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Ribs from Kemuri Tatsu-ya
Ribs from Kemuri Tatsu-ya
Jane Yun

The 38 Essential Restaurants in Austin

A guide to the city's defining restaurants spanning all cuisines, neighborhoods, and price ranges

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Ribs from Kemuri Tatsu-ya
| Jane Yun

Austin’s Eater 38 aims to answer any question that began, “Can you recommend a restaurant...?” This curated group covers the entire city, spans numerous cuisines and budgets, and collectively satisfies everyone’s restaurant needs, from taco trucks to finer dining spots. These are the restaurants and food trucks — which have gone through so much — that all truly define Austin.

Every quarter, Eater Austin adds pertinent restaurants that were overlooked, have become newly eligible (open for at least six months), or have revamped their game, all to keep the list inclusive and reflective of the Texas city.

This summer 2021 update brings back Texas-Japanese izakaya Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Italian restaurant L’Oca d’Oro, omakase spot Otoko, and marketplace restaurant Quality Seafood. This round means we’re saying farewell to Ramen Tatsu-ya (swapped out for its newer sibling restaurant), Tso Chinese Delivery, Uchi, and Banger’s.

Pay respects to the running list of retirees over at the Eater 38 archive. For other Austin picks, check out the heatmap, a collection of the city’s hot new dining options.

As with all businesses, be sure to call ahead to make sure each restaurant is still open or if there are updates on current offerings and service models, as things are changing constantly. Wear a mask, tip well, and if you’re ordering delivery, try to order directly from the restaurants themselves.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Slab BBQ & Beer

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9012 Research Blvd C4
Austin, TX 78758
(512) 351-9977
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Robust barbecue sandwiches can be found at this casual restaurant from owner Raf Robinson. The substantial offerings range from the Notorious P.I.G., with pulled pork and mustard slaw, to the over-the-top B.C.B.C., packed with brisket and chicken breast. It’s a place where the bright smoky barbecue sauces are crucial ingredients of the smoked meats sandwiches. Outside the sandwich realm, there are pork ribs, barbecue rice bowls, nachos, and all sorts of sides (like brisket-studded mac and cheese). Pickup orders for both locations (the other in Oak Hill) can be placed online, there are third-party deliveries available (Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Favor), and the restaurants have reopened for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

The Texas Two Step sandwich at Slab BBQ
The Texas Two Step sandwich at Slab BBQ
Slab BBQ/Facebook

2. Seoulju Korean Kitchen and Bar

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9515 N Lamar Blvd Suite 230
Austin, TX 78753
(512) 382-1858
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For truly wonderful Korean food in Austin, look no further than this fun North Lamar restaurant from owner John Lee and his mother, chef Sang Mi Kang. The menu honors the staples, from crispy marinated Korean fried chicken to beef bulgogi rice plates to kimchi pancakes. But don’t miss the hot pots especially the lovely and loaded spicy rice cake hot pot — and, yes, go ahead and add that slice of cheese. Pickup orders can be placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and patio dine-in services (reservations are required for groups of seven or more people).

The stir-fried pork belly and octopus with noodles at Seoulju
The stir-fried pork belly and octopus with noodles at Seoulju
Seoulju/Facebook

3. Julie's Noodles

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8557 Research Blvd #110
Austin, TX 78758
(512) 394-6967
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The Chinese food truck-turned North Austin restaurant from Julie Hong boasts wonderful, thick, chewy noodles. The noodle soups are salves during colder days or just when you need a hot pick-me-up (the stewed options — especially the lamb — are particularly great). For the perfect meal, round off the order with some of the best soup dumplings in town. Pickup orders can be placed online, the restaurant reopened for indoor dine-in service.

