Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

Best Restaurants in Austin, TX

by Samantha Bernstein

34th Street Cafe
1005 West 34th Street
(512) 371-3400

This popular spot offers lunch and dinner plus a catering company. Blue plate specials are pork tenderloin, pastas, roasted chicken breast and Tex-Mex fare. Made in-house desserts, Tuscan pizzas, large sandwiches and garden salads round out the menu. Reasonable prices but expect a parking space to be scarce.


606 Rio Grande
(512) 479-8117

French cuisine is offered at this small, upscale restaurant. Choose from either the fixed priced dinner or the a la carte offerings. Start with foie gras, head into beef medallions and finish with a melange of sorbets...you can't go wrong. Dinner only.

ASTI Trattoria
408C E 43rd St
(512) 451-1218

Chefs Emmett and Lisa Fox have really created the perfect neighborhood restaurant. The food is simple and clean--they don't stack all their ingredients 6 inches high. Their menu is delicious. It offers the community of Hyde Park something they can count on. My favorites include their Asparagus Risotto, Antipasti plates, the White Pizza with Proscuitto and Truffle Oil and their fabulous Polenta Bowls.

Athenian Grill 

600 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 474-7775

Delicious authentic Greek dishes in a new upscale atmosphere right in the heart of downtown Austin. Open for lunch and dinner featuring a daily happy hour from 4-7 with $5 drink and appetizer specials. Also live Greek music every Friday and Saturday night.

Austin Java  
1206 Parkway @12th/Lamar 
1608 Barton Springs Road   
City Hall- 301 W. 2nd St, #100           
512.472.JAVA (5282)

Austin Land and Cattle    
1205 North Lamar Blvd        



2408 W. Anderson
(512) 451-7333

Formally a Houston's concept restaurant, Bartlett's offers consistent, quality American food. Grilled meats, fall off the bone ribs, fish, chicken, popular entree salads and sweet desserts are favs.


Chez Zee
5406 Balcones Drive
(512) 454-2666

Walk in and enjoy seeing close to 30 desserts on display! Yes, Chez Zee is a full table service restaurant and bar but it is the desserts that interest many diners. Be sure and try Maida's cake, 2 layers of chocolate cake with vanilla cream that is frosted with mocha mousse, or fresh fruit Bavarian cheesecake topped with a strusel mixture.


3407 Greystone
(512) 343-9307
3300 Bee Caves Rd.
(512) 327-6588


You'll find very good Chinese food and moderate prices at these sister restaurants. Items such as cilantro shrimp, lemon chicken, and shrimp with lemongrass soup shine.


Cipollina Italian Cafe and Takeout
1213 West Lynn
(512) 477-5211

This fun, bustling neighborhood cafe and take-out venture located in Austin's historical Clarksville quarter is another one of Austin Restaurateurs Ron and Peggy Weiss and Executive Chef David Garrido (also the owner's of Jeffrey's and Shoreline Grill). Italian-inspired lunch favorites include the Cappocola Ham and Provolone sandwich, the Mediterranean Salad with its generous dusting of oregano, or heartier options such as the Grilled Lamb and Sweet Onion or Ribeye and Roasted Garlic sandwiches. They've got a wood-fired pizza oven for Pizza Margherita and Pepperoni Pizza with homemade marinara. Other selections include Oak-Roasted Rotisserie Chicken, Risotto Cakes, and the cafes namesake Cipollina Onions swimming in balsamic vinegar! Everything is available to go. Neighbors pop in to share an assortment of antipasto and a bottle of Italian wine, and on Thursday evenings for Tango lessons!


Cisco's Bakery
1511 E. 6th Street
(512.) 478-2420

Cisco's Bakery is an Austin landmark, located in East Austin and renowned for its great Tex-Mex food. Cisco's Bakery is owned and operated by Rudy "Cisco" Cisneros, the man who made migas and huevos rancheros famous.

Clay Pit
1601 Guadalupe Street
(512) 322-5131

Located in the historic limestone Bertram Building not far from the Capitol, the Clay Pit offers contemporary Indian cuisine, largely from traditional northern India. Vegetables, breads and meats are cooked in the tandoor (clay) ovens. Most dishes are not heavily spiced but can be ordered mild, medium or "native style." Look for mussels and calamari with curry and coriander. 40 different dinner entrees & a reasonably priced lunch buffet are other pluses.


