Austinites have plenty of fine dining restaurants worthy of those hard-earned dollars, but for those who don’t feel like dropping entire paychecks on dinners, Eater put together this handy guide to five higher-end Austin restaurants that offer affordable ways to experience more upscale dining.
For more like-places, scope out Austin’s best finer-dining restaurants. On the other end of the spectrum, check out the city’s best happy hour spots and essential cheap eats restaurants and food trucks.
At one of the best sushi spots in the country, the ten-course chef’s tasting menu fluctuates daily according to market price, but can easily cost upwards of $100 per person. But one of Austin’s worst-kept dining secrets is the restaurant’s happy hour sake social, where wine, beer, sake, and bites like hand rolls are offered at a steep discount from 5 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Arrive early to snag a spot, especially on weekends.
Address: 801 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker
You’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant in Austin where the staff is dressed so fashionably, they often outshine the guests — but Jeffrey’s is no ordinary Austin restaurant. The Clarksville institution is known for its prime beef selection (a 26-ounce bone-in ribeye dry-aged for 32 days, will set you back $130), but experience the luxe atmosphere for much less by eating at the bar. Half-price dishes, like pan-seared bar steak, hamachi carpaccio, dry-aged wagyu burger, and $2 off drinks are offered during happy hour, held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. every day, as well as all-night on Mondays.
Address: 1204 West Lynn Street, Clarksville
One of the first restaurants to bring unpretentious fine-dining to the casual city of Austin, Wink offers an intimate setting for devouring its fresh ingredients. There are five- and seven-course tasting menus, costing $78 and $106 respectively not including wine pairings. But the culinary experience extends to the bar, where slow-grazing customers are never rushed to make room for spendier patrons. During happy hour, enjoy half-off bar items like black truffle-laced mac and cheese, Prince Edward Island mussels, and a wide array of burgers from classic to foie to duck. That’s available from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Address: 1014 North Lamar Boulevard, Clarksville
Chef Bryce Gilmore’s acclaimed small-plate restaurant moved north to a luxe new space nearly double the size of its original iteration, but it still held onto its local, inventive ethos. The nine-course chef’s tasting menu is currently set at $95, but it’s during happy hour where selected dishes are available for half-off from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Expect shared plates like pig-face Parker house rolls, blue crab gartin, and crawfish salad. Wash it all down with select discounted drinks: $7 draft cocktails, $4 beers, 25 percent off wine bottles, and half-off large-format beer bottles.
Address: 6555 Burnet Road, Brentwood
Fine dining with a casual bent, Cafe Josie, under chef Todd Havers, offers what essentially amounts to an all-you-can-eat menu for $45. The seasonal Texas menu spans fried Gulf oysters, Korean fried chicken, grilled hanger steak and more. It drops to $35 during happy hour from 5 to 6 p.m. on the weekdays, and there’s a Sunday brunch version for $30.
Address: 1200 West 6th Street, Clarksville
— Jane Kellogg Murray, with updates by Nadia Chaudhury