Since the end of 2015 is near, Eater asked a group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past year. The annual survey spans eight questions from dining surprises, best dining neighborhoods, to restaurant grievances. All answers will be revealed as the week rolls on—cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited, and in no particular order. Readers, add your answers in the comments below. Fourth up:
What was the best dining neighborhood in 2015?
Anastacia Uriegas, contributor of Thrillist
The east side, obviously.
Brandon Watson, food editor of Austin Chronicle
It's still the East. Salt & Time's burgers, Kyōten's mackerel, Buenos Aires' empanadas, Juniper's puffy potatoes, Gardner and Qui's everything. I don't do much drinking on the east side anymore (with the exception of Whisler's), but for dinner my Lyft is almost always heading across the highway.
Dan Gentile, staff writer at Thrillist
Jane Ko, editor of A Taste of Koko
East Austin—new pizza joints, sushi bar, and dessert shops. East Austin has everything!
Jolène M. Bouchon, critic for Austin Monthly
What probably no one else but me refers to as "The Lower East Side": Launderette, Monger's, Juniper, Fukumoto... It goes on.
Kathy Blackwell, editor in chief of Austin Way
Katie Friel, editor of Tribeza
South Lamar. You have everything you could possibly want within a few blocks plus an Alamo Drafthouse. That being said, the way things are going, I'm sure my answer next year will be East Cesar Chavez.
Melanie Haupt, freelancer writer and contributor of Eater Austin
Airport or East 6th.
Melody Fury, freelance food writer, blogger at Gourmet Fury, and contributor of Eater Austin
Downtown, including Rainey Street (to my pleasant surprise).
Patricia Sharpe, executive editor and food writer for Texas Monthly
It’s still the east side (from Cesar Chavez to East 7th).
Sofia Sokolove, assistant editor of Tribeza and contributor of Eater Austin
South Austin can satisfy any craving in a pretty small radius, especially now with Veracruz Tacos and Shake Shack in the 'hood.
Tom Thornton, food and drinks editor of CultureMap Austin
East 6th/7th, South Lamar. (Sidebar: Still can't believe so many are ignoring far South and SW Austin. It's a goldmine of opportunity—look at Jack Allen's.)
Veronica Meewes, editor of Zagat Austin
Downtown/central Austin really exploded with restaurants this year: Italic, Lonesome Dove, Fixe, Wu Chow, Geraldine's, Emmer & Rye, Counter 3.Five.VII, Cooper's Barbecue—and just east of I-35, we gained Spartan Pizza, Spun Ice Cream, Launderette, Juniper, Fukumoto, Counter Cafe, Mongers, Paperboy and more. Similarly, we've gained more great cocktails bars (like The Townsend and The Roosevelt Room) in a region once rife with dollar shots and "you-call-'em" specials. In my ten years in Austin, downtown has become more and more of a culinary destination and I think we can only look forward to seeing it further develop.
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
South Lamar is getting better: Shake Shack, In-N-Out Burger, Vox Table, Ramen Tatsu-ya, Odd Duck, Uchi, East Side King, and more. And next year will bring even more options, including cocktail bar Backbeat, which is something the stretch really needs. Downtown Austin is really booming too, with The Townsend, Roosevelt Room, Wu Chow, Fixe, Counter 3.Five.VII, and more.