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An editor's guide to eating around town

Austin

It was recently reported that Austinites spend nearly twice the national average on dining out. While that's largely a consequence of a mass-addiction to breakfast tacos, it's also a testament to a culture of culinary entrepreneurism, adventurous eating, and disdain for any chain not circling the hub of a bicycle. Luckily, Thrillist editor Dan Gentile hopped off his own bike to tell you exactly where to enjoy all of the best food.

Favorite Restaurant: This is a tough call, but I've gotta give it up to La Condesa. As much as I love trailer tacos, Condesa just elevates Mexican food to an entirely new level. You won't find a better deal than their atun tostadas during happy hour, and the tobacco-infused El Cubico margarita is one of the most creative drinks in town.

Best Late-Night Eats: Lucky J's wins my nod as best late-night jam for their Ms. M Taco. At 2a, nothing's better than a waffle wrapped around fried chicken, bacon, and Swiss.

Best Cheap Eats: Back in college I would down samosas from Ken's Doughnuts by the half dozen. Although the price has raised $.50 since then, I still stop by for some of the best sleeper Indian food in town and wash it down with an eclair.

Best Food Truck: There's still no topping East Side King -- Top Chef contestant Paul Qui's star has risen since the original Liberty trailer opened, but the beet fries and pork buns still stand as some of his most delicious creations, and the quail at the Grackle trailer is next-level.

Best Sandwich: Home Slice's Italian Sub is so good it convinced me to move into a house with the manager of the restaurant.

Best Dish: Franklin Barbecue's brisket. There's nothing else in town I'd wait 2+ hours for. You won't find moister, more flavorful meat anywhere in the world.

Best Italian: Enoteca makes for a perfect lunch, and in true Italian fashion, you'll want to take a nap afterwards.

Best Breakfast Taco: Mi Madre's wins for their chorizo, Tamale House is unbeatable in terms of price, and I have a soft spot for Taco-Mex as the little taco window that could. Still, there's nothing that hits the spot quite like the buttery housemade tortillas from the newcomers at the Taco Joint.

Best Burger: If you're looking for a new-school, grass-fed patty, wait in line at Hopdoddy. But for a grill that's built up a few more years of grease, pull up a seat at the bar of Hut's, a true Austin institution that's been around since 1939.

Best Chinese: There's an awesome, super-authentic spot up North called A+A Sichuan Garden. They came up with the name because they claim it's the best plus the best, and I can't disagree.

Most Romantic: Chez Nous is classic: great French food, totally unpretentious atmosphere, and the type of old Austin charm you just don't find in newer spots.

Best Fine Dining: You won't find a better dining experience than a night at Uchi or Uchiko. Your waiter feels like an old best friend by mid-meal.

Most Gut-busting Dish: Without a doubt, it's The James Brown burger from Your Mom's. The half-pound cheddar-stuffed patty alone would be enough to slay most appetites, but the pulled pork on top takes it to a new level of gluttony.

Best for Partying: You can't beat the ambiance at Justine's. It's got this otherworldly vintage vibe, like the type of swinging French restaurant Keith Richards would've stumbled into during the Exile on Main St sessions.

Weirdest Food: Lard Have Mercy's carnivalesque creations are the stuff of dreams. Ever wondered what deep-fried mac 'n cheese tastes like? Wonder no more.

Best for Work: Although bonding over greasy butcher paper is the TX way, most down-and-dirty 'Q spots close after lunch, so opt for a work dinner at upscale smokehouse Lamberts.

Most Local Food: Trace at the W has an on-staff forager. Although that doesn't really mean they're digging through the greenbelt for berries, they're still able to tell you more about the sources of their ingredients than that waiter on Portlandia.

Best Lunch: The tonkotsu ramen at Kome. Slurp the broth for dessert.

Best Brunch: Contigo's a no-brainer for brunch. The all-outdoor concept is perfect for a Sunday afternoon. If you're sharing plates (which you should), be sure to ask for two orders of the beef tongue hash.

Best Donuts: Either savory or sweet, Gourdough's is unparalleled. If you're feeling bold, try the guac-/bacon-topped Ron Burgundy donut burger. Stay classy Austin.

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1. La Condesa 400 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

La Condesa is the place to go if you're looking for modern Mexican flavor. Its award-winning cuisine and bountiful tequila selection makes it a South-of-the-border no-brainer in Austin.

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2. Lucky J's Chicken And Waffles 5035 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756

Lucky J's brings soul food to the table in big Texas style. Not only have they mastered the concept of chicken and waffles, but they've taken it a step farther to create the chicken and waffle taco, which is truly one of a kind.

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3. Ken's Doughnuts & Pastries 2820 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

In addition to sweet round rings of dough, Ken's also serves up delicious (and inexpensive) samosas.

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4. The Grackle 1700 East 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

With Regal Ravioli moving south and Monarch Food Mart seemingly content with its '22 territory, East Side King's making a play for total '02 sovereignty.

