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The Best Austin Restaurant Meals of 2017

Texas-Japanese fusion, stellar omakase, and more

Soto’s kampachi
Soto’s kampachi
Keri B./Yelp

As is the tradition as we near the end of 2017, Eater asked a trusted group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past culinary year in Austin. The annual survey spans eight questions, from dining surprises to best food neighborhoods and disappointing meals. 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. Question number seven:

What was your best restaurant meal of 2017?

Kelly Stocker, creative consultant, contributor at Eater Austin

Omakase at Soto South Lamar.

Matthew Odam, restaurant critic at the Statesman

Dinner at Olamaie.

Brandon Watson, food editor at CultureMap Austin

This is a cheat, and I had stellar meals at Foreign & Domestic, Apis, and the Bistro Gaggenau pop-up, but I haven't had as much fun eating in a while as I did at Hot Luck. From the bites to the drinks to the unfortunate chicken tattoo I got at one of the parties, everything left a permanent mark. And somehow even with the talent involved, it felt like one big backyard barbecue.

Anastacia Uriegas, freelance food and cocktail writer

Definitely the chef's tasting experience at Apis in Spicewood, former chef Adam Brick knocked our socks off during the 3-hour dinner which included: Spanish prawns, beef which had been aged in-house for seemingly a billion days, fresh honeycomb, liquid nitrogen ice cream. Lucky for those of us who live in Austin proper, Chef Adam Brick recently became a partner at Hyde Park’s Vino Vino resulting in a revamped, Brick-ified menu. [editor’s note: Brick is no longer with Vino Vino.]

Tom Thornton, freelance food writer and contributor at Eater Austin

Entre Tierras in Puebla, Mexico.

Veronica Meewes, Zagat Austin editor and freelance food and travel writer

I simply can’t pick just one. Outside of Austin: a largely foraged feast at Kadeau in Denmark, a humble but mind-blowing bowl of chorizo con huevos in San Diego, and char-grilled brats and kraut at a 12th century sausage house in Germany. In Austin: an epic dining experience at Apis, whereby [then-chef] Adam Brick served various interpretations of aged fish and meat, accented by housemade miso, tamari and yuzu kosho. The meal ended with honeycomb service and a dream of a whiskey cart. It was one for the books, to say the least.

Jane Ko, blogger at A Taste of Koko

Opening night at ATX Cocina, where a cocktail was served in half of a watermelon.

Jolène M. Bouchon, critic for Austin Monthly

I think in terms of dishes rather than meals: the fish collar, barbecue tsukemen, and Hot Pocketz from Kemuri Tatsu-ya. Beef enchiladas suizas from Eldorado Cafe. Bonhomie's Nicoise tuna toast. The buckwheat cornbread and eggplant gazpacho from Pitchfork Pretty. These are the dishes I loved and regularly crave the most.

Sommer Brugal, freelance writer and contributor at Eater Austin

My father and I ordered the rabbit at Salty Sow (a special at the time), and it was simply delicious. We accompanied it with crispy brussels sprouts leaves, roasted organic beets, and a glass of wine. It was the perfect place to take an out-of-towner.

Erin Russell, associate editor of Eater Austin

When I tried The Local [a brisket biscuit sandwich] at Holy Roller, I think I audibly said, "Wow." Also, I went to Lisbon and had a chocolate sorbet at Bettina & Niccolo that I think about every day.

Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin

Time and time again, Kemuri Tatsu-ya delivered the best meals for me this year, especially the wonderfully “weird” chinmi menu. Along the same fusion vein, I am a big, big fan of Puli-Ra’s roti tacos, especially the brisket one.