Corazon at Castle Hill
1101 W. 5th Street
(512) 476-0728

One of Austin's most reliable restaurants, Castle Hill is known for the eclectic changing menu and reasonably priced wine. Chile-heads love the assertive seasonings of the Southwestern and Asian-influenced dishes. Lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday.


County Line

5204 FM 2222
6500 W. Bee Caves Road
(512) 327-1742

County Line takes 20 hours to smoke their meats, so whether you want beef brisket, ribs or sausage, you'll find unbelievable wood-flavored tenderness. All-you-can-eat dinners come with all the fixin's such as beans, cole slaw and potato salad. The 2222 location is on the lake.


Driskill Grill
604 Brazos Street
(512) 474-5911

Artistry, innovation, and passion are but a few of the key components that guide each dining experience at The Driskill Hotel. Enjoy carefully crafted menus combined with flawless execution by The Driskill's award winning team of chefs. With Jonathan Gelman as the Grill's executive chef, The Driskill remains at the forefront of culinary advance.


Eddie V’s Edgewater Grille
Seafood, Steaks & Rhythm
301 East 5th
( 512) 472-1860
9400 Arboretum Blvd.
512) 342-2642

Eddie V's has two locations. This review was written after a visit to the 5th Street restaurant:
This is the spot to see every mover and shaker in town. Visits include sightings of Michael Caine & Robert Duvall dining at the bar in the VLounge--they were in town filming a movie; Bush politico Karen Hughes, former Chief Advisor to the President; musician Delbert McClinton joined actor Jason Patric—after a day of filming a movie. Now from the kitchen, Eddie V’s is happy to offer diners The Seafood Expert, a monthly report of seafood tips and tricks by Executive Chef John Carver. Seafood and steaks are the name of the game here.


El Patio
2938 Guadalupe

El Patio is one of Austin's oldest and best Tex-Mex emporiums. El Patio opened in 1954 by Paul Joseph andis run today by his wife Mary and their children. The building was built in the late '30s has had little change and has seen over 6 generations go through its doors. On most nights you'll find a long line of admirers leading out the door.


1610 S. Congress Avenue
(512) 441-7672

This restaurant opened right next door to local fav Vespaio by chef-owner Alan Lazarus.


Finn and Porter
500 East 4th Street (inside the Hilton Hotel)
(512) 493-4900

Walk into the lobby of the newly built Hilton in downtown Austin and you can’t miss the Finn and Porter lounge filled with a mix of tourists and after work locals who are visiting under the dim lights and reflection from the flat screen televisions.  Take the winding staircase down to the formal dining area where you are greeted by sushi chefs busy filleting a variety of fresh fish.  The high ceilings and modern lit panels, along with the overhead lighting, create a sophisticated dining atmosphere.  The menu offers an extensive array of appetizers, steak, salads, and fish entrees.  The creative sushi menu offers such delicacies as foie gras o-toro rolls and unagi sandwiches- rice paddies filled with unagi and spicy tuna cuts.  Begin your meal with a sage derby cheese biscuit topped with apricot chutney- compliments of the chef.  It’s hard to resist the fresh rosemary sage bread but the anticipation of a rich filet rib eye Oscar” style or fresh Japanese sea bass will make you think twice about filling up before the main entrée.  Be sure and save room for dessert.  Who could resist the peanut butter and banana sandwich made with banana bread, caramel sauce and pistachio crisp?  It is a solid hybrid of a sushi bar and steak house.  Although Finn & Porter is only open for dinner and lunch with a reservation of 25 or more people, you should plan to dine there for a special occasion or when meeting with out of town guests.  Be sure and check out the website for nightly specials in the bar and restaurant.

Restaurant open daily 5-11pm.
Sushi served nightly.



320 East Second Street
(512) 457-1500

This "Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar" celebrates food, wine and the company of friends.Wine receives the same attention as the food with over 100 wines by the glass. Fleming's seats 220 in a converted old warehouse near the downtown Convention Center. The exhibition kitchen offers steaks that are aged, fresh-cut prime beef. Entrees of pork, chicken and seafood are available as well as salads, generous sides and desserts. Inquire about their private dining rooms and gift certificates.



