As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions running the gamut from meal of the year to top restaurant newcomers. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the 2014. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Readers, please do add your survey answers in the comments.
What was Your Restaurant Standby of 2014?
Melanie Haupt, restaurant critic for The Chronicle and author of Historic Austin Restaurants
Noble Sandwiches, Bufalina, Torchy's
Megan Giller, editor of Zagat Austin
El Naranjo, Koriente, Salt & Time
Jane Ko, editor at A Taste of Koko and food photographer
Contigo and Josephine House for brunch, Kome for weekend lunch, Noble Sandwiches for weekday lunch, Sway for dinner, Uchiko for happy hour, Hopdoddy for movies night in (thank you Favor!), and Justine's/G'raj Mahal for date night.
Dan Gentile, staff writer at Thrillist
Mi Madres, Via 313, Kome, La Barbecue, Micklethwait, Justine's, Hoover's
Meredith Bethune, CultureMap and Serious Eats contributor
Odd Duck or Justine's for a nicer meal, House Pizzeria or Bufalina for weekday pizza.
Veronica Meewes, CultureMap, and Austin Monthly contributor
I'm guilty of not really being a regular anywhere because there are always so many new places and menus to try! But Uchi and Uchiko will always be a top recommendation of mine for anyone visiting Austin — you simply can't go wrong there. I also love Ramen Tatsu-ya, lunch at Salt & Time, pizza from Bufalina, the brunch buffet at Jack Allen's Kitchen, sandwiches from Melvin's Deli Comfort, and the incredible softserve creations at Cow Tipping Creamery (any time of year!) I also love Henri's and need to head south more often to go there, especially for their new(ish) dinner menu.
Tom Thornton, CultureMap food and drink editor
Veracruz #3 + Radio Coffee, Papalote, Tamale House East, Micklethwait, Uchiko, and Second. These are the spots we end up at again and again — the quality is consistent, and it's tough to have a bad experience at any of them.
Patricia Sharpe, executive editor/food writer, Texas Monthly
Whenever anybody with an adventurous palate asks me where to eat, I always say Barley Swine. The food is delicious in the most unexpected ways, beautifully served, and I actually like the communal seating. My other standby, for breakfast and lunch, is the tiny original Counter Café. Somehow they manage to cook the best crabcakes for miles around on that old black stove.
Melody Fury, Serious Eats and Eater Austin contributor and blogger at Gourmet Fury
El Naranjo, Thai Kun, Bufalina, LaV, Ramen Tatsuya, Xian (for the noodles, not the sushi), Hanabi’s happy hour
Nadia Chaudhury, associate editor of Eater Austin
Uchi for their sake social hours and as a place to take out out-of-towners. Torchy’s for go-to tacos. Maria’s Taco Xpress and Kerbey Lane for late night food and giant cheap margaritas from the former. Veracruz All-Natural and Radio Coffee for my morning/hangover meals. Whisler’s for great cocktails in a pretty setting.
Meghan McCarron, editor of Eater Austin
For a casual meal, I am hopelessly obsessed with Veracruz All Natural, Via 313 and Ramen Tatsu-Ya. Salt and Time is my neighborhood go-to; I try, and fail, to order something besides the burger. Odd Duck is the restaurant I use to show off Austin to visitors -- I've taken friends there for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Someday, word will get out about Qui's incredible patio menu, and I won't be able to walk up and get a seat there on a Friday night. Until then, it will be my favorite move, at least if I don't have a reservation in the dining room.