With the overwhelming number of acclaimed Austin restaurants and food trucks, the city’s a paradise for gourmands. But that diversity can actually pose a challenge when trying to whittle down the options and find the best gifts for foodies. So we scoured the Lone Star State’s hottest culinary destination for its most delicious gems, from slow-smoked Texas barbecue to sashimi sliced by a local sushi master. Whatever your loved one’s favorite cuisine, you’re sure to discover unique gift ideas.
1. Brisket at Franklin Barbecue
Franklin Barbecue is renowned throughout the country for serving some of the best barbecue in Austin, and its brisket is the star of the show. Chef Aaron Franklin smokes his beef for hours over oak wood, creating jaw-droppingly tender meat encapsulated by a charred, slightly crunchy bark. For an inspired gift idea, treat your loved one to a meal at this lunch-only hotspot. But you’ll need to show up early—lines start forming hours before the doors open at 11 a.m.
2. Cooking Classes at Silver Whisk Cooking School
Executive Chef Myrna Kallergis has years of experience under her belt, cooking alongside celebrity chefs Ted Allen and Sara Moulton, as well as participating in prestigious events such as the Austin Wine and Music Festival. But today she leads a team of equally seasoned culinary instructors at Silver Whisk Cooking School. Surprise your favorite foodie with an in-home cooking class from one of these experts, who will show up at their home and teach them how to make a gourmet multi-course meal. Each session includes two hours of hands-on instruction, ingredients, and all necessary equipment.
3. Sushi at Uchi
If the food-lover in your life is a fan of sashimi and maki, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better restaurant to take them to than Uchi, which serves up some of the best sushi in Austin. Chef Tyson Cole studied in Tokyo and New York for more than a decade to perfect his craft, and he enhances that impressive technique with local, seasonal ingredients and fresh seafood flown in from Japanese fish markets.
4. Cheese of the Month Club from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
There are thousands of good gifts for foodies, but nothing beats the gift that keeps on giving: a food subscription. Check out Antonelli’s Cheese Shop’s Cheese of the Month Club. Every time the shop gets a new shipment of artisanal, limited-batch cheese in its shop, it packages it up and sets it aside for subscribers, who can pick it up or have it shipped for an extra fee. In addition to three to five cheeses, baskets also frequently include thoughtful pairings such as fruit preserves or gourmet chocolates.
5. Mexican Food at La Condesa
In Austin, you're always a stone's throw from great Tex-Mex, but authentic Mexican food can be a bit harder to find. That's why La Condesa is great if your friend or loved one is a fan of traditional south-of-the-border cuisine. Chef Rick Lopez showcases fresh ingredients and modern flourishes in comfort dishes such as chicken breast with three-day mole, Veracruz–style octopus braised in red wine, and margaritas rimmed with cactus-lemongrass salt.