Our top 25 Austin Restaurant Guide is hand curated by a group of 8 dining "judges." Use this link to learn more about our ranking system. If you want to help out, feel free to suggest a restaurant using the contact form below..
An American Gastro Pub located a few miles east of IH35 off Manor Road, the Salty Sow menu is known for unique dishes. Featuring appetizers like a Triple Fried Duck Fat Fries with a 110 minute egg and cold bernaise. The egg is spun for 110 minutes cooking it using centrifugal force. East side location keeps things prices a little lower than other chef focused locations in town.
A smash hit on the Austin retaurant scene in 2016, Sway bills itself as modern thai cuisine. The original location on South 1st features an elegant decor, modern communinal dining tables, and a menu that sizzles. It's so popular they have opened new locations in the Domain and Westlake.
Named after the a hot ash from burning wood, Red Ash's namesake is it's number one feature. They offer a wood burning grill and oven that adds a little campfire flavor to every dish. Owner and chef John Carver runs a tight ship that manages a bustling crowd that will endure a small wait even on weekday nights. Decor is modern and simplistic with graphitti like art on the walls. The upstairs area seats just a few, but is worth the wait for the stylish lighting. One of our favorite spots for pulpo, Red Ash offers a few well made fish entrees, small plates, pastas, and 3 cuts of beef perfectly grilled to your liking and available by the ounce ($2.95).
Located off South Congress a few blocks further south than the Soco Shopping district, Vinaigrette hails from New Mexico with locations in Santa Fe and Alburquerque. They feature a stylish decor with modern interior and great outdoor area beneath a giant live oak tree. Their trick to deliver the freshest salads is owning a farm outside of Austin and growing your ingredients. This is our favorite spot in Austin for super fresh salads that arrived pretossed with their highly gaurded formulas for the perfect dressings. Every bite is just right. You can add proteins as necessary.
One of Austin's original trailers to convert to brick and mortar, the Odd Duck exploded on the culinary scene in 2009 with a strategy of buying an entire hog and using it from nose to tail in various entrees throughout the week. Eventually outgrowing it's trailer footprint, the Gilmore Brothers built a full scale restaurant around the corner. One of the first restaurants to source all local ingredients, they maintain a list of gardens under the Friends section of their website that showcase just how comitted they are to buying local.
One of Austin's first upscale seafood and steak locations, Truluck's anchored the Warehouse District as it became Austin's top spot for upscale nightlife. Known for the pinnacle of service and elegant dining, Truluck's is a top destination for graduations, wine and dining important clients, and marriage proposals. They remodeled the buldling in 2014 to add a second story with floor to ceiling glass walls that overlook the bustling downtown area. They require proper attire and deliver prime steaks "broiled at 1,600 degrees and served on a sizzling 500-degree plate with a roasted head of garlic". They also offer a North Austin location
Located on Springdale Farm in East Austin, Eden East is as unique in it's location as it is the model. They grow most of items they serve in a 5 course prix fixe model that is served outside on community tables for a possibly the most Farm to Tabel restaurant in Austin. We loved being able to tour the farm after dinner and the the BYOB nature with minimal $5 corkage fee that keeps the bill relatively light (dinner was $65 per person). The hours are a little tricky with dinnner currently being offered from 6-10pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and brunch from 9am - 1pm on Wednedays and Saturdays. Thursday is an a la carte menu.
A newcomber to Austin downtown scene, ATX Cocina is a rare Mexican restaurant to make our list. It's known for it's beautiful decor, hip clientele, and a tableside quacamole that is out of this world. This is not your typical Tex Mex with dinner menu items like Halibut en Pozole Verde with pork belly, shaved brussels, radish, charred avocado, and hominy and Lamb al Carbon featuring a lamb porterhouse, charro beans, lemon yogurt both for $38.
Another farm to table leader in the Austin market, Barley Swine is a sister restaurant to Odd Duck from the Gilmore Brothers. Like Odd Duck, their seasonal menu changes frequently to feature ingredients from their local farming friends. Barely Swine is located off Burnet in North Central Austin and known for their $95 tasting menu. An a la carte dinner menu is also available.
Located in a former laundry matt in now gentified East Austin, Launderette hit the restaurant scene a few years back with much accord. They offer indoor and outdoor seating with a fun lounge area when the weather's nice. The menu features classics like a Plancha burger as well as items from the wood grill like pulpo, branzino, and ribeye.
Known for packing an edge, Justine's website showcases some girls sharing a bath in a grainy video that seesm to rile up some potential customers. The crew at Justine's says "the film you see playing is footage that Justine, the owner (who is also an artist), created at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco years ago. To us, it's beautiful, racy, sensual, risqué, edgy, nostalgic, evocative, referential, playful, counterintuitive, rebellious, sweet and provocative---but not pornographic." If you love that description, then you'll love Justine's. We do.
