Cute Places To Eat In Austin – The best restaurants in Austin have garnered national attention, with everything from tacos and ribs to southern fare and sushi.
Since moving to Austin, Texas, I’ve spent a lot of time dining alone, with friends, and on dates.
Cute Places To Eat In Austin
My list of Austin’s best restaurants is based on personal experience and is subject to change as I haven’t been everywhere (yet).
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And as anyone who follows me on Instagram knows, I have a sweet tooth. That’s why I give special importance to dessert menus.
Given that these are some of the best restaurants in Austin, I would recommend making reservations for any place that takes them. Otherwise, come early.
Hestia opened in downtown Austin in December 2019 and thankfully I was able to attend a wonderful dinner by March of the following year.
This is the fifth restaurant by executive chef Kevin Fink (2020 James Beard Foundation Award finalist) and his business partner, pastry chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph (one of Food & Wine Magazine’s best new chefs of 2020).
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It was a delightful concept that gave us opportunities to interact with those in the kitchen, where a custom-built 20-foot stove was used for cooking.
Try going with at least one person to take full advantage of Hestia’s small-plate treats.
Hestia’s was my top restaurant pick in Austin for 2019-2020 and I’m happy to see it’s still going strong.
Nominated as the Best Chef of the Southwest (2018) by the James Beard Foundation, Chef Michael Fojtasek offers a showdown on modern southern cuisine at Olamaie.
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The restaurant is located in a charming white bungalow. The interior is intimate without being too dark – very important given how beautifully the food is presented.
Olamaie recently put a 20% “Employee Health Fee” on client bills to ensure fair wages, health benefits and paid leave for their staff. Additional tip is optional.
Sumptuous breast tacos with black magic oil and avocado salsa cruda create the situation. These are the best tacos in Austin.
Texas peach tres leches dessert, masa streusel and burnt vanilla mousse finished off my wonderful first meal here.
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Led by chef/co-owner Philip Speer, Comedor instantly made a splash on the Austin dining scene when it opened to rave reviews in 2019.
Located in the heart of the Texas capital, this modern Mexican restaurant features an all-black brick, glass and steel exterior as if designed to avoid detection.
An inner courtyard offers a break from business life on the city streets. Bring your friends so you can taste as many plates as your wallet will allow.
We also tried the pork head quesadilla, tuna, octopus and shrimp tostada, and the surprisingly excellent chicken liver mousse with a churro, beetroot and peach.
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Given the four James Beard Foundation Award nominations for Best Pastry Chef during Speer’s tenure at Uchi, it’s no surprise that the dessert game here is strong.
I enjoyed eating tres leches with tejate ice cream, burnt meringue and corn milk (pictured above). Plus, guava sorbet, mezcal, and chamomile foam with ants.
One of the best restaurants in Austin and the undisputed king of barbecue in Central Texas is Franklin Barbecue.
What started as a backyard barbecue hobby led Aaron Franklin to open a small barbecue trailer just off Interstate 95 in East Austin in 2009.
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His brisket sold out every day, and in 2011 he moved his operations to a restaurant to meet the demand for their smoked meats.
Anthony Bourdain featured Franklin’s barbecue in the 2012 Austin No Reservation episode, and two years later, in 2014, President Obama dined there.
Franklin’s is notorious for its long queues, with hungry customers often queuing at 4am for a restaurant that doesn’t open until 11am.
Bring a folding chair and something to entertain you as there can be a long wait for the best barbecue in town.
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Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch, until they sell out at 11:00 (usually 14:00 – 15:00, but brisket may be sold before other items).
That same year, they were nominated for Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation and recognized by Food and Wine as one of the best new restaurants in the United States.
The accolades continued, and Laura Sawicki was a 2018 James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalist for Best Pastry Chef.
Named after the laundromat that once occupied the space, the restaurant has a bright and airy interior. attractive; however, I usually prefer to sit outside.
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The food is consistently impressive and the desserts will light your eyes. Laundry offers one of the best brunches in Austin.
Dinner every night, seven days a week. Lunch on Friday, brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Also, happy hour specials are available Monday through Friday.