Fonda San Miguel
2330 W. North Loop
(512) 459-4121

Interior of Mexico cuisine is what you will find at this 25 year old treasure including ceviche el pescador Veracruz-style (marinated fish in a salsa of tomatoes, onions and cilantro); pollo pibil (boneless chicken breast baked in banana leaves), beef tenderloin, quail and venison; beautiful decor.

1412 South Congress
(512) 447-7688

Authentic Mexican food is what you'll find at this popular S. Congress spot. Enchiladas, tacos, nachos, fajitas and Guero's own rich dark mole sauce. Catering available. Open lunch and dinner.

Gumbo's-Louisiana Style Cafe
710 Colorado Street
(512) 480-8053

Hill's Cafe
4700 S. Congress Avenue
(512) 851-9300


Hoffbrau Steakhouse
613 W. Sixth Street
(512) 472-0822

An Austin tradition owned by the same family since 1934, this casual spot occupies a former feed-store building. Grilled steaks and hearty German potatoes is what you will find with indoor and outdoor dining; Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.; 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.; MasterCard & Visa credit cards accepted.


Hoover Cooking

2002 Manor Rd.
(512) 479-5006



Hudson's on the Bend
3509 RM 620 North
(512) 266-1369

Hudson's "The Most Civilized Game in the Southwest" offers Southwestern cuisine specializing in game meats. You'll see rattlesteak cakes, pheasant tortilla soup, boar tenderloin, peppered antelope, moulard duck pate, water buffalo enchiladas, venison, rabbit, smoked quail, grilled ostrich...the list goes on and on. Chefs Jay Moore and Jeff Blank invite you to dine inside or out on the lit patio, just perfect for cool Texas nights. The duo have a cookbook entitled "Cooking Fearlessly" (Fearless Press, 1999, $32.95), sell Hudson's on the Bend Gourmet Sauces and teach cooking classes at the restaurant.

Hyde Park Bar and Grill
4206 Duval Street   
(512) 458-3168


1204 West Lynn
(512) 477-5584

Dinner only at this fine-dining restaurant that is 25 years old; chef David Garrido's menu features Southwestern flair such as fresh game, Gulf Coast seafood, Texas beef, vegetarian dishes, and an award winning wine list. A second Jeffrey's has opened at the Watergate in Washington, DC.


Katz's Deli and Bar
618 W. Sixth
(512) 472-2037

Open 24 hours; old time Austin favorite serving breakfast, knishes, latkes, roast beef and Rueben sandwiches around the clock. There are tables to eat in or take out is available. If you expect New York deli quality, you'll be disappointed.

La Traviata
314 Congress Avenue
(512) 479-8131

Chef Marion Gillcrist serves classic Italian cuisine such as: crisp polenta with a Gorgonzola cream sauce; salad of sweet marinated beets, salty ricotta salata and bitter arugula; grilled scallops on a bed of cannellini beans with warm baby spinach; and duck confit served over a potato-fennel gratin with a Madeira-fig sauce.


419 W. 2nd Street
(512) 474-5323 (LEAF)

Leaf is the healthy, quick, and fresh alternative 2nd Street District restaurant that offers large, customized, made-to-order salads with fresh produce, premium ingredients and homemade dressings. You have the ability to create your own salad using a seemingly endless choice of produce, homemade dressings, and toppings or choose from one of their pre-designed (but not pre-made) Big 12 salads. Line up to place your order and see the array of fresh ingredients before you. A few of the pre-designed salads are: Capitol City Cobb, Abbi's Asian Chicken, Nicoise, Margherita on the Works, Strawberry Fields and Asiago Lemon Shrimp. Local vendors are used whenever possible and the restaurant is environmentally responsible.


Malaga Tapas & Bar
440 West 2nd Street
(512) 236-8020

Malaga is located in the 2nd Street District, between the cross streets of San Antonio and Guadalupe. MALAGA IS A 21 AND UP ESTABLISHMENT open for Lunch, Happy Hour and Dinner.




