Sure, we all have that recurring nightmare where we’re looking for the 12 hottest new bars and restaurants in Austin and all we can find are some lame old places (and also we’re naked for some reason). Well, saving you a lot of money in therapy bills, here are the dozen best new spots in town...
The very highly anticipated Italian concept from Chef Nicholas Yanes and his hand-picked culinary team is finally open. The cuisine is a mash-up of Northern Italian & Central Texas, putting out such menu fillers as the blistered burrata, and oxtail & rosemary lasagna available on the brunch menu. Juniper’s beverage program will include wine, an extensive gin list, and cocktails like the Little Visitor (Tequila Ocho reposado, Gran Classico, Aperol, bitters).
Café No Sé is the first of four restaurants slated to open in the brand-spanking-new South Congress Hotel. The cafe-style cuisine is decidedly eclectic, seasonal American, and the wraparound patio is perfect for people-watching. Try the café cheeseburger -- a double Pat LaFrieda beef patty, thinly sliced Vidalia onion, and house-made pickles on a freshly baked buttermilk brioche bun.
Acclaimed mixologists Justin Lavenue and Dennis Gobis, formerly of Half Step and drink.well. (respectively) are at the helm of the new West Fifth cocktail bar. The menu they’ve conjured up features over 70 cocktails, categorized by era. The ridiculously high caliber of creativity is evident in their offerings -- we’re kind of obsessed with the Cigar Box (mezcal, lapsang souchong, lavender bitters, tobacco bitters, flamed cinnamon stick) and White Tuxedo (gin, Dolin blanc, dry sherry, grapefruit bitters, salted tarragon olive oil).
If you live north-ish, you’re in luck. Royal Jelly is both a perfect neighborhood bar with a patio and a chill weeknight dinner spot. You can expect wine, local beer, and an insane michelada verde (Bohemia, roasted tomatillo, avocado, chorizo-stuffed jalapeño). The current dinner menu offerings include a pork belly Cubano and tom kha mussels.
Attention French-fry addicts: there exists a restaurant where fries are the main attraction and burgers are considered a (very tasty) side. You choose a specific potato and cut from spud types such as purple, gold, sweet, russet, Okinawan, even Brussels sprouts. Then go wild with flavored salts, and dips ranging from blueberry ketchup to garlic aioli. Oh, and burgers too.
Setting up shop in the space formerly occupied by Veggie Heaven is the new Ramen Fukuya. Students and Drag rats alike will love the rich broths and authentic add-ins. Try the tonkatsu or kimchi ramen.
Although we lamented the closing of Horseshoe Lounge (don’t worry it's re-opening off East Riverside soon) a worthy tenant has appeared in the space. Golden Goose has kept the vintage feel of the 'Shoe and added a stage for live music, some nice takes on classic cocktails, and (finally!) a credit card machine.
Sleek, modern interiors and wood-fired pizza make Unit-D a new standout in a sea of pizzerias. Start light with the kale salad (lemon, cashew, millet, pickled peach) and then feast on sausage pizza (tomato, lamb, fennel, mozzarella, fontina, Pecorino, dill). Oh, and don’t forget the wine -- it’s all biodynamic, and rotates to fit the current menu.
Restaurateur Shawn Cirkiel (of Olive & June, Parkside, Backspace) just launched this beautifully designed new eatery that will feature modern Spanish classics including meats and cheeses, tapas, and larger entrees. The cocktail program will also reflect the Spanish concept, with an emphasis on Spanish spirits such as sherry and brandy.
The conic Portland-based donut shop has opened its fifth location right here. It’s nestled amongst the chaos of Sixth St and lucky for us, it’s open 24 hours. The quirky chain is known for its cereal- and candy-topped treats with tongue-in-cheek names, including the Froot-covered The Loop, and the cream-filled Cock ‘n’ Balls.
The new Italian concept from Bridget Dunlap (Mettle, Clive Bar) brings together pizza, pasta, and cocktails. Patrons can expect Roman-style pizza -- think large, thin, and crispy -- and classic Italian dishes such as lasagna. Burn is open until midnight, daily.
