Food & Drink

The Best Austin Restaurant for Every Cuisine

Published On 08/13/2015 Published On 08/13/2015

Sure, Austin has no shortage of spectacular BBQ spots, but despite what your stomach may tell you, there's more to life -- and Austin -- than just BBQ. So with that in mind, we put together a rundown showcasing the best spots for nearly every type of cuisine that this city offers... (including BBQ).

la V

Best French

laV

Address and Info

East Seventh

Yes, we know Provencal-inspired French restaurant laV has just been open a year and a half, but it's made quite an impression in that time. The talent of the culinary team is off the charts. The wine selection is second to none, the atmosphere is elegant and modern, there’s free valet... it’s perfection.

Courtesy of Susan Atkinson

Best Greek

Santorini Cafe

Address and Info

North Lamar

This cozy white cottage with blue trim is home to the best Greek food in Austin. The owners are friendly, and the food is fresh, authentic, and just the right price.

Fonda San Miguel

Best Mexican

Fonda San Miguel

Address and Info

West North Loop

An Austin institution since 1975, Fonda San Miguel combines authentic Mexican cuisine with attentive service and an atmosphere that will make you feel as if you’ve traveled to a Mexican hacienda. It's known for its epic brunch spread, regional flavors, and strong margaritas.

Courtesy of Barley Swine

New American

Barley Swine

Address and Info

South Lamar

Dining at Barley Swine is an experience that exhilarates guests. Course after course, each sip and bite are pieces of a masterfully orchestrated whole. The menu will change with season and availability, and each plate is a work of art.
 

Habanero Mexican Cafe

Best Tex-Mex

Habanero Mexican Cafe

Address and Info

West Oltorf

Ask a South Austin resident, and they’ll agree that Habanero is their go-to for solid Tex-Mex. It’s cheap, authentic (as authentic as Tex-Mex can get), and a little divey. Pro tip: bring cash.

Asiana Indian Cuisine

Best Indian

Asiana

Address and Info

South Austin

This South Austin gem serves a mix of North and South Indian cuisine and earns stunning reviews. It stands out for good service and a lunch buffet that is constantly refreshed.

313 Pizza

Best pizza

Via 313

Address and Info

Central East (& other locations)

Via 313 is not your run-of-the-mill pizza, it’s thick as a brick, it’s got crispy burnt cheese edges, and the sauce has a bit of sweetness. That being said, it’s quickly become a local favorite even among the throngs of authentic Neapolitan pies being made by other joints.

Courtesy of Krittika J.

Best Chinese

Asia Cafe

Address and Info

Spicewood

Asia Cafe is tucked away in a North Side shopping center that has accumulated a lot of “character” over the years. Walk inside, order at the counter, and prepare to be impressed with the authentic Sichuan fare. Also fun: when your order is ready, a man will yell your number REALLY LOUDLY.

Vespalo

Best Italian

Enoteca/Vespaio

Address and Info

South Congress

Italian eatery Vespaio Ristorante has been satisfying discerning palates since ‘98 with its authentic offerings. All stocks, pasta, charcuterie, and pastries are made in-house and it offers a wine selection to complement any dish.

Casey Dunn/Courtesy of Clark's

Best seafood

Clark’s Oyster Bar

Address and Info

West Sixth

A beachy and stylish interior, immaculate service, and a perfect selection of fresh seafood make Clark’s a no-brainer for this category. You’ll definitely impress your date (or your parents) with this dining choice.

Erika Williams/Courtesy of Uchi

Best Japanese

Uchi

Address and Info

South Lamar

Uchi is one of the restaurants that catapulted Austin into the foodie spotlight. James Beard Award winner Tyson Cole is the executive chef/owner responsible for Uchi + Uchiko’s astronomical success. They’ve combined traditional Japanese cuisine and ridiculously high-quality fish with modern flavors and innovative techniques.

Olamie

Best Southern

Olamaie

Address and Info

South Campus

Olamaie has been making waves on the national food front, earning praise for its inventive twist on classic Southern cuisine. A visit to Olamaie promises exciting, complex flavors and great service.

Sway

Best Thai

Sway

Address and Info

South First

If you like your food bursting with flavor, Sway’s take on modern Thai is a solid bet. The date-worthy ambiance, great service, and menu will have you planning your next visit -- as you eat.

Savina Mosqueda/Korea House

Best Korean

Korea House Restaurant & Sushi Bar

Address and Info

Anderson Lane

Korea House is fast, authentic, reasonably priced, and oh so satisfying. If you bring a group, you can be seated at a table with a grill in the middle for cooking your own meat -- or you can opt for sushi, stews, bowls, and many other mouth-watering choices.

Nicolai McCrary/East Side King

Best food truck

Thai-Kun

Address and Info

East Sixth

Oh Thai-Kun, you hurt so good! From the East Side King empire, Thai-Kun brings its own special brand of burn-your-face-off delicious, spicy Thai cuisine. It's received national attention, and for good reason.

