Where should I go eat in Austin? You probably hear this question 1000 times,
and if you’re like me, it isn’t an easy answer. It usually follows with a list
of questions like “What kind of food? Which part of town? How much have you
budgeted? Do you have any specific dislikes?” *Most photos by
John M. P. Knox
These questions can make navigating Austin’s food scene more complex than making
chocolate caramel sea salt lavender macarons. Here’s my 2014 handy dandy guide
for where you should go eat broken down by category. Some of these fit into many
categories - like date. Just about any of these fine establishments could be a
great date night - depending on the stage of the dating process. I’ll make note
of multi-category fittings as we move along.
*Note: I didn't cover BBQ because FedManWalking already covers it in great detail.
Ramen Tatsu-ya number 2.
Italian - There is good Italian in Austin, peeps. You just need to find it.
- This is a cozy place on the north side of Austin. Sweet, quiet, and a
pleasant experience for all.
- I haven’t been here yet. But the chatter about it is so great that I just had
to add it.*Update: I tried it last weekend. The pizzas were fantastic. There will be a wait, but you can pass the time with their beer and wine menu.
- Like Andiamo, it has a sweet quiet feel located on SoCo. No hype. Just
butter and cream in the sauces.
- I love this place because the owners are so darn cute and friendly. Also, the
dishes are very tasty, and their story about moving from Beaumont beyond
Josh Loving behind the bar at Fino
circa Jan. 2011.
Cocktails - Everyone needs a good cocktail once in a while.
- You go here for the drinks. But what you get is a hug from Pam.
- Michael, the owner, says that if you don’t get the burger, I’m gonna give you
a spanking. I mean I will give the spankings, but him.
- I haven’t been here yet, but this is the unofficial post whatever you were
doing earlier meet up for many of the industry peeps. I guess it’ll do.
- There’s this really cute bartender there, Rob. This man made a banana creme
something, and I cried tears of joy.
Beer - Because this is nectar of the Gods. All of them.
- They have a lovely beer and bread selection.
- Dog friendly, and it is pretty much the beer connoisseurs hang out.
- I used to come here often, but parking downtown is a pain in my big toe.
Uchiko. Isn't it beautiful?
Indian - I bleed curry. Just FYI. Indian cuisine has a sweet place in my heart.
- This is also great for beer, and dog friendly too.
Bombay Grill Austin-
This unassuming eatery in Bee Caves is actually quite delightful. I like to get
their butter chicken and naan.
Dogs - Sometimes you happen to have the pooches with you. They gotta eat too.
- Just don’t let the dogs drink too much beer.
Midway Trailer Park
- I like that this is fenced (not that it is dog proof fencing), but at least
you can keep your little ones corralled.
Pretty much anywhere on South Congress with a patio - For reals, but please keep
your dog on a leash. Cars there be driving crazy.
Odd Duck Pretzels.
Young Gourmands in Training (You’re teaching your kids to have a sophisticated
palate and table manners)
Roll on Sushi
- This is a great experience for kids as they have menu items more approachable
Whole Foods - This is a great
place to the little ones to try new foods in a fun environment. Let’s just make
sure they keep their hands out of the food bars and samples.
First Dates - If you want date numero dos, ditch Trudy’s and the Olive Garden.
- This place will show him or her that you are classy, thoughtful, and have
- Peacocks. Whatever Chef makes with that brioche. Your hearts will swell with
love and lust.
- If one of ya eats garlic, the other needs to as well.
- The feel here should set the mood - modern French with an Austin flair. Get
the lobster bisque and move onto the date two.
Happy Hour - Getting your nibbles and sips on.
- This is also known as Pork Chop Sundays
- More cocktails and small bites.
- I brought my sister here for happy hour on her birthday, and we got one of
everything on the menu. I am not opposed to doing that again.
Sushi Date - It is becoming an institution now.
- No words necessarily.
- This is a hidden gem in Cedar Park. Get the flaming salmon.
- This is where Tyson Cole started. In 50 years, this might be a food museum of
where Japanese food in Austin gained traction.
Celebratory Dates - Did you just graduate? Let’s go celebrate!
- Hola, delicious pretzel sticks of yumminess. Also, cocktails.
- Cocktails, and some of the best deep fried olives you can imagine.
- If there’s some with meat here, you should get it. I’m just saying.
- The cocktail program here is amazing. It is as inventive as the food. Also,
try the ice cream sandwich.
Crowd Pleasers - These restaurants can please an array of palates and without
sacrificing the integrity of a beautifully executed dish.
- Almost everything on this menu is approachable from all angles, and they
donate a proceed of queso sales to the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation.
- I really like Sway for being interesting and inventive while being familiar
enough for everyone. It is also fancy enough to take business clients.
- Tell Chef Lawrence I sent you and ask for foie gras pancakes.
Here's one of everything on the menu of Kin and Comfort.
New to Asian Food - While the Asian food scene in Austin grows, here’s some
places to take the not yet indoctrinated.
- If I have to explain to you that this to you, you need to get on the Internet
and watch them on tv. I won’t even waste my time trying to explain to you why
this is one of the catalyst for Asian food in Austin.
Kin and Comfort
- Located in Hana World Market on Parmer, who would have thought they could be
churning out food that made even my traditional mother nod her head in approval?
- This is a fun shaved ice join that reminds me of my childhood. Taro rules.
- This is a great Vietnamese restaurant that is very approachable, but it still
maintains integrity of the traditional dishes.
Now that you know where the go for that occasion or cuisine, cheers!