Lenoir has consistently topped lists since opening in 2012 -- and much to our delight it's expanded its offerings to its charming wine garden. Order bar snack or plates from the dedicated trailer in the very welcoming garden and enjoy sips from the meticulously curated wine list.
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Anastacia Uriegas is an Austin writer who is already planning her second trip to Voodoo.
1. Juniper2400 E Cesar Chavez St Ste 304, Austin
2. Café No Se1603 S Congress Ave, Austin
3. The Roosevelt Room307 W 5th St, Austin
4. Royal Jelly704 W St Johns Ave, Austin
5. Boise Fry Company11005 Burnet Rd Ste 108, Austin
6. Ramen Fukuya1914 Guadalupe Street #A, Austin
7. The Golden Goose2034 S Lamar Blvd, Austin
8. Unit-D Pizzeria2406 Manor Rd, Austin
9. Bullfight4807 Airport Blvd, Austin
10. Voodoo Doughnuts212 E 6th St, Austin
11. Burn Pizza + Bar1802 E 6th St, Austin
12. Lenoir1807 S 1st St, Austin
With Chef Nicolas Yanes (Uchi) at the helm, this East Austin restaurant serves cuisines native to that of Piedmont, Lombardi, Emilia Romagna, and even Central Texas. Classic cocktails are offered alongside entrees such as blistered burrata and oxtail and rosemary lasagna.
Normally, when you're craving a burger, your first instinct is to hit up a local dive or stick to fast-food franchises but this artsy, airy cafe in Travis Heights is worth changing your ways for. Along with dishes you're used to seeing at restaurants of this caliber, like gravlax tartine, chicken milanese, and grilled lamb ribs, No Se serves up some of the best burgers in the city. You'll pay a little bit more for it, but with local, hand-pressed beef, sweet onion, pickles, and a buttermilk bun, it's just as much as piece of art as the rest of its cuisine (and the literal artwork lining its walls).
This industrial-chic cocktail bar supplies over 70 different mixed drinks categorized by era. The Roosevelt Room also features a comfortable upstairs lounge for a more intimate setting.
Royal Jelly is a gastropub in St. Johns is a gem in the Austin restaurant scene with great happy hour specials that include killer cocktails and rotating small plates. The patio with brightly painted furniture is perfect for lounging in the summer, and the laid-back vibe is perfect for catching up with friends. Bonus: many of their beers come from Texas, so you can ride that local vibe. No, this is not a jam shop but it is the jam. Take a right onto St. Johns from Lamar and you’ve arrived as this little gastropub is the first to pop up on this road but it’s assuredly not the last. Happy hour all day on Sunday and 4-7pm Tuesday through Saturday. Small plates change all the time but the goat meatballs and merguez sliders are consistently available. Wash it down with a Mole Old Fashioned or some house-made sangria.
Burgers on are the side at this casual American restaurant that offers inventive fries. Customers can chose from an assortment of spuds, cuts, and toppings to customize their crisps.
You wanted ramen, you went to Ramen Fukuya, you ate ramen, you were very, very happy. That's called using your noodle.
This converted dive bar is now a sleek, trendy cocktail lounge and live music venue, offering creative drinks in a spirited atmosphere.
Unit-D Pizzeria offers wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, small plates, salads, and a dynamic craft beer and wine list at this modern spot on Manor Road. The oven, created by a Naples-based oven maker that has been in the business for over 100 years, cranks out bubbly crusted Neapolitans in winning combinations like the pepperoni primo (tomato, pepperoni, bresaola, lardo ibérico, mozzarella, spicy Calabrian peppers), which are taken to the next level thanks to fresh side garnishes like oregano sprigs and crushed chiles.
Modern Spanish and seafood dishes are presented at this chic restaurant. Urchin roe, veal sweetbread, grilled branzino, and paella are served alongside a variety of meat and cheese boards.
The ultra-famous Portland sweetshop brings its crude, sometimes X-rated, doughnuts to the heart of Austin's Dirty Sixth. Pastry options include Diablos Rex, Maple Blazer Blunt, Old Dirty Bastard, and Cock-n-Balls.
"Old World meets New Austin" at this Southern and Central Italy-inspired pizzeria. Thin, Roman-style pizza is supplied in addition to creative pasta and main dishes.
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.