Austin has a little bit of everything, and, as you might expect, things can get weird. To say that the Austin dining scene has exploded over the past decade is an understatement. The capital of Texas is brimming with great eats, from Uchi’s incredible sushi to Franklin Barbecue’s brisket. (Will you go wait in line for us?) In addition to these two Austin icons, here are eight more restaurants you can’t miss.
Combining traditional Texan cuisine (aka BBQ) with the creativity and flair of America’s most talented New American chefs, Barley Swine is a must as far as dining experiences go. Multiple visits will be required, in fact, in order to sample the constantly changing seasonal menu. Can’t decide between the shiitake dumplings and the wagyu barbacoa? Put your meal in the chef’s hands Go for the 10-course tasting menu.
Baby, why don’t we go? Perfect for after-work drinks and small plates or dinner out, Contigo’s ranch-style beer garden is oh so very Austin. The menu changes seasonally, but you can always expect classics like the chicken schnitzel, burger, and sausage platter.
What this tiny, spartan restaurant lacks in looks, it makes up for in food. This omakase-only restaurant offers some of the most authentic and downright delicious sushi in Austin. Have a seat and watch the chef prepare an unforgettable 20-course tasting menu out of seasonal seafood that is mostly sourced from Japan.
Olamaie proves southern food can be elevated to fine dining levels. Located in an elegant refurbished home, this beautiful dinner spot is perfect for a date or celebration. The menu offers all your down-home favorites, from hushpuppies to Hoppin’ John, using farm-fresh ingredients in a way you’ve never had them before. Pro tip: order the off-menu biscuits, then wonder how you’ll ever go back to Pillsbury.
If anyone can give Franklin Barbecue a run for its money, it’s this East Austin eatery. La Barbecue serves all of the smoked meats you’d expect, but the correct order here is brisket.
All the brisket. Order it by the pound or get it as a sandwich—it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you eat that meat. There might be a line, but it goes quick. They do offer pre-order up to three days in advance if you don’t want to wait.
This is the kind of all-day cafe that every city needs. The (mostly healthy) menu has a Mediterranean flair that matches the restaurant’s vibe—we’re talking teal floors, a pastel patio, and umbrellas that look like they’re straight from Mykonos.
What happens when James Beard Award winners, Chef Tyson Cole of Uchi and Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue combine powers? You get the hottest restaurant to open in the city—maybe ever. Austin’s most famous chefs are behind the Asian smokehouse and bar, Loro. This is the casual restaurant that foodies have fantasized about for years. Asian flavors are combined with Franklin’s world-famous barbecue to create a meal you will never forget. Plus, they have a giant patio.
In a city full of amazing Asian restaurants, Thai Kun is one of the more low-key options around town. Offering a number of authentic Thai dishes, the menu ranges from small plates to larger share plates, including a whole fried fish with tamarind chili sauce that you won’t want to share.