Noodle soup from Julie’s Noodles
A noodle soup from Julie’s Noodles
Julie’s Noodles/Facebook

4. Bufalina Due

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6555 Burnet Rd #100
Austin, TX 78757
(512) 215-8662
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Owner Steven Dilley and the pizzeria team are still impressing diners at Bufalina’s Brentwood counterpart. The skillfully executed Neapolitan pies are simple and lovely, like the classic margherita and specials such as the anchovy/nduja and weekend-only Sicilians, alongside well-constructed burrata and Caesar salads. Wine nerds will dig the special and affordable bottles as well, curated by wine director Rania Zayyat. Pickup orders are placed online, and the restaurant has reopened for indoor and patio dine-in services.

A pie from Bufalina
A pie from Bufalina
Bufalina/Facebook

5. The Peached Tortilla

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5520 Burnet Rd #100
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 330-4439
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It’s a tried-and-true Austin story: the Southern-Asian food truck became so popular that owner Eric Silverstein was able to open a slightly more upscale restaurant version in Allandale. That’s where he dishes out an expanded menu full of comfort food items that pull from his background. There’s the kimchi arancini balls; the comforting Hainan chicken; plus an array of tacos, salads, and bowls of noodles and rice. Pickup and delivery orders are placed online, and the restaurant has reopened for indoor and patio dine-in services.

A brunch dish from Peached Tortilla
A brunch dish from Peached Tortilla
Peached Tortilla/Facebook

6. Quality Seafood Market

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5621 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 452-3820
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The oh-so-longtime North Loop marketplace, under owner Carol Huntsberger, makes use of its fresh seafood supply for its counter-service restaurant. The menu boasts fresh oysters, shrimp cocktails, grilled or blackened fish, and po’ boys stuffed with fried seafood. The blackboard highlight catches of the day for one-off specials. Pickup orders are placed online or over the phone, and the restaurant is open for indoor dine-in service.

The salmon plate at Quality Seafood
The salmon plate at Quality Seafood
Quality Seafood/Facebook

7. Foreign & Domestic

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306 E 53rd St
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 459-1010
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Co-owners and chefs Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley are still knocking it out of the park at the North Loop restaurant with their fresh energy and ideas. The New American menu remains familiar but spruced up, with soothing dishes like leek risotto and venison tartare. Adventurous eaters should seek out the offal dishes. The neighborhood restaurant works well for easy meals as well as for special occasions. Pickup and DoorDash deliveries are placed online, and the restaurant has reopened for indoor and patio dine-in services.

A dish from Foreign & Domestic
A dish from Foreign & Domestic
Foreign & Domestic/Facebook

8. Komé

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5301 Airport Blvd #100
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 712-5700
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Co-owners Take and Kayo Asazu turned their popular but now-defunct sushi trailer Sushi A-Go-Go into a full-blown restaurant, offering their take on homestyle Japanese fare in the laid-back North Loop spot. Along with impeccable sushi and affordable rolls, there are bentos for those seeking a little bit of everything, loaded donburi bowls (the hokkaidon is a richly indulgent one with salmon sashimi, ikura, scallops; add the uni if available). Curbside pickup orders are placed online.

Nigiri from Kome
Nigiri from Kome
Kome/Facebook

9. JewBoy Burgers

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5111 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 291-3358
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El Paso native Mo Pittle honors his Jewish and Texas border city upbringing with his food truck-turned-restaurant in the North Loop neighborhood. The unkosher diner menu centers on burgers and burritos, filled with beef, cheese, hatch green chiles, as well as latkes. There are chili dogs, and queso too, among other sides. Pickup orders can be placed online. The restaurant is open with indoor and patio dine-in services.

A burger at JewBoy Burgers
A burger at JewBoy Burgers
JewBoy Burgers/Facebook

10. Via 313

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3016 Guadalupe St #100
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 358-6193
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Detroit-style pizza in Austin? Hell yes. Brothers Brandon and Zane Hunt make some of the best pies in town, found at their restaurants and trucks. The hefty crusts serve as the foundation for melty cheese, then sauce, and then a variety of toppings. Choice selections include the Omnivore with both meat and vegetables; or the sweeter Cadillac made with fig preserves. Pickup orders are placed online; the three physical restaurants — Oak Hill, North Campus, and East Sixth — have reopened for indoor and outdoor dine-in services, and the trucks’ host bars — Alibi on Rainey and Star Bar on West Sixth — have reopened for indoor and outdoor on-site services.

