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Restaurants in Austin

Austin has been the unofficial capital of cool for years now. Between crazy hip fests like SXSW and Austin City Limits, its creative independent film scene, and its dedication to “keeping Austin weird,” it’s no wonder it’s still one of the fastest growing cities in the country. It’s also no wonder that Austin restaurants are some of the best in the country, too. You can find classic Texas barbecue and tasty breakfast tacos alongside James Beard Award finalists. Start your culinary adventure by checking out some of our favorite Austin restaurants below.

Best Restaurants in Austin

 

L’Oca d’Oro

More than just delicious, upscale Italian with prix fixe menus and a love of hand-crafted recipes—it’s a restaurant that’s committed to true hospitality, which is why they pay their servers a fair wage and include gratuity on every bill. They know that a happy staff is the key to high-quality service, so this is a meal you can really feel good about.

 

Dai Due

There’s locally sourced and then there’s Dai Due. The chefs at Dai Due take their love of all things local to the next level. You’ll never find a spear of asparagus outside its season, a cut of beef from a farm you couldn’t visit, or a single slice of foreign cheese. Even the wine and olive oil is Texas grown and made. Even better, it’s all organic, too.

 

Franklin Barbecue

Since its opening in late 2009, Franklin Barbecue has sold out of its antibiotic- and hormone-free brisket every single day. Even after moving from a trailer to its current brick-and-mortar location, two- to three-hour waits for pork ribs, pulled pork, and beef-and-pork sausage are commonplace. The line is so long, it even has its own Twitter account. It’s worth it, though, as Anthony Bourdain described the brisket as “supernatural.”

 

Odd Duck

Once just a humble trailer, as of 2013 Odd Duck is a proper fine-dining destination without the fuss. Co-owner and chef Bryce Gilmore is a five-time James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef Southwest, after all. Go in for brunch, lunch, or dinner to discover fresh cheddar biscuits with sweet potato gravy, philly cheesesteak beef sausage, and more.

Scotty’s BBQ |2730 East Cesar Chavez St.

 

Can’t bear to wait in line at Franklin, but don’t want to sacrifice quality? Need enough food for a family party, but don’t want to do the cooking? Enter Scotty's BBQ. It bets its name on good old-fashioned barbecue, letting tangy spice rubs and wood smoke permeate quality cuts of meat for an undeniably delectable end product. The team operates out of a rust-red food truck (and as a top Austin catering service), slinging hot pork and beef ribs, smoked brisket, and classic southern sides like creamy coleslaw and potato salads. And to compliment the succulent meats even further, Scotty's doles out healthy doses of its signature sauces—sweet, spicy, or the ever-popular Dr. Pepper.

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Best Tacos in Austin

 

Ñoños Tacos

A true hole-in-the-wall joint, Ñoños is a favorite among locals for its fantastic blend of spices and the fresh-made tortillas some call the best in the city.

 

Juana Taco

This taco truck brings the flavors of Monterrey and the Rio Grande Valley to Austin. Fans recommend the Papa Asada, a blend of potato mashed with meat or veggies and topped with butter, crema, and cheese.

 

Veracruz All Natural

A family-run restaurant, Veracruz All Natural brings to life the flavors of the family’s hometown—you guessed it—Veracruz. Go at breakfast to get the migas poblanas taco, which spices up the classic egg dish with peppers.

 

Las Trancas

These are classic street tacos, meant to be eaten on the go. Try something traditional with tripas or lengua, or more standard with al pastor, but whatever you get, don’t forget to ask for the VIP sauce.

Maria’s Taco Xpress | 2529 South Lamar Blvd.


Maria's namesake owner was deemed the "South Austin's Taco Queen" by the Austin Chronicle, a distinction she's more than earned since serving her first taco from a trailer 20 years ago. Her unique, flavorful Mexican fare is made in an artistic environment, where live bands and gospel singers serenade diners on the patio or amidst the dining room's striking and kaleidoscopic decor. Maria's food and attitude has been praised by both Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray, and Dirty Linen Magazine described the interior as having "more charm per square foot than one might believe possible." Even better, guilt isn't a side dish, with Southern Living saying, "You wouldn’t expect this from hearty comfort food, but all have fewer calories and fat than typical tacos."

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Umi Sushi Bar & Grill | 5510 S. Interstate 35 Frontage Rd.

 

Umi Sushi Bar & Grill takes its name from the Japanese word for ocean. That's perfectly fitting, considering the bounty of oceanic delicacies served at the eatery. Sushi chefs expertly slice fish for traditional sashimi, signature rolls, and creative offerings, such as the hamachi paired with orange oil and garlic brunoise, among other components. Sushi isn't the only speciality here, though. Umi's chefs also prepare entrees such as the slow-roasted lamb shank as well as bento boxes, teriyaki dishes, and udon bowls

Ever feel lost looking at a sushi menu? You don’t need to. If you’re not exactly sure what the difference is between maki and nigiri and sashimi, then here’s a quick little guide to help you out.

 

 

  • Maki: a traditional sushi roll consisting of fish, veggies, and rice, rolled up in seaweed that can be cooked or raw
  • Nigiri: thin slices of raw fish served atop rice

 

Sashimi: sliced raw fish (or other meat) served without rice

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