It’s summer again, the heat is on, and the Austin restaurant scene is appropriately on fire (not literally, relax). From smothered tots to wild game and everything in between, here are Austin’s newest and best places to eat & drink.
This modest little trailer behind Hard Luck Lounge (formerly The Office) is making waves amongst lovers of comfort food. From the chef/owner of Baton Creole, the cuisine at Lady Luck is decidedly “European pub fare with a Southern twist” -- made with tons of love. We had the Stoner Delight, a pile of crisp tater tots topped with a creamy mustard and shallot sauce, white cheddar, smothered cabbage, pickled beets, and topped with house-brined corned beef, and it was exactly as delicious as it sounds.
VOX Table, from owner Vincent Manguino and Executive Chef Joe Anguiano (formerly of Eleven Plates & Wine), brings a Spanish and French approach to New American. The interior is sleek and modern with a lot of marble but the menu is pure fun. From the cheekily named cocktails (we love the Danny Trejo) to the Hamachi Pipettes (squeezable pipettes which infuse each bite!) we can’t get enough of what VOX Table is serving.
If you’re a fan of the El Chile and El Alma, you’ll love Alcomar. It’s a marriage of the two concepts featuring fresh, flavorful seafood and happy hour-worthy cocteles in a beachy and bright open space. Head over for happy hour every day from 3-6pm for deals on Gulf oysters and Rosita margaritas, among many other choices.
New Italian eatery, Juliet (formerly Romeo's), is not only sprinkled with elegant touches of ‘60s Italian modernism, but the food is fantastic as well. From hearty pizzas and pastas to delicate carpaccio, there is truly something for every taste. And you’re in luck if your taste includes a spot-on bar program with eight variations on the classic Negroni.
New to the West 6th 'hood, Houston-based Liberty Kitchen is serving American comfort food with an emphasis on coastal seafood. That translates to a menu chock-full of treats such as oysters (fresh roasted or fried), Shanghai fried lobster, as well as an extensive selection of burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and pasta.
Justin Elliott (former bar manager of Qui) has spearheaded the cocktail program at the dark and sexy Townsend. It’s popped up in an unlikely spot, but our first impression was terrific. Order the Carriage House (Ransom Old Tom gin, Tequila Ocho Reposado, Cynar, and Cocchi vermouth di torino).
Right on the cusp of Bull Blaster-fueled Sixth St and The Driskill is the brand-new Eureka!. It caters to the crowd that wants a decent meal either before OR AFTER a night out. The kitchen stays open until 1am, Thursday through Friday. We looove its boozy bourbon cocktails, the Eureka! Wings, and the Fresno Fig Burger.
As if you needed another reason to hit up the new South Lamar Union complex -- here comes the Shack. The juicy, flavorful burgers and crinkle-cut fries are perfectly sized to leave room for one of its famous shakes or custards. Here are our locally inspired top picks: Lockhart Link Burger (cheeseburger topped with griddled Kreuz Market jalapeño cheese sausage link, ShackSauce, and pickles) and the Uchi-koncrete (vanilla custard, Uchi & Uchiko miso hazelnut blondie, and huckleberry jam).
The new Italian cafe is perfect for a pre-movie bite and a cocktail. The modern, yet warm space in South Lamar Union offers an updated approach on classic Italian cuisine. Order a Negroni, a pizza bianca (mozzarella, provolone, fontina, fried sage, truffle oil, prosciutto) and a grilled Caesar salad.
Tim Love, the charismatic Fort Worth-based chef and co-founder of the Austin Food and Wine Festival has just opened the doors to Lonesome Dove. Its style rings true to its name and Texas roots. Think cowhide seating, taxidermied animals from his personal collection, and lots of wood and leather. What’s on the menu? Lots of meat -- from steak to wild game to a selection of over 3k bottles of wine.
The very new and enormous JW Marriott that occupies the corner of 2nd and Congress has a few surprises for us locals. First, Corner restaurant has a great patio perfect happy hour or an al fresco dinner. Street tacos, chips & queso poblano, and an ATX Paloma are great for a casual hang.
The wildly popular pizza trailer has gone brick-and-mortar, and now West Austin residents can enjoy the addictive deep dish 'za for themselves. They’ve added a thinner bar pizza, appetizers, and beer and wine.
The newest craft brewery in town has opened up shop on East Sixth across from The Grackle. Try the Session IPA -- a light, crisp, hop-forward ale ideal for these sweltering summer afternoons.
Co-owners (and fellow Geminis) Andrew Sabola and Meghan Erwin mastered the art of making gelato in Italy before setting their sights on opening Gelateria Gemelli. In addition to a very stylish, Insta-worthy interior, the gelato flavors are knock-your-socks-off good. Olive Oil, Earl Grey, Vietnamese Coffee, and Fernet Stracciatella are just a few of their standouts. Even better: they serve Negronis and have a nice selection of a la carte amaros.
Also a part of the new JW Marriot’s family, Burger Bar is a walk-up counter with fast service, patio seating, and a killer menu. The Big Mouth Burger with blistered pepper, jalapeño jam, bacon, and cheddar, paired with cheese fries and a hand-spun shake are our personal recs.
