Austin aka ATX is growing like bluebonnets (Texas state flower FYI), and there isn’t just BBQ and awesome TexMex anymore. While the patio and Texas Tea cocktails at Cain & Abel’s and Trudy’s quesadillas will never be forgotten or removed from my list of favorites, I’ve put together a list of Best New Austin Restaurants (with a few oldies), and what you can’t miss when you visit!
Best Asian Cuisine
- Wu Chow – C.K. is doing amazing things here. I think this is the best Chinese food I’ve not only had in Texas but possibly anywhere. The use of organic and local ingredients really pops the flavor here and the soup dumplings (only served at dinner) compete with any spot in New York’s Chinatown. Don’t miss dry fried string beans and gong bao chicken.
- Elizabeth Street Cafe – This adorable French x Vietnamese restaurant couldn’t be more modern or cute. Everything is scrumptious and the table is stocked with fish sauce, soy sauce, and sriracha. That Crispy RedFish Fried Rice and Pork & Shrimp Crepe is unbeatable.
- Sway – The only Thai spot you need to know about in Austin. Reminds me a bit of Uncle Boons in NYC. All about that Jungle Curry and Whole Fish.
Elizabeth Street Cafe
- LA BBQ – Skip that two hour line and preorder yourself some brisket. These ribs actually fall off the bone!
- Franklin’s – The one place that it’s ok to wait in line for hours for BBQ and drink while doing it. Best brisket is not an exaggeration.
- Kreuz Market (Lockhart) – If you have time, take that 40 minute drive to Lockhart, the BBQ capital, and get your meat served on butcher paper. Only joint that doesn’t have sauce, and the only one that can get by without it.
- Polvo’s – A restaurant with its very own DIY salsa bar. Now I don’t always think of seafood when I hear TexMex (it’s all about the cheese!), BUT Polvo’s, here, serves outrageous grilled fish fajitas that are quite satisfying and memorable.
- Torchy’s Tacos – The best breakfast taco on the market. Go for the migas or get messy with the Dirty Sanchez- scrambled eggs with a fried poblano chile, guacamole, escabeche carrots, and cheese.
- Santa Rita– An old college favorite. Straight up love these quesadillas and queso. Can’t go wrong with the fajitas either.
- Launderette – On Food + Wine magazine’s list of Best Restaurants in 2016, this place sure is no lie. It surpassed my expectations and every dish impressed. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but the stand outs include: Chicken Thighs, Roasted Cauliflower, Sticky Brussels Sprouts, Balsamico Onions, Pickeled Green Tomatoes, Burger, and of course, BIRTHDAY CAKE Ice Cream Sandwich.
- Second Bar + Kitchen – Sometimes a good chicken breast and outdoor seating just does the trick.
- Foreign & Domestic – One of the more daring restaurants for Austin and located in East Austin. They offer American fare, and this restaurant made me actually like tongue!
- Irene’s – New spot downtown that makes for a cute meet-up spot, date, or snack. Very Southern and a tad on the heavier side. Think Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Pigs in a Blanket, Avocado Toast, and a Meatball Sandy. The vodka, coffee liqueur, and coconut cocktail is also a delight!
- Walton’s – The closest thing Austin has to a deli. Salads, sandwiches, and a cute bakery lie here.
- Searsucker – Downtown spot with easy lunch options and complimentary chocolate chip cookies to end the meal. It’s a huge space so ideal for big groups/happy hour.
- Noble Sandwich Co. – Go for the Turkey Chop and Smoked Duck Pastrami
- Geraldine’s at Hotel Van Zandt – Want something swanky and a mash up of what NYC + Texas would make if they had a baby? Biscuits, pancakes, french toast, frittatas and live music get the job done.
- South Congress Cafe – Cute spot good for parents, friends, and basically anyone. Two things: Migas and Carrot Cake French Toast to seal the deal. You’ll also want to walk up and down South Congress Street.
Best Sweet Treats
- Tiff’s Treats – The number one cookie and not to mention they deliver warm cookies to your door. The staff couldn’t be “sweeter,” and they have the best snickerdoodle cookies you’ll ever have. I secretly love the chocolate chip brownies. Don’t forget to get a pint of Blue Bell ice cream, too.
- SnoBeach – Didn’t know you could have the world’s best snow cone in Texas? This shaved ice is delicately cut fresh and the softest you’ll ever have. They have hundreds of flavors including the traditional fruity ones, but of course, I like to get the Chocolate and Vanilla. Pro Tip: You can add cream on top or ice cream on the bottom.
- Dolce Neve – A real Italian gelato shop that snuck in on South 1st Street. Flavors change regularly and are the perfect texture.