Barlatta translates into can bar. A staple of the Spanish culture is snacking on tapas, many of which come from small tins of gourmet vegetables, meat, and seafood, preserved in brine. I can eat aceitas con anchovas with jamon serrano and queso manchego every day. While Barlatta doesn't serve canned food, you can bet they hvae jamon serrano and queso manchego on the tapas list along side upwards of 40 tapas options that give Barlatta the title of most authentic tapas restaurant in Austin.
For years, Uchi reigned supreme as Austin's best restaurant. Many of those working under chef Tyson Cole have gone on to open their own restaurants over the years, making Uchi a bit of a training ground for the high end kitchens around the Austin and the country. They fly fresh fish in from Japan daily and maintain a focus on sustainability. There's a reason their sister location Uchiko does equally well and locations have opened in Houston, Dallas, and Denver over the years. Uchi is easily Austin's answer to Nobu.
A small, stylish Austin restaurant on West 6th street, Clarke's Oyster Bar in located (appropriately) in the Clarksville neighborhood. Known as the top raw bar in Austin, Clarke's features a lenghty list of oysters and clams by the piece, some outstanding raw platters, and one of Austin's strongest seafood menus. The bright white decor offers a beachy feel and may remind one of Montauk and the Hamptons.
Widely reviewed as a top Austin dining destination, Suerte on East 6th street caters to fans of interior Mexican cuisine with colorful menu and trendy decor. Chef Fermin Nunez believes "homemade masa reigns and every day can be an occasion to celebrate" with a section of the dinner menu dedicated to masas y mas and a playful appetizer area named SNACKCIDENTS that suggests the kitchen enjoys experimenting with flavors.
Opening in 2007 by brothers Andrew and Matt Botticelli, this South Austin hot spot offers a fantastic Italian menu with a beer garden out back. The interior is small and romanitic, while the patio features live music on the weekends. You can order the full menu in either location letting customers choose their dining experience. The Botticelli brothers keep the menu simple aiming for the feel of a typical trattoria with most entree prices ranging in the $20-$30 range with a few exceptions like seared filet at $32 and fish of the day at market price.
Another Italian hot spot on our list, Juniper is a relatively new Austin restaurant opening in 2018 that features Northern Italian cuisine in one of the most modern and stlylish decors on the East side. They offer a regular dinner menu with anti pastas, pastas, secondis, and vegetables a la carte. They also feature a chef's tasting menu that changes monthly avaiable at the chef's counter Thursday - Saturday for $65 per person and wine pairing available for $35. If you're aiming or the chef's menu, make sure you book in advance.
The second tapas restaurant to make our list, Wine Belly features an internationally curated wine list that is ranked highly on top wine bars in America lists by various wine related magazines. Located on Oltorf just East of South 1st, they're a little off the beaten path. That combined with a snazzy tapas list and some reasonable prices shows they consistently deliver a fun and vibrant dining experience. They feature a tiny interior and a decent sized outdoor patio that is awesome when the weather is nice. Their menu features "bar snacks" mostly under $10 that ring true to the history of tapas as well as well as 10 small plates in the $10 - $20 range designed to share.
A Larry Magquire hit and the third seafood focused restaurant to make our list, Perla's has one the most happening patio scenes in Austin that nestles up to the main drag of the hip South Congress Avenue area. The interior is polished and charismatic in style reminiscent of beach restaurants that pepper the Mediterranean coasts. The dinner menu features a solid fresh oyster list, several cuts of fish all over $30, as well as few steaks plus surf and turf combos. They offer seperate lunch and brunch menues as well.
Located on the corner of 5th and Nueces, Fixe features southern cooking prepared with a chef's touch of modern style. The decor is modern but also somehow rustic at the same time with lots of wood and string lighting to compliment the southern theme. A brief menu features appetizers like their famous biscuits, deviled eggs, and trout dip. The entrees range from $21 for the fried chicken that we recommend at least one person order to $48 for a dry aged ribeye that is off the charts.
List 1. Salty Sow 2. Sway 3. Red Ash 4. Vinaigerette 5. Odd Duck 6. Trulucks 7. Eden East 8. Barley Swine 9. ATX Cocina 10. Launderette 11. Justines 12. Barlatta 13. Uchi 14. Clarkes 15. Suerte 16. Boticelli 17. Juniper 18. Wine Belly 19. Perla's 20. Fixe 21. Parkside 22. Buenes Aires 23. Jeffrey's 24. Clay Pit 25. Wu Chow Honarable Mentions Mushashino, Comedor, Emmer & Rye, Dai Dui, Alexandra Sway Uchiko Parkside Numero28 odd duck buffalina Buenes Aires Tom JEFFREYS CIPPOLINA SALTY SOW WU CHOW CLAY PIT tina Buenas Aires Mushashino comedor Lin Asian Bar suerte emmer and rye red ash dai due