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Barley Swine Is #1 in Statesman’s Dining Guide

Olamaie drops to number two

Barley Swine
Robert J. Lerma/EATX
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Statesman critic Matthew Odam unleashed his picks for Austin’s best 25 restaurants. Topping that list is the relocated and expanded Barley Swine from chef Bryce Gilmore, nabbing the number one. The restaurant passed through his restaurant checklist, which covers everything from decor, nurturing staff, true Austin sourcing, approachability, and skills. Of the latter, he wrote that he found:

Delicate pasta exploding with shiitake broth and butter was one of the most divine bites I ate this year, while still being comforting. Executive pastry chef Susana Querejazu’s refreshing koji rice pudding with toasted sesame, cucamelon, mango sorbet and basil oil tasted like the dessert you’d be served at a resort near the Indian Ocean following a massage.

Rounding out his dining guide’s top five slots are Olamaie (which was number one last year), Apis out in Spicewood, Gilmore’s other restaurant Odd Duck, and first-time Otoko, the South Congress Hotel's omakase restaurant. The rest of the 25 include newcomers Kyoten Sushiko, Juniper, L’Oca d’Oro, Cafe No Se, Chicon, food-serving bar The Townsend, and Boiler Nine, along with beloved favorites like Uchi, Franklin Barbecue, and Lenoir, plus others.

Odam also profiled Gilmore in a separate piece, where he placed Barley Swine and the chef in the context of Austin's tumultuous dining year (so many shutters and so many openings), and held him as a model of what restaurants can do well. The chef dug into into the reasons why he decided to move Barley Swine from its original location on South Lamar, and format change-up from tasting menu-only to offering a la carte dishes too, as well as urged people to support local businesses.