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1. Lady Luck3526 E 7th St, Austin
2. VOX Table1100 South Lamar Blvd, 2140, Austin
3. Alcomar1816 S 1st St, Austin
4. Juliet Ristorante1500 Barton Springs Rd, Austin
5. Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar507 Pressler St, Austin
6. The Townsend718 Congress Ave Ste 100, Austin
7. Eureka Austin200 E Sixth St, Austin
8. Shake Shack1100 S Lamar Blvd, Suite 2100, Austin
9. Cantine1100 S Lamar Blvd #2115, Austin
10. Lonesome Dove Western Bistro419 Colorado St, Austin
11. Corner110 E Second St, Austin
12. Via 313 Pizzeria6705 Highway 290 #503, Austin
13. Zilker Brewing Co.1701 E 6th St, Austin
14. Gelateria Gemelli1009 W 6th St, Austin
15. Burger Bar110 E 2nd St, Austin
This food trailer is located at the Hard Luck lounge and serves international food that they prepare with special attention to their Southern perspective. Customer favorites include the Sietan Wings, the brisket sandwich, and the tater tots.
Vox Table is known around Austin for their killer New-American style small plates and lively craft cocktail bar, but this South Lamar restaurant serves up a serious brunch on the weekends. The must try of the menu is Olive Oil Pancakes with fig/walnut butter and maple syrup. If brunch isn't your thing, stop by and try dinner menu, featuring a wide variety of meat and fish entrees, or happy hour specials.
From the same restaurant group as El Chile and El Alma, Alcomar specializes in what's been dubbed a "Latin-inspired seafood concept." Set in a beachy and bright open space, it serves up ceviche, Gulf oysters, and fusion concepts like lobster enchiladas and octopus tostadas. Expect a variety of margaritas, served by the glass or pitcher, and a notable Bloody Mary served a single oyster.
Juliet combines modern and classic Italian influence to deliver unique, rustic dishes with seasonal ingredients. Boasting an expansive outdoor dining area and an airy interior with a marble bar, this place has an elegant, joyful and comfortable vibe.
Houston-based Liberty Kitchen has a comfort-food-meets-seafood brunch menu, with a Bloody Mary that belongs with Austin’s best. The 20oz drink features house-made Bloody Mary mix, Dripping Springs vodka, a fried oyster, fried okra, and pickled veggies. Food offerings include a menu chock-full of treats such as oysters (fresh roasted or fried), Shanghai fried lobster, as well as an extensive selection of burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and pasta. Be sure to try the Thrashed at Maverick's burger, mad with mustard-sizzled onion-jalapeño-pickle, bacon jam, Stubb’s-RO hickory sauce, and pimento cheese.
Located in the middle of Congress Ave, The Townsend serves as a natural go-to happy hour spot for Downtown nine-to-fivers. There's a bustling, upscale vibe to the place, and occasional live music nights really bring in crowds. Open from 4pm - 2am every day, The Townsend is a great place to order a small plate and a signature cocktail after a long day at work.
This is a great spot for a meal at almost any time -- they keep their kitchen open until 1 am. Definitely give one of the burgers a try (we like the Fresno Fig) and also check out their cocktails, like a frothy whiskey sour.
From humble beginnings as a hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park in 2001 to more than 60 locations in the US and abroad, Shake Shack has become a cult favorite. This South Lamar location (Austin's first) even has Austin-inspired menu items, like the Lockhart Link Burger with topped with a Kreuz jalapeno cheese sausage link.
Cantine Italian Café & Bar in South Lamar keeps it all in the Mediterranean family by incorporating Greek tastes like Muhammara housemade pita and whipped feta into a heavily Italian menu of starters, salads, meats, house-made pastas, and pizzas. Opt for the crunchy, warm fried goat cheese with honey or the spaghetti Neopolitano while you’re dining al fresco, or choose a table inside. The dining room and kitchen are decidedly industrial, with clean, geometric lines that will remind you to maintain your decorum as you breathlessly slurp your spaghetti.
As if ordering a huge bloody steak wasn’t enough of a carnivorous venture, celeb chef Tim Love took it several steps further with wild game options at Lonesome Dove Western Bistro. At Lonesome Dove, you can have your steak, boar, elk, and buffalo with a tasty side of rabbit-rattlesnake sausage. And, if you’re up for the challenge, check out the hand-cut wagyu tomahawk steak served with serrano lime butter. The gamey menu and woodsy decor give the place a definite destinct atmosphere, and make it a place to go for a very different meal than you would get anywhere else.
Located in Downtown Austin, this bar & restaurant serves dishes that carry classic Texas flavors. The Taco Bar at Corner serves street tacos in servings of three for only $6 or $8, depending on your topping. The full restaurant menu has some tacos, salads, sandwiches, and larger entrees. Definitely visit the outdoor bar at the patio for a great date spot or just a fun after-work spot.
Oak Hill is the proud home of a brick & mortar version of the insanely popular pizza truck. Their Detroit style pizza has a cheesey crust and crushed tomato sauce, and probably will also have your heart once you try it.
Zilker Brewing Company, just a few blocks from Austin's 6th Street district, is a refreshingly laid-back alternative to the usual nightlife bar scene. The craft brewery focuses on American Belgo style brewing that's light, malty, and fruity. Zilker's selection includes a golden-hued pale ale, a crisp and light honey blonde ale, and seasonal brews. It doesn't have a kitchen but a varying roster of food trailers will take your order from the taproom, and you can bring your own food, too.
The flavors at the gelateria include Olive Oil, Valrhona Chocolate, Pistachio, Salted Caramel, Basil & Pine Nut, and Toasted Hazelnut -- among others. The organic small-batch flavors are all made on location. They also serve coffee, sweet pops, and even some cocktails.