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Best Restaurants in Austin

Check out the best restaurants in Austin, TX. Our Austin Restaurant Guide features 25 top dining experiences based on atmosphere, originality, menu quality, and style.

Angela Hall Last updated on Sep 21, 2022 by

1. Salty Sow in East Austin

Outdoor patio of Salty Sow in Austin, Texas

An American Gastro Pub located a few miles east of IH-35 off Manor Road, Salty Sow is known for its unique savory menu, featuring appetizers like Triple Fried Duck Fat Fries with a 110 minute egg and cold béarnaise. The egg is spun for 110 minutes perfectly cooking it by centrifugal force. This Eastside location brings an interesting edge and sophistication while keeping prices a little lower than other elite Austin dining options with high profile chefs.

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2. Bar Chi Sushi in Downtown Austin

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Located in the Warehouse District, Bar Chi Sushi features Austin's best sushi happy hour from 4-7 daily and all day on Sunday. Executive Chef and owner Leo Wong designed the menu that has been a mainstay in Austin's 2nd Street District since opening in 2010. On weekend nights the energy level amps up to give it sort of a club like feel that caters to well dressed customers gearing up for a night on the town.

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3. Wu Chow on West 5th

Inside view of the dining room at Wu Chow restaurant in Austin, Texas

The only Chinese restaurant to make our list, Wu Chow offers a very modern take on farm to table Chinese with a menu that offers "dishes representative of all eight styles of Chinese cuisine" with dim sum service on Sunday evenings. The blend of stylish interior, reasonable menu prices, and prime location in Austin's West 6th entertainment district help make it a hit with the successful 20 something crowd looking for something unique.

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4. Barlata on South Lamar

Inside view of the dining room at Barlata Austin

The name Barlata 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. We could eat aceitas con anchovas with jamon serrano and queso manchego every day. While Barlata doesn't serve canned food, you can bet they have jamon serrano and queso manchego on the tapas list alongside upwards of 40 tapas options that give Barlata the title of most authentic tapas restaurant in Austin.

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5. Ten Ten on West 6th Street

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A relative newcomer to the Austin dining scene, Ten Ten opened in January of 2020 on West 6th street. Ten Ten features a modern sushi and robata kitchen with stylish décor, a killer happy hour, and large bar area serving great drinks. The robata grill fires up some great flavors that saddle up nicely next to an extensive sushi list.

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6. Ramen Tatsu-Ya on South Lamar

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A relative newcomer to the Austin scene, Ramen Tatsu-ya locations have brought the upscale ramen concept to the town with 4 locations. The South Lamar location is a short block from Alamo Drafthouse and features a hip interior, some outdoor seating, and fantastic bowls of ramen. It's a great spot for date night or a quick lunch.

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7. Truluck's Downtown

View from outside Truluck's restaurant in downtown Austin

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 dining and cocktail lounge. Known for the pinnacle of service and elegant dining, Truluck's is a top destination for graduations, important client dinners, and marriage proposals. The building was remodeled 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". The menu features standout seafood entrees like a 2-lb Alaskan King Crab Cluster and South African Lobster Tail (8-10 oz). There's also a North Austin location.

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8. Gourdough's Public House on South Lamar

Gourdough's on South Lamar

There are legendary restaurants that have withstood the test of time. Then there's newcomers to the scene that spawn legends so quickly, they're woven into stories of that make us wish we were back in college. Gourdough's donut burgers began as a food truck outside of a bar. It's dive into the brick and mortar location on South Lamar has taken it from a worthy late night adventure to a staple in the hang over cure brunch department. We feel it deserves at least one visit per year for locals and is a solid fit for entertaining any friends in town.

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9. Perla's on South Congress

People eating on the outside patio of Perla's restaurant on South Congress

A Larry McGuire 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, a few steaks, plus surf and turf combos. They offer separate lunch and brunch menus as well.

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10. Trace at the W Hotel in downtown Austin

Trace at the W Hotel

Nestled up next to the entrance of the W Hotel on 2nd street, Trace offers a stylish dining retreat in downtown Austin with a large outdoor seating area that hosts live music 2-3 nights per week. Trace offers an easy to peruse menu with upscale dishes and signature drinks.

Trace at the W Hotel

11. Quattro Gatti on Congress Avenue

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Nestled into what turns into a remote part of downtown during the night, is a cool Italian spot called Quattro Gatti Ristorante y Pizzeria. Hidden from typical night life crowds, it's unique charm and location combine to create a quaint, low profile menu with a downtown city feel reminiscent of true Italian family owned fare.

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12. The Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood Texas

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Sure you can wait in line at Franklin's and get some exceptional BBQ. That amounts to standing in the street looking like you're waiting for the next new Iphone. We're Android users over here and have better things to do with our time. Like waiting under oak trees with a bottle of wine. The Salt Lick offers some of the best BBQ in Austin, an adventurous drive into the Texas Hill Country, and if you have to wait which is typical on a warm weekend afternoon, at least it's waiting in style.

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13. Dai Due on Manor Road

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Since opening in 2014, Dai Due on Manor Road has earned quite a cult following among Austin foodies. Owner Chef Jesse Griffiths's cookbook, "The Hog Book: A Chef's Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Pigs", won a James Beard Award this year. Between his book, the restaurant, and his hunting school, The New School of Traditional Cookery, the goal is to educate folks about the sustainable and delicious nature of eating wild game. Every single ingredient on the menu, even the beer and wine, are sourced from Texas.