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Best BBQ

La Barbecue

Address and Info

East Cesar Chavez

Franklin is fantastic but unless you take the day off from work, or wake up early enough to beat the crowd -- it’s not happening. Luckily, La Barbecue serves some of the juiciest brisket, ribs, and sausage in town.

Jody Horton/Courtesy of Lenoir

Best locally sourced

Lenoir

Address and Info

South First

Lenoir creates what it refers to as “hot weather food” -- taking inspiration from Indian, North African, and Mediterranean cuisine and using locally sourced ingredients. “Brothy, citrusy, spicy, and full of global inspiration,” is how we would describe Lenoir’s offerings via its ever-changing prix-fixe menu.

Natalie Paramore/Courtesy of Swift's

Best burgers

Swift’s Attic

Address and Info

Downtown

Swift’s may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of burgers, due to the influx of slick chains and beefy standbys, however during lunch & brunch you can get your hands on one of the country’s best burgers. No joke. Also, Monday nights are Big Ass Burger Night, in which the crew at Swift’s puts together a limited number of huge 1/2lb burgers and $3 pints are on offer.

Courtesy of Vince Young Steakhouse

Best steakhouse

Vince Young Steakhouse

Address and Info

Downtown

Vince Young Steakhouse is the only locally owned and operated prime steakhouse in Austin -- “prime” meaning it serves USDA Prime top cuts including Japanese A5 Wagyu. This spot embodies Rat Pack cool with an elegant interior, perfect classic cocktails, and even a cigar patio. Try the weekday happy hour from 5-7pm, and everything on the entire bar/lounge menu is $10. Highlights include lobster rolls, a Wagyu brisket burger, and steak frites.

Anastacia Uriegas/Thrillist

Best tacos

Veracruz All Natural

Address and Info

East Cesar Chavez (& other locations)

Three words: “migas,” “fish,” and “tacos.” That’s all you need to know.
 

Salt & Time

Best sandwiches

Salt & Time

Address and Info

East Seventh

The East Side butcher shop-cum-restaurant is a solid choice for sandwich cravings. The meat is expertly cured and cut, and the portions are beyond generous.

Bouldin Creek Cafe

Best vegetarian

Bouldin Creek Cafe

Address and Info

South First

Breakfast junkies have been flocking to vegetarian/vegan Bouldin Creek Cafe since Austin was still a sleepy college town. Luckily, the flavorful menu appeals to meat eaters and veggie folks alike -- and it's got a great selection of caffeinated drinks.

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1. laV 1501 East 7th St, Austin, TX 78702 (East Austin)

An impressive wine list, intriguing dishes like Wood Oven Bouillabaisse with squid, clams, and blue prawn, and a complimentary valet make laV the ideal spot to go when you want to feel like a celebrity... then treat yourself to a Meyer Lemon Cream and feel like a slightly larger celebrity.

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2. Santorini Cafe 11800 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753

This unassuming house-restaurant is quickly gaining a loyal following. The lamb menu items should definitely be your go-to, and if you're going to make the trek out here you should probably get a glass of sangria for $2.50 and drink it on the patio.

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3. Fonda San Miguel 2330 W North Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78756 (North Loop)

An Austin institution since 1975, Fonda San Miguel has some of the best Mexican food in Austin. Get the ceviche las brisas and the relleno de picadillo (roasted poblano lightly battered and pan fried, filled with shredded pork, almonds & raisins, and served with jitomate sauce), or come by for their famous brunch spread.

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4. Barley Swine 2024 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

Barley Swine offers artisanal tapas off a dynamic menu that creatively displays the best of Austin's local fare. Craft beers and aged wines are hand selected to accent the key fresh and seasonal ingredients in these small plates. The innovative presentation and evolving dishes allow Barley Swine to boast a communal dining experience with a modern edge.

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5. Habanero Mexican Cafe 501 W Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704

Habanero got its start in Oregon, but the Ibarra family later relocated to Austin, where they have been impressing the locals for 10+ years. Their "Zack Attack" is what keeps people coming back; the tortilla is practically the size of Texas, and it's stuffed with your choice of meat and beans, then coated in a ton of queso.

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6. Asiana Indian Cuisine 801 E William Cannon Dr, Austin, TX 78745 (South Austin)

Asiana serves a mix of North and South Indian cuisine, with excellent service and constant rave reviews.

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7. Via 313 1111 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 (Central East)

Detroit-raised brothers Brandon and Zane Hunt are bringing their hometown's deep-dish pizza style to Austin at Via 313. The pizza is made the authentic Detroit way, which means square-shaped pies with Sicilian crust, a layer of pepperoni, cheesy edges, and a tangy red sauce. The pies come in slices of four, and if you'd like a more, er, mainstream pizza, thin-crust rounds are also available. Aside from pizza, Via 313's two full-service restaurants serve salads and a few appetizers, like cheese bread and house-made meatballs.

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8. Asia Café 8650 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759 (Spicewood Springs)

This Spicewood spot has some of the best Chinese food in all of Austin. Tucked away in a North Side shopping center, Asia Cafe is full of character and authentic Sichuan fare. Fun thing: when your order is ready, a man will yell your number REALLY LOUDLY.