Mandola's Italian Market
4700 W. Guadalupe, Suite 12
(512) 419-9700

With a heartfelt desire to preserve the Italian-American experience, Damian and Trina Mandolas have created a place to enjoy simply prepared family recipes that have brought friends and family together for generations. It is an authentic Italian grocery, with fine, hard-to-find Italian imports. It is a place to gather. And it is a place to enjoy great food with warm Italian hospitality. Think restaurant, bakery, grocery store, and you have a fun place to be.



Manuel's Downtown
301 Congress Avenue
(512) 472-7555



Manuel's at Great Hills
10201 Jollyville Road
(512) 345-1042

Upscale Mexican food is what you will find at these celebrated Mexican restaurants. In 1984 Manuel's opened in Austin's downtown historic district. This was followed in 1998 by the Great Hills location. Foods from the different regions of Mexico made with high quality ingredients is what you will find here. Seafood includes ceviche, tuna steak, crab enchiladas and shrimp dishes. There are 5 kinds of enchiladas with 6 sauces, quesadillas and fajitas. The Sunday Jazz Brunch with live music is a popular venue and a longtime Austin favorite. Look for mango daiquiris, gordita (potato and corn masa pancake), breakfast tacos, omelets and migas, among other dishes.



Maudies Tex Mex
http://www.maudies.com/locations.html for many locations

Maudies is a local favorite of children, teens, college kids and families in Austin.


O's Campus Cafe
University of Texas

O's is located in the new Applied Computational Engineering and Sciences (ACES) building and its sister O's to Go is located outside the building. O's offers University of Texas students stylish, healthful sustenance beyond the bland offerings of campus concession stands. Students get a powerhouse of flavor with every bite of pizza, burger, vegan or vegetarian special, soup, salad, sushi, vermicelli, or Special O' the Day. Breakfast puts tacos and fresh baked breads and pastries on the table with plenty of coffee, and O's also provides inspired, on-campus catering.




Pappasito's Cantina
6513 N. Interstate 35
(512) 459-9214

Large, loud and crowded...this is a happening place! This casual chain Mexican restaurant offers tender carne asada fajitas, fresh flour tortillas, enchiladas and great seafood dishes.

Paradise Cafe & Bar

401 E. Sixth Street
(512) 476-5667

One of the many cafes in the entertainment district; good spot for lunch, dinner or late night dining offering pastas, seafood, salads, burgers and other Texas favorites.


Peony Asian Cuisine
Yoshi's Sushi Bar
5308 Balcones Drive
(512) 459-3341

This is not your normal Chinese restaurant. A mix of Asian foods are served here plus the sushi bar offers fresh fish and pleasant service. Look for baked salmon, green mussels, Hawaiian duck, cassoulet Chinois and jalapeno beef.


2004 S. 1st Street
(512) 441-5446

Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, this member of the "Tex-Mex Mile" offers interior of Mexico Mexican food as well as Tex-Mex. A reasonably priced full buffet lunch with three sauces (traditional tomato, tomatillo and roasted tomato) and Coco-Cola Mexicanos (1/2 liter bottled Cokes) and a popular patio make Polvos a fun place to eat.

Ranch 616
616 Nueces Street


The Ranch is a comfortable South Texas Ice House featuring South Texas cuisine from the Gulf Coast of Mexico to the bordertowns of Texas and Mexico. This fun restaurant and bar scene with some of the best enchiladas in town, wonderful crispy oyster sandwich, several very good trout combinations and frog legs. Be sure and reserve a table on the outdoor patio!