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14. Launderette on Holly Street

View of the bar at the Launderette restaurant on Holly Street

Formerly the Holly neighborhood laundromat, Launderette quickly became an East Austin staple of fine food in a comfortable setting. The laundromat turned stylish boutique diner provides an upscale eating experience in a uniquely East Austin neighborhood setting. They offer indoor and outdoor seating with a fun lounge area that makes waiting more palatable 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.

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15. Hillside Farmacy in Austin's East Side

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The Austin food scene uniquely juxtaposes historic buildings with modern cuisine & beverage concepts. What was once a drugstore in the 1950s-1970s, Hillside Farmacy is now one of Austin's favorite spots for farm-to-table faire.

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16. la Barbecue on Ceasar Chavez

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One of many Austin BBQ rivals and alternatives to the long lines at Franklin's, la Barbecue is owned by the daughter of BBQ's legendary Bobby Mueller whose family tree has been the subject of many meaty stories to grace local and national magazines.

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17. Vinaigerette off South Congress

View of the outside dining patio at Vinaigerette off South Congress

Located off South Congress a few blocks south of the Soco Shopping district, Vinaigrette is a sustainable salad bistro where those who know go in Austin for not-your-average-salad entrees. It hails from New Mexico with locations in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Featuring a stylish décor with modern interior and furnishings, the highlight of Vinaigrette's Austin location is its exceptional outdoor dining beneath a giant Live Oak tree. Their trick to delivering the freshest veggies around? Vinaigrette owns a farm just outside of Austin where it lovingly grows its own ingredients. This is our favorite lunch or dinner spot for large, entrée-sized salads that will leave you full. Protein options include locally sourced free-range chicken and grass-fed beef. Salads typically arrive pre-tossed with their highly guarded formulas for the perfect dressings so every bite is just right. The black bean and kale nachos are a special treat every time.

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18. Clay Pit in the Bertram Building

Inside view of the downstairs dining room at The Clay Pit restaurant in Austin, Texas

Our favorite Indian restaurant in Austin, the Clay Pit features one the more affordable menus on this list with a solid dose of stylish ambiance to boot. It's inside the Bertram building, one of Austin's oldest historical buildings, and the property has a lot of history that is worth asking your server about. The place is packed at lunch due to well loved buffet, but evenings can get pretty busy too...even on weeknights. We should also mention the private dining options are very notable as well.

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19. Buenos Aires on East 6th

Inside view of the dining room at Buenos Aires Cafe in Austin, Texas

Located on East 6th street just a few short blocks from IH35, Buenos Aires was an east side dining option that opened 2005 and before the entertainment zone developed around it. That staying power is a testament to their menu and the style of the restaurant. Known for their empanadas, they offer 6 to chose from and many customers try a few of these as appetizer options. They also features a brief tapas list, a few platos de la casa, and some pastas in addition to a grilled section they describe as the "the holy trinity of Argentine cuisines: meat, fire & seasonal ingredients. A small floor plan gives Buenos Aires a super cozy vibe, but also leads to feeling busier than normal on busy nights.

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20. Justine's in East Austin

View of the inside of Justine's Restaurant dining room in East Austin

Known for packing an edge, Justine's website showcases some girls sharing a bath in a grainy video that has been known to rile up some prospective 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, counter intuitive, rebellious, sweet and provocative---but not pornographic." If you love that description, then you'll love Justine's. We do.

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21. Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden

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Considered a staple of causal dining scene in Austin's unique and trendy Rainey Street District, Banger's Sausage House delivers gourmet sausages in a variety of flavors and one of the best beer selections on tap the city has to offer. The outdoor community seating is energetic and fun, creating worthwhile experience at a reasonable price.

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22. Taverna in the Second Street District

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One of the first restaurants to open in the 2nd Street District, Taverna has staying power by adhering to a simple formula of authentic high quality food at reasonable prices. It's proximity to the ACL theater and several Austin condos can fill this place up early.

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23. Uchi on South Lamar

Inside view of the dining room and sushi bar at Uchi on South Lamar

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 high end kitchens around Austin and the country. Fresh fish is flown in from Japan daily for the best sashimi in town, while creative hot stone dishes like our favorite Bacon Steakies fill out the cooked side of the menu with flair. There's a reason Uchi's sister location Uchiko does equally well with locations now in Houston, Dallas, and Denver. Uchi is easily Austin's answer to Nobu.

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24. Jeffrey's on West Lynn

Indoor dining room of Jeffrey's restaurant in Austin, Texas

Possibly the first fine dining restaurant in Austin, Jeffrey's opened in 1975 and has served Austin's (and the world's) elite with regulars that included George Bush, Lance Armstrong, and Andy Roddick. It changed hands in 2011 and is now owned by esteemed restaurant entrepreneur Larry McGuire who also owns Perla's and Lambert's. It's location off the beaten path on West Lynn in Clarksville keeps this gem hidden from typical modern Austinites dining in the entertainment districts. The restaurant is small, cozy, and pricey with most entrees near the $50 range and nearly the entire aged beef steak and chops sections above that. If you've got a hot date or clients to impress, Jeffrey's will definitely deliver.

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25. Cucina on 35th near Bull Creek Blvd

Cucina 35

Located at 35th and Bull Creek, Cucina features brick oven fired pizzas, appetizers, entrees, as well as a variety of simple, yet complete, pasta dishes. Different than most of the places on this list, Cucina makes the cut based on simplicity, heart, and reasonable prices. While some aim for the fanciest ambiance and meals packed with rare ingredients, others like something classic and reasonably priced. You get both at Cucina with a dose of charming personality and relaxing décor.

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