Staff Picks: Austin Restaurants
We polled our team to create a guide that is sure to become an Austin icon: The Texas State Tubes’ Restaurant Guide! Here are some of our favorite places in town, in no particular order, offering a wide variety of choices in cuisine and atmosphere. There’s something for everyone, visitor or local!
Bufalina is known for its Neapolitan style pizza made in wood burning ovens imported from Italy, all made from fresh, local ingredients. A lesser known fact is that the owner and founder, Steven Dilley, is also a highly regarded sommelier and the East Side (Chavez) location boasts one of the best (and most accessible) wine lists in town. If you happen to be up on the north side, the second location, Bufalina Due is on Burnet Road near FM 2222.
This place was cool before anyone called the area “West 6th”. It’s one part amazing tequila bar: Try one of the many custom margaritas on the menu like the The Ranch Rita – a 100% Agave Sauza 100 Años Silver Tequila, Di Amore Quattro, and fresh lime juice with prickly pear puree on the rocks. It’s also one part amazing southwestern restaurant. Don’t leave without trying the quail appetizer, the divorced trout entrée or the Vacio tacos. And oh yeah, it’s essentially criminal to leave without downing at least three biscuits.
This South First neighborhood gem is a favorite Mexican restaurant for local Austinites. Before you head out to float the river, treat yourself to a breakfast of migas or swing by afterwards for an enchilada plate. The caliente are just that – HOT.
Thai food, but a bit fancy…This award-winning restaurant on South First street offers up great food in a modern atmosphere. Their most popular dish, called the “Son in Law”, features braised pork shoulder, a crispy farm egg, thick soy and nahm prik pla. If you like raw oysters, try their Thai inspired version. Most of the seating is community/family style, which works out well because we recommend ordering food the same way. While it’s perfectly setup for group dining, make reservations for larger groups. Singles and couples can take advantage of a bar that overlooks the open kitchen.
This cozy French-Vietnamese eatery is located next door to Sway. You’ll find mainstays like Pho alongside French-inspired items such as a savory crepes. Fresh items are served in the bakery and there are to-go options for orders serving 6 people and over.
If brunch is on your mind, check out this South Austin staple. While the it’s billed as Delicious American Cuisine, the migas are arguably the best in town. They also offer an outstanding dinner menu in a modern dining room overlooking busy South Congress Avenue.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Franklin’s, even if you’re not from around here, as it’s received national press and inspired cookbooks and lots of YouTube videos. They make a set quantity of BBQ every day, and when they’re sold out, they close. Getting a chance to try their legendary brisket and sausage means joining the line around 730am, and then eating around 11am. Bring a lawn chair and your favorite beverages (coolers and beer are welcome) and get to know your neighbors while you wait. A fire almost took this place out around new year’s 2018, but like Matthew Wilder in ’83, nobody gonna slow this BBQ down.
Situated in the historic and supposedly haunted Bertram building at 16th and Guadalupe, this long-running locally owned restaurant offers contemporary Indian food in a sophisticated, casually elegant setting. Head Chef Bali Singh isn’t playing around with classic favorites like Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer and Tandoori Chicken, but his menu also features modern offerings like Indian inspired mussels.
Eddie V’s is known for upscale seafood, but the steaks are great too. You can get fancy with elevated pairings of oysters and champagne, or even the caviar. The wine list is solid, as are the cocktails. Great for big bachelor/bachelorette party dinners, reservations are encouraged and banquet rooms are available. There is also a north location in the Arboretum.
An upscale Southern eatery on West 5th Street, Fixe is a perfect brunch stop, but the fried chicken at dinner is great as well. Their biscuits aren’t to be missed, and the same goes for their thick cut bacon. Full bar and signature cocktails pair up nicely.
A dhaba is a roadside eatery in India known for amazing food. This trailer on South First is exactly that. Lots of Indian favorites with authentic flavors in a casual setting.
This South Congress Tex-Mex favorite is right in the middle of the action. Celebrity sightings are common. Guero’s is known as a taco bar, but the menu includes a wide variety of dishes. The margaritas are fantastic (Hornitos with salt) and there is often live music in their garden outside. Family friendly, margs notwithstanding.
Our Founder’s favorite, this ultra-modern Chinese food restaurant is located on West 5th. Treat yourself to dim-sum on Sundays from 11am-3pm or Szechwan style cuisine at lunch or dinner. Tiki drinks are served in festive glasses and are a perfect way to balance a fun evening downtown.
This burger bar began in Austin but has since spread to other cities. There are two locations, one just down the street from Guero’s on South Congress Avenue, and the other one located in the north central area on Anderson Lane. Their burgers are made with freshly ground meat and are served on freshly baked buns. While they specialize in beef, they also solid offer lamb and veggie burger varieties. People rave about their truffle fries, and the bar offers select local micro-brews.
This BBQ mecca is a Texas mainstay. Although Salt Lick is a short drive from the Austin city limits in a small town called Driftwood, it is worth the drive for the tasty ribs, brisket and sausage. Picnic table seating and family-style meals are perfect for large groups, but don’t forget to BYOB.