Roaring Fork
InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel
701 Congress Avenue
(512) 583-0000


Open 7 nights a week, this American Western Bistro and Saloon, offers cuisine in the hearty spirit of the American West, where elegant flavors crackle with a rugged edge. Menu offerings include appetizers: Kettle of Green Chile Pork Stew, Buttered Flour Tortillas; Corona,'Extra', Cerveceria Modelo, Mexico, N.V. New Mexico Fondue Pot with Little Lamb Chops, Pistachio Bread & Squash. Dinner menu includes Sugar & Chile-Cured Duck Breast, Garden Picalily, Green Chile Macaroni; Skillet-Fried Rainbow Trout Filets, Sauteed Spinach, Lemon Butter Sauce; Chicken Platter with Corn-on-the-Cob Barbecued Dark Meat, Buttermilk-Fried White Meat, Baked Beans & Slaw; Center-Cut Beef Tenderloin Glazed with a Whiskey “Shellac” Southern-Style Green Beans & Mashed Potatoes; Beef Short Rib with Cooked Greens, Red Onion Marmalade, Spicy Matchsticks. Originators of Austin favorites Eddie V’s and ZTejas, Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles are excited to bring their successful Arizona concept with partner and Executive Chef Robert McGrath (2001 James Beard Chef of the Southwest) to Austin.


Roy's Austin
340 E. Second Street
(512) 391-1500

There are Roy's restaurants around the world. Begun by Chef Roy Yamaguchi in Hawaii, the downtown Austin Roy's offers many of the Chef's Hawaiian Fusion dishes. Don't miss Roy's original blackened ahi with spicy soy mustard butter. Islander favorites include macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi, Japanese style misoyaki butterfish and jade pesto steamed white fish. The Roy's signature oven baked desserts are also winners.



Rudy's "Country Store" And Bar-B-Q
11570 Research Blvd.
(512) 418-9898
2451 Capitol of Texas Highway
(512) 329-5554

Just like the original Rudy's near San Antonio, the two Austin Rudy's are meat markets that sells cooked meats. You can either eat it there or take it home. Their pits use oak wood and produce some very good brisket, turkey, ribs, chicken and sausage. Sides of potato salad, cole slaw, pinto beans and delicious cream corn are available. Bottles of their famous BBQ sauce are sold for $7.95 a quart.

Ruth's Chris Steak House
The Scarborough Building
107 W. 6th St.
(512) 343-9307

Dinner nightly; exceptional US Prime sizzling steaks and an a la carte menu that features fresh seafood, chicken, vegetables and salads; cocktails and award-winning wine list; comfortable atmosphere in this sophisticated, art-deco remake of the old Scarbrough's men's department, but all this good eating does not come cheap. Lounge opens at 4:30 p.m. for appetizers and drinks.

Santa*Rita Tex Mex Cantina
1206 West 38th Street
(512) 419.RITA (7482)

Open 7 days a week for brunch (Saturday and Sunday),
lunch and dinner offering award winning Tex Mex Mexican food.



Shady Grove      
1624 Barton Springs Road
(512) 474-9991


Shoal Creek Saloon 
909 N Lamar Blvd.
(512) 474-0805



Shoreline Grill
98 San Jacinto Blvd.
(512) 477-3300

Overlook Town Lake and enjoy a quality meal. Shao mai dumplings, crab cakes, cornmeal crusted pork medallions, and grilled rib eye are special but be sure and save room for the chocolate intemperance. Open lunch and dinner.

South Congress Cafe
1600 S Congress Avenue
(512) 447-3905

Southwestern fare including a blue-corn tortilla with shredded chicken, crusted beef medallions, pork tenderloin, venison meat loaf and Cajun seafood scampi, all in oversized portions. Super desserts, especially the banana cheesecake. Well stocked bar. Open 7 days a week for both lunch and dinner.


Sullivan's Steak House

300 Colorado Street
(512) 495-6504

Named after legendary bare-knuckled boxer John L. Sullivan (late 1800's), this upscale, art deco 1940's-era Chicago steak house is a treat to the eyes and the palate. Accented in wood tones, this dinner only popular spot has a clubby bar. Perfectly seasoned steaks are king here with chops, seafood, large side orders of horseradish mashed potatoes, broccoli hollandaise and creamed spinach among the most popular items. Sullivan's bar scene is one of the busiest in town. Enjoy live music after dinner in the Ringside, a nightclub adjacent to the restaurant.