What started as a temporary pop-up behind Bento Picnic in 2021 has grown into one of Austin’s hottest dining experiences by the end of the year.
Led by charismatic chef Ambrely Ouimette, Sushi Bar ATX offers diners a 17-course omakase dinner in an intimate yet communal space.
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There are only ten diners per seat, which ensures everyone is close to the action. Chef Ambrely works with two sushi chefs, one on each side.
I was mesmerized by the precision with which each bite of nigiri was prepared. Highlights include bluefin tuna, melted marrow over freshwater eel, and caviar with fresh wasabi.
Reservations for Sushi Bar ATX are available at Tock at noon on the first day of each month. The food-only option is $145 and requires a $25 deposit.
In April 2021, Lutie’s opened to the public on the historic Commodore Perry Estate, a new luxury hotel in the Hancock neighborhood of Central Austin.
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Chefs Bradley Nicholson and Susana Querejazu, who worked together at Barley Swine and Odd Duck, accepted the invitation to run the restaurant.
If there was one restaurant opening that caught my eye that year, it was Lutie’s. My spring lunch did not disappoint.
The interior of the dining room evokes the atmosphere of a garden with hanging plants on the ceiling. And the European vibe extends to the patio overlooking a real garden.
I started with a refreshing Botanist gin cocktail and veggie spring rolls with cucumber dressing before moving on to Texas beef with bone marrow and a side of sweet potato.
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I couldn’t decide on dessert, so I ordered Kouign Amann ice cream with caramel and wax creme caramel with burnt honey. The latter was my favorite of the two.
Otoko is a private 12-seat Japanese restaurant tucked away secluded above the courtyard of The South Congress Hotel.
Led by Chef Yoshi Okai from Kyoto, the restaurant specializes in a multi-course Kyoto-style kaiseki omakase dinner menu Thursday through Saturday.
The price of this culinary journey is between $195-225, not including drinks, taxes and gratuities, which is as expensive as food in Austin gets.
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For those willing to spend the money, you will experience one of the most intimate and sophisticated dining experiences the city has to offer.
Otoko tickets are released on the first day of each month in quarterly terms and include a 30-minute reservation before dinner at the adjacent boutique cocktail bar, Watertrade.
Uchi is considered one of the best restaurants in Austin, and its name is synonymous with premium sushi.
Chef Tyson Cole opened his flagship restaurant in 2003 and soon captured national attention for his creative dishes.
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He was awarded the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2011 and was a semi-finalist for Best Chef in 2016.
I have dined at Uchi three times, the first was happy hour with friends and the second time I went back and sampled a more substantial part of the menu.
I have enjoyed the food every time. However, the lighting can be dark in places, so it can be difficult to fully evaluate the dishes. In my experience, Uchi is always crowded and therefore noisy.
Both restaurants offer a happy hour from 16:00. It’s until 6:30 pm and is a popular way for diners to enjoy a meal on a budget.
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In December 2009, Bryce Gilmore and her brother opened Odd Duck, a food truck focused on locally sourced ingredients.
The truck was a success, so they opened a real-time operating location a few blocks from Uchi in South Austin.
Gilmore’s second act was Barley Swine, which “contains a seasonal menu that always changes according to the availability of ingredients and the wishes of the cuisine.”
You can try the 11-course Chef’s Tasting menu for 105$. Drink pairing is available for an additional $55.
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Named one of America’s best new restaurants in 2016 by Bon Appetit, Emmer & Rye is a farm-to-table restaurant that changes its menu daily.
Diners can order à la carte from the menu or choose from a dim sum cart that makes rounds during service. Attention to detail sets Chef Kevin Fink’s restaurant apart from the rest.
Fat melt-in-your-mouth brisket will make you believe in Texas BBQ. I can’t resist the pork ribs and the beef ribs are huge.
The restaurant is set up in a cafeteria style. You pay by the pound for meat, so load up on a little bit of everything; You will not regret it
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Directed by Todd Duplechan, Executive Chef/Partner of the Lenoir restaurant, Vixen’s Wedding offers Goa, Indian and Portuguese flavors to Austin diners.
I had a wonderful dinner with
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