Austin Food Round-Up, 2nd Edition

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Austin is consistently ranked one of the best food cities in the country.  Full of unique concepts, fresh ingredients, quirky atmospheres, and funky owners, the local focus is what makes eating in Austin so special.

I previously wrote a brief highlight of a few laid-back dining options we had enjoyed here in Austin. While in no way indicative of the more noteworthy or cutting-edge Austin dining places, it somehow quickly turned into my most popular post. I've been keeping a sticky note with the names of restaurants as we check them off with the intention of sharing another update on what we enjoyed, but I am just now getting around to sharing it with you here. So, without further ado, here is our list of current recommendations. I've broken it down into easy to choose categories, with options for about every type of craving and budget point, and with notes on great spots for entertaining out-of-town visitors:
1. 24 Diner 2. Biscuits & Groovy 3. Bribery 4. Kerbey Lane 5. Counter Cafe 6. Cenote
Brunch:
Biscuits & Groovy- Biscuit heaven in food truck form
Counter Cafe - Amazing biscuits, attentive owner, and the east location is a short walk from the office. 
Magnolia Cafe- Long-time Austin establishment. Go for brunch and if you want to live a little, get some queso on your breakfast items. 
Kerbey Lane- Queso and breakfast food, open 24 hrs- always a win. We've tried all the locations and like the Kerbey Lane location best. 
Bribery- The bakery featuring goods from famous pastry chef, Jodi Elliot. Cute, colorful, delicious. 
Cenote- Colorful Eastside coffee shop with nice breakfast & lunch options. 
24 Diner- Try the breakfast hash and keep your eyes peeled for famous folk
Mulberry- Cozy (read tiny) spot with delicious brunch
Texas French Bread- Lovely bakery in Central Austin 
Goodall's Kitchen at Hotel Ella- located in the stately Hotel Ella, this is a great place for a special brunch and it's easy to make reservations to dine among the beautiful boutique hotel guests 


1. Jo's 2 & 3. Hillside Farmacy 4. Blue Dahlia
Lunch:
Blue Dahlia Bistro- THE place in East Austin to lunch. Try the tartines! 
Austin Daily Press- Low-key sandwich shop with a really tasty muffaletta 
Jo's Coffee- I prefer the downtown location. An easy spot to grab a bite before an ACL Live taping. 
Hillside Farmacy- A very instagram-worthy cafe
1. & 2. Easy Tiger 4. &5. Bangers 6. La Condesa 7. Backspace

Happy Hour/Dinner:
Bangers- Open air seating with live music- we insist that you get the fried pickles and Snickers jar! 
Benji's Cantina- family style fajita dinner on an open air rooftop is where it is at. 
Salty Sow- a fun place on Manor to dine with friends on the weekend
Fonda San Miguel- exotic interior Mexican cuisine in Central Austin (they have parrots and hh is a great time to go) 
Odd Duck- South Lamar, small plates 
Lucy's Fried Chicken- family style finger lickin' chicken and sides- and of course the sweet tea pie 
Pint House Pizza- Communal seating and a fun place to meet old and new friends
La Condesa- Downtown hot spot with a fabulous interior- always on all of "the lists" 
Haymaker- East side comfort food (gruyere sauce on everything) and a good place to watch a game
Jack Allen's Kitchen- Farm to table meets family friendly- also has my favorite salad in town 
Backspace- cozy wood-fired pizza shop in Downtown Austin 
St. Philip Pizza Parlor & Bakeshop- buzzy South Austin eatery with a famous chef and uchi family ties
Lambert's- Fancy BBQ in Downtown, go during HH and get an amazing dinner for a steal 
Easy Tiger- German style bakeshop and beer-garden. Order a pretzel the size of your head while you sit by the pretty ivy wall along Waller Creek. 
Hightower- Tasty East Austin dining  
Hut's Hamburgers- Long-time popular burger joint. The first late-night meal Matt and I shared in Austin 4 years ago. 
EastSide Pies- My favorite pizza- I love the house-made Italian sausage with extra fennel

Veracruz All Natural 
Tex-Mex & Tacos & Queso:
Veracruz All Natural- The best taco in town, and cheap too. 
Juan in a Million- Go East for mounds of breakfast hash & hearty handshakes from Juan
El Mercado- Our favorite Tex-Mex in all of Texas. The North location is our go-to. 
Matt's El Rancho- Home of the famous Bob Armstrong Dip
TNT- Queso and street tacos close to downtown. Mmmm. 
Tacodeli- Our favorite breakfast tacos (the salads are awesome too) 


Styles Switch

BBQ:
Franklin BBQ- The one, the only- the most famous BBQ joint in America. Prepare to wait hours or pre-order a month in advance. 
Stiles Switch BBQ- No wait, open seating, and some really amazing turkey. 
John Mueller Meat Co.- East side trailer ran by a notoriously grumpy guy who makes some of the best BBQ in town
La BBQ-The beef ribs made us fall in love with Austin BBQ all over again. 
The County Line (On the Lake)- Long-time Austin establishment with a picturesque location on the lake. We recommend this over Salt Lick. 
1.,2. Arro 3.,4. Jacoby's 5.,6.Uchi 7. Jacoby's 8.,9. Justine's

