As is the tradition as we near the end of 2018, 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. Question number one:
What were your top restaurant standbys of 2018?
Pat Sharpe, executive editor and food writer for Texas Monthly
For a special meal out, Jeffrey’s is still hard to beat (if you’ve got the money, of course). If people say they can’t wait for Franklin Barbecue (my favorite in the city), I send them to Terry Black’s. I have breakfast at Tacodeli at least three mornings a week — the migas are especially fine. In my neighborhood, I find myself at Epicerie on many a Friday night. The Barley Swine empire is an Austin treasure. I work downtown and love the food hall Fareground — such great little stalls and a wonderful airy room to eat in. When I want the best tea service in my part of town, I go to The Steeping Room.
Rachel Holtin, blogger, AustinFoodstagram
Emmer & Rye remains my favorite Austin restaurant — I love their farm-to-table dining approach, mixed with dim sum service. It’s amazing how many flavors you can taste throughout an evening there. Also, June’s All Day for an incredibly curated wine pairing dinner.
Tom Thornton, freelance food writer and contributor at Eater Austin
Loro, Veracruz, Papalote, Cane Rosso, Rosita’s, Via 313, Tucci’s, Noble Sandwich, June’s All Day, LeRoy and Lewis, Habanero, and Pueblo Viejo.
Jane Ko, blogger, A Taste of Koko
Hank’s (I’m here almost once a week), Loro, Fresa’s, El Chilito, and Cava.
Jolène M. Bouchon, critic at Austin Monthly
Sour Duck has pretty much been my answer to everything since it opened. Working lunch? Sour Duck. Post-soccer meal? Drinks with friends (kids in tow)? Quick-fix dinner? All Sour Duck.
Dan Gentile, freelance food writer
Ramen Tatsu-ya, Chen’s Noodle House, Titaya’s, Bufalina, P. Terry’s, Justine’s, South Congress Hotel Lobby Bar, Sour Duck Market, Rockstar Bagels, Tyson’s Tacos, Micklethwait Craft Meats, Via 313, La Matta.
Veronica Mewes, freelance food writer
Bufalina, Odd Duck, Dai Due, Fukumoto, Soursop, Ramen Tatsu-ya, Saigon Le Vendeur, La Barbecue … and I consume Delray Cafe’s sliders more often than I’d like to admit!
Brandon Watson, food editor, CultureMap Austin
The two trailers at La Holly are serving wonderful food. My Dee Dee obsession is already well-known, but the food truck version of Taco Flats surprised with perfect tortillas (both corn and flour) and exquisite al pastor.
Jimmy Ho, blogger and Eater contributor, The Smoking Ho
LeRoy & Lewis, Micklethwait, and Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ
Erin Russell, associate editor, Eater Austin
I am always down for an omnivore pizza from Via 313, happy hour at Jack Allen’s Kitchen, cauliflower tots at Better Half, or a beer at Nickel City.
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
Need coffee? Better Half. Want to catch up with friends? Better Half. Co-working with someone? Better Half. Need to kill an hour? Better Half. Want to read outside with a beer? Better Half.
Also, since I haven’t moved, by neighborhood standbys haven’t changed much: Taco Joint, Home Slice Pizza, June’s, Manana. I find myself craving Dee Dee often, as well as the creations from Puli-Ra (can’t wait to see what Deepa Shridhar does next).
When I have guests in town or the such, I still stick to my usuals: Veracruz All Natural, Kemuri Tatsu-ya/Ramen Tatsu-ya, Odd Duck, Sichuan River, and Nickel City.