Statesman critic Matthew Odam released his 2017 dining guide this afternoon, ranking the 25 best restaurants in Austin. According to Odam’s judgment of food (quality, thoughtfulness, consistency), sense of place, and uniqueness, Michael Fojtasek’s Olamaie came out on top.
Odam praised the Per Se-trained chef/owner by chiding, “If you simply think of Southern food as plodding triumphs of fat, salt, sugar and fat, Fojtasek’s reinterpretations will shake some sense into you.”
The menu spans the region, from North Carolina speckled sea trout with velvety sweet potatoes to Tabasco-enlivened Gulf shrimp and a perfectly seared rib-eye from Central Texas...Olamaie is everything you could want from the modern South.
Since becoming eligible for inclusion in 2015 dining guide, Olamaie has stayed ranked in the top two restaurants. Rounding out the top five slots were:
- Lenoir (“it’s the other details of leadership that take Lenoir to the next level”)
- Dai Due (“There is probably not a more quintessential Texas spot in Austin than Dai Due”)
- Odd Duck (“Odd Duck always makes me feel at home”)
- Emmer & Rye (“Kevin Fink brims with a passion for food and creativity, and that energy is contagious”)
The list also contains a lot of new locales, notably much-lauded Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, Pitchfork Pretty, Philip Speer’s Bonhomie, Old Thousand, Paul Qui’s Kuneho, and June’s All Day, which barely missed the cutoff for inclusion last year. Expected favorites like Franklin Barbecue, Uchi/Uchiko, Otoko, and Bufalina maintained their status on the list. No explanation was given for Barley Swine’s significant drop from #1 in 2016 to #7 this year.