Special Night Out:
Justine's Brasserie- Definitely the most romantic spot in East Austin, if not all of Austin- where to go for late night romantic dinners.
Olive and June- Memorable Italian food from a hip, Central Austin spot.
Arro- West 6th, French, modern decor.
Vespaio- Our favorite dinner in Austin, and maybe ever, was enjoyed on our anniversary dinner here. Try the veal piccata with roasted Meyer lemon, oven-baked lasagna, and cherries and creme shortbread dessert. 
Jacoby's- Situated on the river bank, go early and enjoy the backyard view while you wait for a tasty, southern style meal with quality beef straight from the family farm. 
Asti- Central Austin modern Italian date night. 
Uchi- Perhaps the most famous restaurant in Austin, the key to sampling the amazing sushi dishes is going at HH.
La V- The most beautiful restaurant in town (and the most snooty on the East Side :) 
1. Caffe Medici 2. Sa-ten 3. Dolce Vita 4. Chocolaterie Tessa 4.,5. Houndstooth 
Coffee & Dessert:
Dolce Vita- Our favorite date nights happen here with great gelato, espresso, and often the two blended together in an uber indulgent frappe. Add in short lines and great Hyde Park people watching and it's a winner. 
Cuvee Coffee Bar- East side coffee roaster that supplies several shops around town. The black and blue will keep you jittery all day- beware. 
Sa-ten- East Austin with an Asian concept- grab a green tea lemonade on your way to Tillery Garden Center.
Houndstooth Coffee- Where you find the real coffee people (and lots and lots of hipsters).
Cafe Medici- Every time we've been there are lovely string quarterts and great lattes to enjoy.
Chocolateria Tessa- Beautiful central Austin chocolate shop. A neat place to chat with the owner and pick up a treat for someone special.
Bribery- See above, but anything from here is drool-worthy.
Quack's 43rd St. Bakery- Popular with UT students, we love picking up a breakfast pastry here after our dates at Dolce Vita.
Nutella milkshake at Hopdoddy
Where to take visitors or groups:
Shady Grove- Easy parking, great variety, pretty open-air patio under old oak trees- stop here after touring Zilker Park. 
Bangers- It already made the list, but the music, communal picnic table seating, and interesting menu make this a very Austiny-feeling establishment.
Benji's Cantina- On West 6th, you can be a part of it all, have a classy night out, make reservations (which can be hard to do in Austin) and ordering is easy with the big fajita meal.
Mozart's on the Lake- Where we take all of our guests for coffee, dessert, or cheesy and fun Christmas entertainment .
The County Line (On the Lake)- Pretty lake-side location, kids can feed ducks and turtles, and again, reservations.
Jacoby's- Super Austin vibes, east-side location, Southern comfort food. 
Alamo Drafthouse (Slaughter, Lamar,Village)- The food is great, the previews even better. A special movie-going experience. 
HopDoddy- The best burgers in town, always a line, always worth it.


Elizabeth St. Cafe
Libby Loves:
Elizabeth St. Cafe- My all-time favorite place in Austin and it isn't just the name. 
Vespaio- Again, best meal in town in my opinion. That caught me off-guard because of the touristy location.  
Bess Bistro- Owned by none other than Sandra Bullock, the cozy, candlelit basement restaurant is romantic, serves tasty beignets, and quickly sells out of the crazy good meatloaf. 
JuiceLand- Where I run to treat myself to a tasty smoothy or juice. The Originator is my favorite. 
Matt celebrating his birthday at Moonshine
Matt's Picks: 
Pluckers- Where I would check first if Matt was to ever go missing, you will find him here with the guys for any major (or minor) sporting event. The chicken strips and wings really are the best and they serve waffle fries with queso on top as well as the sweetest tea this side of Mississippi. 
Noble Pig- A very beefy butcher/sandwich shop. 
Matt's El Rancho- Bob Armstrong dip, need we say more? Matt loves his dips. 
Juan in a Million- Juan happily greets you with a hand-slap and hug. Mounds of breakfast hash and fresh tacos for a great price. 
Hyde Park Bar & Grill- Comfort food in Central Austin. 
Moonshine Grill- Touristy location near the convention center, but Matt agrees with the reviews the chicken fried steak. 
Threadgill's (North location)-Southern comfort food. Go on a Friday for the King Ranch special or Sunday for a Gospel Brunch.  

So there you have it, the updated list! Hungry yet?! It can take some time to sort through blogs, reviews, and tips from coworkers, but we have slowly worked our way around town. Stay tuned for updates as we add new places, because of course, there are always new places to try in Austin!


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