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9. Enoteca Vespaio 1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

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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10. Olamaie 1610 San Antonio St, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Housed in a charming cottage just south of campus, Olamie offers a menu with picks such as skillet cornbread (with stewed okra, fairytale eggplant), sweet tea red wattle pork chop (charred apple, sorrel, pickled red onion), and apple pie with buttermilk ice cream.

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11. Sway 1417 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

Sway serves up modern Thai cuisine in a chic atmosphere with refined versions of staples like pad thai and more exotic favorites such as jungle curry. Offered twice daily is Moo Sway, which sounds vaguely like a newfangled dance move, but is actually a family-style smorgasbord. The feast is by reservation only and includes Thai-style pork shoulder, a dozen freshly shucked oysters, and other fixings.

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12. Korea House 2700 W Anderson Ln, Austin, TX 78757

This spot has some of the best Korean food in the entire city. Get the Bulgogi Jungsik (thinly sliced marinated beef cooked at your table) or dolsot bibimbap (vegetables and cooked beef topped with rice & fried egg served in a hot pot) for an authentic meal.

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13. Thai­-Kun 1104 East Sixth St, Austin, TX 78702

Located at the back of Wonderland, Thai-Kun is a food truck collaboration from chefs Paul Qui and Thai Changthong, offering up Thai-inspired dishes like Beef Panang Curry. Grab a seat at one of their picnic tables.

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14. La Barbecue: Cuisine Texicana 902 E Cesar Chavez in the Good Life Food Park, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

This is a no frills barbecue joint is known for their hand made sausage and mean slabs of meat. Behind La Barbecue's fire is veteran pitt boss (which is basically like the General of the BBQ world), John Lewis, who can also churn out whole briskets and racks of ribs to go if you're in a hurry. And did we mention the live music? Yes, every Saturday and Sunday, as it should be in the live music capital.

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15. Lenoir 1807 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

A locavore's haven, Lenoir serves French-inspired cuisine that unites community and fresh ingredients to cultivate a new food experience through a seasonal and prix fixe-style menu. Sample dishes from the sea like snapper ceviche with avocado puree, lime serrano and summer melons or rove the land with roasted guinea hen, kasu noodles, antelope ham broth, string beans, and sprouts. Guests can also dine at Lenoir's wine garden, which offers small plates and shareables alongside a variety of beer, cider, and wine.

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16. Swift's Attic 315 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Located the second floor of the historic (and now defunct grocery store) Swift's Premium Food Co. building on Congress Avenue, the appropriately named Swift's Attic serves up eclectic small plates and creative cocktails for hipstered out Austinites. Among a brunch Bloody Mar bar and generous daily happy hour deals, Swift's offers sophisticated meats, seafood, snacks, and cocktails. Must trys are Korean BBQ flank steak, squid "fries," and the Pop Rocks charred edamame.

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17. Vince Young Steakhouse 301 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Vince Young Steakhouse is a subtly track-lit meat-feasting destination segmented by room-dividing wine racks, brass chain curtains, and snaking brown & dark burnt-orange booths. Along with its melt-in-your-mouth perfect steaks, Vince Young Steakhouse has a killer wagyu brisket burger with cheddar, house-made pickles, and hand-cut fries. With the perfect atmosphere for a romantic evening, this place is only open for dinner and closed on Sundays. We recommend stopping by for their happy hour, where you can get some of their delicious yet pricey entrees for a discount.

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18. Veracruz All Natural 1704 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702 (East Austin)

Owned by sisters born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, this trailer (with a few locations across the city) serves tacos, tortas, and smoothies. The migas -- cloud-like scrambled eggs mixed with house-made tortilla chips, pico de gallo, cheese, avocado, then served atop a fresh tortilla -- are the stand-out dish.

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19. Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria 1912 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702 (Central East)

A butcher shop and bakery, Salt & Time slices up local, sustainable meats from farms around Austin and Central Texas. Tex-Mex (Migas, empanadas) and Southern (biscuits and gravy, pork hash) plates dominate brunch on the weekends, and every day it offers a Butcher’s Cut menu with eight to 10 high-quality offerings -- including Angus and wagyu -- cooked to medium-rare heaven. If you’re ready to up your steak game at home, Salt & Time’s butcher shop has fresh and aged steaks ready to be wrapped and weighed.

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20. Bouldin Creek Cafe 1900 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704 (Austin)

The iconic hippie haven is an homage to he owner's love of Austin's creative nature. They offer reasonably priced vegetarian food and are committed to helping the community grow.

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21. Clark's Oyster Bar 1200 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703

A small neighborhood seafood joint, Clark's Oyster Bar, prides itself on simple, sustainable seafood with a cozy ambiance. The maritime cache is fully stocked with house-made breads, burgers, and an extensive brunch menu, but the oysters, which come in a breadth of both East and West Coast options that rotate out with availability and season, are an essential order.

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