with sweet vermouth and roasted peppers over pappardelle pasta, had our critic swooning. 1321 S. Congress, 916-1315. $$

Flip Happy Crepes Nestled in an Airstream trailer parked just off South Lamar, this place serves up homemade rich and satisfying crepes both savory and sweet. It closes midafternoon, so get there early. 400 Jessie, 552-9034. $

Romeo's is the place for familiar, Americanized Italian food in a fun, romantically retro dining room. Choose from rich pastas, a low-carb menu, and pizzas, and don't forget about the full bar and weekend brunches. 1500 Barton Springs Rd., 476-1090. $$

Thai Fresh This combination restaurant/deli/grocery/cooking school draws patrons from beyond South Austin for some of the best Thai in Texas. 909-B W. Mary, 494-6436. $$

Tree House Italian Grill offers a reasonably priced Italian menu and a large wine list. Marvel at the massive live oak on the patio as you sample seafood brochette, crab cannelloni, or veal marsala. 2201 College Ave., 443-4200. $$

Uchi The sushi ranges from fresh scallops, tuna, and seafood to negitoro rolls, seaweed, and chicken salad, and all are highly rated. Reservations recommended. 801 S. Lamar, 916-4808. $$$$

Vespaio The comfy bar, great service, and a dazzling display of antipasti near the front door lure us in, and the pasta and heirloom tomatoes do the rest. And if gluten-free pasta is what you're after, you'll find plenty of it here. 1610 S. Congress, 441-6100. $$$

East Austin


Eastside Cafe has been serving some of the healthiest food on the Eastside for quite a long time. The large herb and vegetable garden in back makes for fantastic fresh plates, and a dedicated gluten-free menu makes it fun for all. 2113 Manor Rd., 476-5858. $$$

The Good Knight The mixology here is right on, and so is the menu. The 14 items, including meat loaf and fried tomatoes, transcend typical bar fare. 1300 E. Sixth, 628-1250. $$

Hoover's Cooking Dishing out huge portions of Southern-style home cooking, including jerk pork ribs, pork chops, and amazing sides, this place draws crowds. Try sweet-potato pancakes and fried chicken at breakfast. 2002 Manor Rd., 479-5006. $$

Mr. Natural A juice bar, bakery, health food store, and vegetarian Mexican restaurant in one makes this your one-stop shop for soybean ceviche, pineapple empanadas, and queen bee royal jelly. 1901 E. Cesar Chavez, 477-5228. $

Nubian Queen Lola's Cajun Soul Food Kitchen A proprietress as friendly as her food is good serves up huge portions of burgers and Cajun chow from a succinct menu. The dining room is communal and friendly, and Lola is a blessing. 1815 Rosewood, 474-5652. $

Shuck Shack Everybody loves shuckin' at the Shack. There's plenty of Pearl and Lone Star to go around, so pull yourself away from the washer-toss long enough to sample some fresh oysters and shrimp. 1808 E. Cesar Chavez, 472-4242. $$

Star Seeds Cafe This institution has been around since the Armadillo days, when hungry cosmic cowboys restored themselves at its booths. Find breakfast selections galore. 3101 N. I-35, 478-7107. $


J. Kelly's Barbecue serves all of your favorites, by the plate or by the pound. 900 E. 11th, 499-0910. $$

Sam's BBQ stays open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, so if you hurry over, you can still make it after the clubs close. Some say Sam's has the best chicken in town. 2000 E. 12th, 478-0378. $

Willie's Bar-B-Que You'll find plastic tablecloths, a walk-up counter, a TV in the corner, and delectable barbecue. This is some of the moistest, heartiest brisket in town, and the chicken jumps off the bone. The smoked boudin sounds intriguing. 4505 E. MLK, 926-9340. $


Angie's Mexican Restaurant This bustling restaurant serves up Tex-Mex breakfasts and huge $7 lunch specials. The incredible homemade El Paso-style corn tortillas are one of Angie's many claims to fame. 1307 E. Seventh, 476-5413. $$

El Azteca Restaurant With nearly 50 years of neighborly service and rich food, this family restaurant was one of the first local eateries to offer vegetarian options. 2600 E. Seventh, 477-4701. $$

La Catedral del Marisco The "cathedral of seafood" is a jaw-dropper. The menu is half seafood and half grilled, meat-centric Norteño. Try the tostada de pulpo, a pile of tender griddled octopus with scallions and pepper. 2711 E. Cesar Chavez, 476-7878. $$

El Chile Cafe y Cantina The bill of fare features some Tex-Mex dishes, several Interior specialties, and a number of good vegetarian options. 1809 Manor Rd., 457-9900. $$

El Chilito Tacos y Cafe Fresh, fast, and portable is what you can expect from this festive corner taqueria. Don't miss the cochinita in fresh corn tortillas or the great paleta selection. Wash it all down with a frozen sangria or two. 2219 Manor Rd., 382-3797. $

Dario's Mexican Restaurant Try the fajita omelet with grilled peppers, onions, potatoes, and beans, but don't overlook the rest of the menu or you'll miss the fabulous enchiladas. ¡Que rico! 1800 E. Sixth, 479-8105. $$

Joe's Bakery & Mexican Food Belly up to the lunch counter for homemade migas, tacos, and award-winning menudo; then step up to the pastry counter for piedras, novias, cemitas, and capirotada. The American choices draw raves as well. 2305 E. Seventh, 472-0017. $

Cisco's In the breakfast business for more than 50 years, Cisco's still serves migas, huevos rancheros, and hot biscuits with a healthy dose of Austin political history. 1511 E. Sixth, 478-2420. $

Mi Madre's is known for its giant breakfast tacos and excellent Mexican food in a homey diner atmosphere. Start with queso at an outdoor table before diving in. 2201 Manor Rd., 480-8441. $


Aster's Ethipoian Restaurant In addition to the vegetarian selections, you'll find fragrant chicken, lamb, and beef. The lunch specials are a great bargain. Just count on ordering extra injera. 2808 N. I-35, 469-5966. $$

Justine's Brasserie serves French bistro fare, accompanied by killer cocktails, in a 1930s cottage. You can play a little pétanque outside while you wait for the steak frites. 4710 E. Fifth, 385-2900. $$

Braise There is little to distinguish this place from other fine-dining establishments except the prices, which are reasonable for such fare as black bass tartare with candied pecans and pickled-mushroom salad. Now serving lunch on weekdays. 2121 E. Sixth, 478-8700. $$$

Karibu Ethiopian Restaurant & Bar Go ahead and get the beef tartare or the cubed lamb; you'll still end up eating more than your fair share of the gomen prepared with collard greens and cabbage. 1209 E. Seventh, 320-5454. $$

Sushi Japon The sushi is fresh, professionally prepared, and complemented by the draft Ichiban. Don't leave without tasting the black cod and yellowtail. 6801 N. I-35, 323-6663. $$$

Buenos Aires Cafe has many loyal fans who stop in for excellent fare. The pork tenderloin is amazing, but you have to try the daily special, too. 1201 E. Sixth, 382-1189. $$


Uncorked You'll find gorgeous views of Downtown, a nicely chosen wine list, lots of wines by the glass, and an inventive kitchen staff creating delicious food. 900 E. Seventh, 524-2809. $$$

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