1) Papalote Taco House — The northwest Austin branch of the popular South Lamar taco joint opened last month. The same delicious cheap breakfast tacos and lunch specials are available.
2) Schmidt Family Barbecue — Schmidt Barbecue, from the family behind famed Lockhart destinations Smitty’s and Kreuz Market, opened its second restaurant out in Lakeway, taking over the previous Buster’s BBQ space. The first in Austin can be found in Bee Cave.
3) Ramen Fukuya — A new ramen shop, Ramen Fukuya, took over the old Veggie Heaven spot on the Drag in late June. The namesake noodle bowl is made with chicken bone broth, and there’s the weekend-only seafood ramen.
4) Pacific Rim Sushi and Yakitori — The yakitori sports bar opened in the old Dojo space on 183 and Burnet Road in June. Along with the skewered meats, seafood, and vegetables, there will be sushi, bento boxes, specials, drinks, karaoke, and many television screens to keep up with lots of sports.
5) Saffron — Northwest Hills got a mix of Asian fusion with Himalayan, Nepalese, Indian, and Pakistani cuisines with the opening of Saffron in the spring. Momos, tandoori meats, and the intriguing Darjeeling green tea crème brulee are all on the menu. One Yelper vouched for the restaurant: "Inside and out, Saffron is easy to underestimate, but trust me—you have to check this place out."
6) Billie Jean’s Burger Pub — Food truck turned brick and mortar, the burger joint popped up on South Congress in late May. The array of burgers include the Moroccan, made with a blend of spices and herbs, fried egg, goat cheese, spinach, and harissa sauce.
7) Almarah Mediterranean Cuisine — Austin got a slew of Mediterranean restaurants within the past two months. First, there’s the family-run Almarah in Cedar Park, which opened in June. The usual dishes are on the menu, like shawarma and kabob plates. One Yelper loved the hummus because "you can tell when something is handmade and fresh," adding, "Overall, the area was in desperate need of a quality restaurant."
8) Slate — Next is former 219 West-turned-Slate on West Sixth, where small plates and entrees include grilled flatbreads, pizza fritas, and more. It’s open for lunch, dinner, and brunch, plus there’s a daily happy hour.
9) Phoenician Resto-Cafe — Then there’s the Lebanese Phoenician Resto-Cafe along I-35 near Rainey Street, which opened in late June. Among the menu offerings is the $45 boat challenge, where a single diner who manages to eat six wraps and fried and drink a large soda within 45 minutes gets the meal for free.
10) Halal Corner — Run by the same owners of Kismet Cafe down by campus, Halal Corner took over the old Boneheads spot up in Mueller in early July. For one Yelper, "The food is great, looks good, tastes good, smells good." He added, " If you like halal, Mediterranean food, or just food in general, you will like this place."
11) Saigon Cafe — Residents in Hudson Bend warmly welcomed the arrival of the Vietnamese and Thai Saigon Cafe, when it opened in mid-June. There’s pho, vermicelli bowls to curries and noodle dishes. One Yelper exclaimed, "These are authentic Vietnamese/Thai recipes that never fail to fill you up and satisfy!"