The Range
101 Main Street
Salado, TX 76571
(254) 947-3828

Clustered along the clear blue waters of Salado Creek, historic Salado boasts the refined ambiance and the soulful flavors of the Mediterranean at The Range. The ever-changing menu is marked by farm fresh vegetables and herbs, prime quality meats, poultry and seafood, hearty and appetizing soups, and sublime desserts. The restaurant's New American cuisine allows Chef Dave Hermann to explore a culinary richness that embraces the choicest elements from time-honored French cooking techniques. Fall menu includes: Marinated & Grilled Pork Tenderloin over Roasted Fall Vegetables, House Fries & Stone GroundMustard Pork Jus ($19.50); Pan Seared Salmon Filet with Grilled Green Onions & Warm Red Bliss Potato 'Salad' in a Toasted Mustard Seed Sauce ($18.95); Spinach & Goat Cheese Stuffed Quail over Crispy Polenta with Quail Sauce ($18.95); Grilled Filet of Beef over Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes with Green Peppercorn Brandy Sauce and Fresh Vegetables ($32.95).



The Salt Lick
FM 1826
Driftwood, TX
(512) 858-4959

Pack an ice chest with your favorite beer and head out to the country, where you'll find one of the few open-pit barbecues remaining in Central Texas; and some consistently tender, smoke flavored chicken, meaty ribs, sausage and lean brisket; no credit cards but a fun, go-in-a-group atmosphere.

The Tavern
922 W. 12th Street
(512) 474-7494

The friendly pub at 12th and Lamar has been a favorite haunt of U.T. students and alumni for over 70 years. Chicken fried steaks, meatloaf, and a selection of burgers are the daily fare with a big screen TV for sports fanatics.

La Taverna         
258 E 2nd Street
(512) 477-1001

Thai Passion       
620 Congress Avenue # 105
(512) 472-1244

6416 N. Lamar
(512) 451-5440
301 W. Riverside and S. Lamar
(512) 472-9304

American food--Southern style/wholesome home-style cooking is the stronghold at this spot where Janis Joplin started her career in the 1960s. Roadhouse chicken fried steak, meat loaf, deep-fried chicken livers, roast turkey on Sundays and over 23 different vegetable side dishes are just some of the favorites. "Victory with Vegetables" pleases those who want to eat healthy food. Open seven days a week; no reservations; nonsmoking.

TRIO at the Four Seasons
98 San Jacinto Blvd.
(512) 685-8300

TRIO offers the finest USDA prime steaks, fresh seafood and an extensive wine list, along with a beautiful downtown setting overlooking Lady Bird Lake. Sunday brunch – widely referred to as Austin's best – features an expansive buffet, including eggs Benedict; carving, griddle and omelette stations; fresh seafood and salads; traditional breakfast selections; and a decadent dessert bar. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

400 Colorado Street
(512) 482-9000


Tasty stone crab from Florida tops the seafood offerings at this steak and seafood restaurant. Classy contemporary decor with lots of glass, upscale prices and separate bar make Truluck's a hit with many.


801 S Lamar Blvd.
(512) 916-4808

1610 S. Congress
(512) 441-6100

Chef-owner Alan Lazarus produces high quality food at this Italian trattoria, located one mile south of Town Lake. Although you will probably have to wait for a table, you'll likely enjoy the mussels, pasta dishes, salmon and festive desserts.

Vin Bistro
1601 W. 38th Street
(512) 377-5252

2015 Manor Road
(512) 482-0300

Wink Restaurant
1014 N Lamar Blvd # E
(512) 482-8868

509 Hearn Street
(512) 477-6535

One of the first local spots to offer a wide selection of good wines by the glass, Zoot is known for simple, yet sophisticated food, pleasant professional service and a fine wine list. The ambiance of the small, converted house is intimate and comfortable. Dinner only, seven nights a week.

Z' Tejas Grill
1110 West 6th Street
(512) 478-5355
9400 A Arboretum Blvd.
(512) 346-3506

"Dining South by Southwest" is the theme at these Austin favorites. Innovative menus include fish tacos, oyster shooters, plantain crusted salmon and pork roast Veracruz, to name only a few. Enjoy patio
dining on 6th Street.

Samantha Sayers lives and eats in Austin, Texas.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

Share this article with a friend:

Free eNewsletter SignUp

Sally's Place on Facebook    Sally Bernstein on Instagram    Sally Bernstein at Linked In

Global Resources

Handmade Chocolates, Lillie Belle Farms

Food411 Food Directory