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A shallow white bowl of sliced avocados and marinated seafood chunks.

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Where to Find Refreshingly Cool Dishes in Austin

Ceviches and crudos and sashimi galore

The aguachiles perla negra at Simar Seafood.
| Simar Seafood Cocina

Texas summers are hot, and even though it finally dropped to below 100 degrees, it’s still pretty damn sweltering out there. To help Austinites cool off, Eater put together this nifty guide highlighting the best refreshingly cooking dishes throughout the city. From ceviches to cold noodles to seafood towers to tartare, here’s where to find excellent cold dishes at Austin’s best restaurants and food trucks, listed in alphabetical order by dish name.

Aguachile

Among coastal Mexican seafood restaurant Simar Seafood Cocina’s ceviche menu are three aguachiles, the Mexican raw marinated shrimp dish. One is traditional, another is made with spicy jalapenos and serranos, and the other is made with chiles and a black sauce. (9503 Research Boulevard, Unit 400, Gateway, takeout orders can be placed online)

Ceviche

The Peruvian dish of citrusy marinated raw fish is delightful in these hot times. Therefore, a Peruvian spot is Austin’s best bet. Food truck Ceviche7’s ceviche de pescado is made with mahi mahi fish mixed with bits of corn both steamed and crispy, bell peppers, and onions paired with lettuce and boiled sweet potatoes. Then there’s Peruvian restaurant Lima Criolla with a larger ceviche menu spanning ceviche mixto with a mixture of fish and seafood to the tiradito, a Japanese-Peruvian take made with tilapia and corn. (Ceviche7: 502 West 30th Street, North Campus; Lima: 6406 North I-35 Frontage Road, Suite 1550, the Linc, takeout orders can be placed online)

A bowl of diced pink fish in broth with a corn on the cob.
Ceviche from Lima Criolla.
Lima Criolla

Cheese Boards

Cheese is fantastic and importantly not hot, and Spread & Co. does the dairy product proud with its various cheese boards. For these purposes, forgo the charcuterie and just load up on all sorts of cheeses such as chevres, pave du nords, blues, and more, plus condiments, nuts, fruit, almonds, and crostini. (1601 West 38th Street, near Oakmont Heights and Rosedale; takeout orders can be placed online)

Chilled Soups

Of course soup slingers Soup Peddler often has cold soups on the menu, such as the Green Detox jammed with all sorts of green veggies or gazpacho. (multiple locations, takeout orders can be placed online)

Cold Meats

Naturally, butcher shop/restaurant Dai Due prepares an excellent and oft-changing cold meats board, featuring potential items like chicken liver mousse dressed with pickled strawberries, wild boar summer sausage, plus bread and condiments. (2406 Manor Road, Cherrywood)

A white plate with beige trim full of noodles and shredded chicken and greens.
The cold sesame noodle dish at Noodle Alley.
Noodle Alley

Cold Noodles

There is something soothing about slurping down chilled noodles. Premier noodle mini-chain Xian Sushi and Noodle offers lovely cold sesame noodles paired with steamed chicken and a bunch of vegetables including cucumbers. Newer restaurant Noodle Alley offers a spicy take on cold sesame noodles mixed with chili oil and Sichuan peppercorns, plus cucumbers. The highly coveted liangpi (spicy cold skin noodles) at West Campus truck Chef Hong is perfect, but remember to place your order ahead of time as the dish is only available in very limited quantities. (Xian: multiple locations, takeout orders can be placed online; Noodle Alley: 1201 North Bell Boulevard, Suite 100, Cedar Park, takeout orders can be placed online; Chef Hong: 907 West 24th Street, West Campus)

Crudo

For raw fish in the Italian and/or Spanish way, crudo is the answer, where the uncooked seafood is paired with various dressings and seasonings. Texas seafood restaurant Salt Traders Coastal Cooking offers a daily crudo with toppings and seasonings depending on the fish, so you know it’s fresh. Recent offerings have included a yellowfin tuna with yellow watermelon and kiwi plus a black garlic soy dressing. (2850 North Interstate Highway 35, Round Rock & 1101 South Mopac Expressway, Zilker)

A black plate with a spread with seeds on top of it, next to half-circle chips and cut veggies.
Nixta’s sikil p’aak.
Nixta Taqueria

Dips

Martin Sheen’s character in Only Murders in the Building knows what he’s talking about: dips make for easy cold meals. For hummus, check out downtown food hall Israeli restaurant TLV. For hummus and baba ganoush, scope out Mediterranean food truck Abo Youssef. For labneh, hummus, AND baba ganoush, Mediterranean restaurant Kismet Cafe is the destination. For sikil p’aak, a pumpkin seed dip, Mexican restaurant Nixta Taqueria offers a nice one. (TLV: Fareground, 111 Congress Avenue, Austin, Downtown, takeout orders can be placed online; Abo Youssef: 2101 Manor Road, Cherrywood; Kismet Cafe: 1000 East 41st Street, Hancock, takeout orders can be placed online; Nixta: 2512 East 12th Street, Chestnut, takeout orders can be placed online)

