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Austin Restaurant Experts Share Their Standbys of 2019

From Neapolitan pizza to brisket ramen, where the city’s food authorities dine out in Austin

Anchovy pie at Bufalina Due
Anchovy pie at Bufalina Due
Erin Russell is associate editor of Eater Austin, a native Austinite, and a big fan of carbs.

As is the tradition as we near the end of 2019, 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 2019?

Raphael Brion, former Eater editor and Texas Editor of The Infatuation
I don’t know what I’d do without Bufalina Due. Just like the original Bufalina on the East Side, the mozzarella is fresh, the soundtrack is always outstanding, and the Neapolitan pies are so good you’ll cry a little. As a bonus, it’s got one of the best wine lists in town with tons of unusual stuff, and unlike the East Side Bufalina, you can almost always walk right in with no wait. I’ve often sat at the bar and thought about moving in.

Jane Ko, blogger, A Taste of Koko
Oseyo, Hank’s, Vespaio, and Fresa’s.

Jolène M. Bouchon, critic at Austin Monthly
Comedor’s been my repeat special occasion pick, but for everyday eating, I’m always, always in the mood for Veracruz All Natural and Sour Duck.

Robert Jacob Lerma, photographer for Eater Austin and others
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. It’s as good as food gets.

Pat Sharpe, executive editor and food writer for Texas Monthly
Clark’s Oyster Bar — I love sitting outside and eating a burger or just having a tray of raw oysters; it’s small and casual-chic.
Kemuri Tatsu-ya — Can you say brisket ramen? When a visitor wants to experience the new Austin, this crazy Texo-Japanese place is my go-to.
Fonda San Miguel — This lovely restaurant, which looks like a colonial hacienda, started the whole interior Mexican movement in Austin in the 1970s and it’s still in the game.

Erin Russell, associate editor of Eater Austin
Better Half, for all occasions, at all times. Convenient location, great food, welcoming atmosphere, parking, and a solid whiskey list. I also rediscovered Foreign & Domestic this year — food experts will notice the little touches that go into elevating each dish, and everyone will find something to like.

Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
My answer this year is basically the same as last year: Better Half always and forever. I’ve also forgotten how much I love the one-two punch of Veracruz All Natural and Radio Coffee for migas tacos, excellent coffee, and all of the people- and puppy-watching. A new favorite has been Malibu Poke, especially after I go to the gym (the salmon is a particular favorite). I’m also a big fan of the selection over at East Austin wine bar Apt 115.


5811 Berkman Drive, , TX 78723 (512) 609-8077 Visit Website

Clark's Oyster Bar

1200 West 6th Street, , TX 78703 (512) 297-2525 Visit Website

Radio Coffee & Beer

4204 Menchaca Road, , TX 78704 (512) 394-7844 Visit Website


1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 (512) 441-6100 Visit Website

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

2713 East 2nd Street, , TX 78702 (512) 803-2224 Visit Website

Fresa's Chicken al Carbon

1703 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704 Visit Website

Foreign & Domestic

306 East 53rd Street, , TX 78751 (512) 459-1010

Fonda San Miguel

2330 West North Loop Boulevard, , TX 78756 (512) 459-4121 Visit Website

Veracruz All Natural

111 East Cesar Chavez Street, , TX 78701 (512) 665-2713 Visit Website

Better Half

25 North Fremont Street, , OR 97227 (971) 347-3152 Visit Website

APT 115

2025 East 7th Street, , TX 78702 (737) 333-0780 Visit Website


1628 East Cesar Chavez Street, , TX 78702 (512) 368-5700 Visit Website


501 Colorado Street, , TX 78701 (512) 499-0977 Visit Website

Bufalina Due

6555 Burnet Road, , TX 78757 (512) 215-8662 Visit Website

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

11500 Menchaca Road, , TX 78748 (512) 221-4248 Visit Website

Sour Duck Market

1814 East Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, , TX 78702 (512) 394-5776 Visit Website

Malibu Poke [Austin]

211 Walter Seaholm Drive, Austin, Texas 78703 Visit Website