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5. Home Slice Pizza 1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

New York-style pizza by the pie or slice... in Austin. It's homemade and hand-tossed, so odds are, you're not gonna stop at one slice. Craving some Home Slice late on a Friday or Saturday? No worries -- More Home Slice is their to-go window at 1421 South Congress, and they're open until 3a on weekend nights.

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6. Franklin Barbecue 900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702

Texas is famous for doing barbecue right and Franklin is no exception. They've been serving some of the finest brisket, ribs and pulled pork to the people of Austin since 2009.

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7. Enoteca Vespaio 1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Enoteca Vespaio has been a quality spot for Sunday brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert since it opened in 2005. The folks there cultivate fine Italian cuisine in a pleasant setting and also have a terrific wine selection.

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8. Tamale House East 1707 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

A cheap and simple menu and a casual ambiance are the keystones of Tamale House East, and if you desire tacos for breakfast, it's a recommended option here.

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9. Taco-Mex 2944 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78702

Taco-Mex, a 12-seat restaurant serving authentic Mexican food, is small but mighty. Toting the biggest (in size and value) breakfast tacos around, and an American staple in burgers, it'll be harder to overlook this spot.

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10. Taco Joint 2807 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78705

Taco Joint, located near the University of Texas campus, is a Mexican restaurant with no shortage of traditional and breakfast burritos. One of its signature sandwiches is El 4/20, which will still be tantalizing on 4/21 and year round.

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11. Hopdoddy Burger Bar 1400 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

With so many delicious burgers and so many refreshing beers, a trip to Hopdoddy Burger Bar pretty much guarantees you'll never sit in the White Castle parking lot with a sixer of Bud heavy ever again.

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12. Hut's Hamburgers 807 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703

The fine people at Hut's Hamburgers try to keep a balance of old and new Austin in their style and menu, but their classic burgers are (and will always be) the main draw. With more than 30 burger/sandwich options, this old-school burger joint is always a good option.

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13. A + A Sichuan China 13376 N Highway 183, Ste 100, Austin, TX 78750

Contrary to popular belief, there's more to Chinese food than egg rolls, sweet and sour chicken, and lo mein. A + A does a terrific job proving that by offering more than 150 distinct southern Chinese options.

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14. Chez Nous 510 Neches St, Austin, TX 78701

Chez Nous, an authentic French bistro, has been delighting Austin's downtown community for well over 30yrs. Whether, brunch, lunch, or dinner, this restaurant, whose name means "our home" en français, serves up an atmosphere as rich in texture as its regional cuisine.

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15. Uchiko 4200 N Lamar, Austin, TX 78756

A contemporary Japanse restaurant in taste and decor, Uchiko is also stakes its reputation in using the freshest ingredients in its seafood and sushi dishes, including flying in fish from Tokyo, daily. With a massive drink menu, from sake to a selection of domestic and international beers, a return trip is imminent.

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16. Your Mom's 1701 E Cesar Chavez Blvd, Austin, TX 78702

The stalwart burger operation's set up in a baby-blue diner off Cesar Chavez, where they're peddling signature 1/2lb cheese-stuffed monsters.

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17. Justine's Brasserie 4710 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702

Situated in East Austin, Justine's Brasserie is a French restaurant whose ebullient atmosphere matches patrons' enthusiasm for its French-American cuisine. Inviting decor, red wine, and the company of friends may make it hard to leave this classy eatery.

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18. Lard Have Mercy 603 W Live Oak St, Austin, TX 78704

As the name might suggest, bacon's in nearly everything at Lard Have Mercy, from the cheese-stuffed Juicy Lucy burger (topped w/ hickory-smoked bacon, served alongside bac-flavored fries), to chicken strips wrapped in hog's gold before getting deep-fried and served as Foghorn Leghorns, to a strip-wrapped 1/4lb hot dog called the Pig Sty.

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19. Lambert's Downtown BBQ 401 West 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

Lambert's Downtown Barbecue, located in the Warehouse District, serves its version of finely crafted fancy barbecue, its brown sugar & coffee-rubbed angus steak as one example. Hosting nightly live music and serving over a dozen unique cocktails, a dinner can turn into a night at this bar-of-all-trades.

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20. Trace 200 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701

Trace, located in downtown Austin, is an American resto serving up farm-to-table fare. Get creative and try out some antelope loin or venison sausage.

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21. Kome 4917 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751

Designed by Japanese craftsmen, Kome has a modern atmosphere that compliments its homestyle Japanese comfort food. An extensive menu of Izakaya style meals and sushi rolls have influences from the owners' travels to other parts of Asia, with an added Austin flare.

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22. Contigo Austin 2027 Anchor Ln, Austin, TX 78723

Contigo Austin strives to bring the ranch to the people, and that it does. Patrons sit down at large wooden tables on an equally expansive patio, and chow down on flawless BBQ, other seasonally diverse menu items, and a long list of craft beer perfect on any Texan evening.

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23. Gourdough's Public House 2700 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

Gourdough's Public House, operating out of S Lamar Kerbey Lane in South Austin, has redefined the function of the donut, again. There is a "Donut Burgers" section in their menu, in real life. To bring you back down to earth, you can pair that with a specialty cocktail with bourbon-infused bacon, because that is also real.

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