Oysters

For a perfect cold oyster-and-martini combination, go to the Thompson Hotel restaurant Diner Bar, where, especially for happy hour, there’s a rotating selection of sweet and briny oysters plus a choose-your-own vodka or gin martinis (make it dirty). (Thompson Hotel, 501 Brazos Street, downtown)

Poke

The wonderful Hawaiian dish of cut-up marinated raw fish served with greens and/or rice and other seasonings fits the bill of this guide. For the best iteration in Austin, stop by Poke-Poke with spicy tuna poke, shiso salmon, yuzu hamachi, and more. (3100 South Congress Avenue, Dawson, 9911 Brodie Lane, Suite 800, far south Austin, 2320 Hancock Drive, Rosedale, takeout orders can be placed online)

Sashimi

For the thinly sliced Japanese fish minus the rice, fine dining restaurant Uchi offers a nice array of various tuna, salmon, flounder, yellowtail, sea bream, and mackerel. For a more casual sashimi destination, go to Kome for a slightly wider range of options, including more tuna plus striped bass and octopus. (Uchi: 801 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker, takeout orders can be placed online; Kome: 5301 Airport Boulevard, North Loop)

Seafood Towers

There are few things more decadent and chilly than a seafood tower, and, luckily, there are two options over at seafood restaurant Shore Raw Bar & Grill. The smaller Bay Tower comes with oysters, ceviche, and chilled Gulf shrimp; the later Shore Tower adds Gulf oysters and crudo. (8665 Highway 71 West, Suite 100, Oak Hill, takeout orders can be placed online)

Tartare

One of the city’s best ground raw steak dishes can be found at wine restaurant Birdie’s, where the meat is studded with pecans and paired with a giant crispy carta di musical. Pair it with one of the colder wines on the list. (2944 East 12th Street, Chestnut)

Veggies

The tomato-zucchini salad at barbecue restaurant Interstellar BBQ is bright and zingy and refreshing. For something different, try the more interactive chilled artichoke at wine restaurant June’s, served with a dijon vinaigrette and eggy sauce gribiche. (Interstellar BBQ: 12233 Ranch Road 620 North, far northwest Austin; June’s: 1722 South Congress Avenue, Bouldin Creek)

Kismet Cafe

1000 East 41st Street, , TX 78751 (512) 236-1811 Visit Website

Noodle Alley

1201 North Bell Boulevard, , TX 78613 (512) 528-5127 Visit Website

Ceviche7

502 West 30th Street, , TX 78705 (512) 679-1694 Visit Website

Nixta Taqueria

2512 East 12th Street, , TX 78702 Visit Website

Dai Due

2406 Manor Road, , TX 78722 (512) 524-0688 Visit Website

Poke Poke

3100 S Congress Ave, Austin, Texas Visit Website

The Diner Bar [Austin]

501 Brazos Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Visit Website

SPREAD & CO.

1601 West 38th Street, , TX 78731 (512) 814-2002 Visit Website

Salt Traders Coastal Cooking

2850 North Interstate Highway 35, , TX 78681 (512) 351-9724 Visit Website

Interstellar BBQ

12233 Ranch Road 620 North, , TX 78750 (512) 382-6248 Visit Website

Kome [New Location]

5301 Airport Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78751 Visit Website

Abo Youssef

2101 Manor Road, , TX 78722 (512) 815-6804

Soup Peddler

2801 South Lamar Boulevard, , TX 78704 (512) 444-7687 Visit Website

Uchi [Austin]

801 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78704 Visit Website

TLV

, , TX 78701 (512) 608-4041 Visit Website

Xian Sushi and Noodle

1801 East 51st Street, , TX 78723 (512) 469-7878 Visit Website

Shore Raw Bar & Grill

State Highway 71, , TX 78735 (512) 618-6400 Visit Website

Simar Seafood Cocina

9503 Research Boulevard, Unit 400, Austin, Texas 78759 Visit Website

Birdie's

2944 East 12th Street, , TX 78702 Visit Website

Chef Hong

907 West 24th Street, , TX 78705 (678) 687-1167

June's

1722 South Congress Avenue, , TX 78704 (512) 416-1722 Visit Website

Lima Criolla

6406 North Interstate 35 Frontage Road, , TX 78752 (512) 323-5404 Visit Website

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