Statesman critic Matthew Odam has named Southern destination Olamaie as the city’s best restaurant for 2019 — the third year that the downtown restaurant has come out on top of Odam’s guide.
Odam praised Olamaie chef-owner Michael Fojtasek for “changing the way diners thought about stereotypically heavy, one-note Southern dishes” at his San Antonio Street restaurant, which opened in 2014. While its innovative approach helped it earn that top spot, Odam also complimented Fojtasek for keeping things approachable, with “dishes more interested in comforting than confusing with descriptors and technical nuance”.
Olamaie previously took the number one position on Odam’s 2017 best restaurants list; in 2018, it dropped to fourth spot on his list. Following close behind Olamaie (in order) are:
- East Austin’s Pitchfork Pretty: for mixing Texas tradition with some international flair.
- North Loop’s Foreign & Domestic: for its “Texas farm country meets French bistro” hybrid approach.
- Mueller’s L’Oca d’Oro: where “the kitchen sets the baselines of Italian cuisine: clean, seasonal, expressive, unfussed and flavorful.”
- Rainey Street heirloom grain-focused Emmer & Rye: for “some of the most colorful, thoughtful and artful dishes in town”.
Emmer & Rye took the top spot on Odam’s 2018 list, before dropping to the number five slot this year.
A couple of newcomers cracked the top 20 of Odam’s list — modern Mexican haunt Comedor landed at #6, and pop-up-turned-restaurant Interstellar Barbecue is at #14. Thai restaurant Little Thailand, which returned to the scene this year after closing in 2014, also earned substantial props, at #11.
Odam gave high rankings to plenty of Austin staples, too — Franklin Barbecue, Odd Duck, La Condesa, and Uchi all make prominent appearances in the ranked list of 50 restaurants.
- 2019 Best Restaurants in Austin [Austin American-Statesman]
- Emmer & Rye Tops Statesman’s Best Austin Restaurants List [EATX]