Pizza from Via 313
Pizza from Via 313
Via 313 [Official]

11. L'Oca d'Oro

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1900 Simond Ave
Austin, TX 78723
(737) 212-1876
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Under co-owner and chef Fiore Tedesco, the Mueller Italian restaurant serves up a thoughtful menu full of house-made pasta and well-prepared vegetables. Likewise, co-owner and general manager Adam Orman has been championing the rights and well-being of restaurant workers for some time, and especially during the pandemic. Pickup orders are placed online; the restaurant is open for outdoor dine-in service only.

A dish from L’Oca d’Oro
A dish from L’Oca d’Oro
L’Oca d’Oro/Facebook

12. Hoover's Cooking

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2002 Manor Rd
Austin, TX 78722
(512) 479-5006
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Owner and chef Hoover Alexander has been bringing a good ol’ mix of Southern soul fare to Cherrywood for over 20 years with his homey restaurant. The menu highlights classic dishes done extremely well, from the chicken fried steak to the fried chicken to any of the sweet pies. Pickup orders can be placed online or over the phone, there are third-party deliveries (DoorDash, Favor), and the restaurant has reopened for dine-in service.

Dishes from Hoover’s Cooking
Dishes from Hoover’s Cooking
Hoover’s Cooking/Facebook

13. Patrizi's

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2307 Manor Rd
Austin, TX 78722
(512) 522-4834
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The fun Cherrywood Italian food truck whips up some of the freshest pasta in Austin from owners Nic and Matt Patrizi. There are classic pasta dishes, like cacio e pepe, pomodoro, and the Great Leopold (made with basil and arugula pesto served with pumpkin seeds and crushed red chilis). Not ordering a side of meatballs would be a mistake. Pickup orders can be placed online, and the truck and host spot the Butterfly Bar are open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Pastas from Patrizi’s
Pastas from Patrizi’s
Patrizi’s/Facebook

14. Nixta Taqueria

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2512 E 12th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 551-3855
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The little funky taqueria, from co-owners chef Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi, has quickly become a taco darling for good reason. Rico works magic into every single one of the East Austin spot’s new-school tacos and tostadas. While the meatier items are great, the vegetable ones really showcase his inventive skills: the beet tartare is a pure work of art. The multiple patios are fun and it’s worth exploring the natural wine list. Curbside pickup orders are placed online, and the restaurant has reopened for patio dine-in service.

The beet tartare tostada from Nixta Taqueria
The beet tartare tostada from Nixta Taqueria
Robert Jacob Lerma/EATX

15. Better Half Coffee & Cocktails

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406 Walsh St
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 645-0786
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Eater Austin’s restaurant of the year in 2018 brings all-day vibes to West Fifth Street from co-owners Matt and Grady Wright and Matthew Bolick. It’s all found in a space that feels appropriately Austin (large patio, great coffee, and excellent beer lineups). Chef Rich Reimbolt’s menu is full of laidback dishes with nice touches, like breakfast sandwiches layered hash brown patties or the iconic cauliflower tater tots. Executive pastry chef Lindsay O’Rourke’s desserts are wonderful too, ranging from burnt cheesecake slices paired with sweetly tart preserves to savory danishes. Curbside pickup orders are placed online, and the restaurant has reopened for indoor and patio dine-in services.

Food and coffee at Better Half
Food and coffee at Better Half
Courtney Pierce/EATX

16. Franklin Barbecue

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900 E 11th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 653-1187
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Pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s smoky meats have risen from humble trailer origins to become one of the country’s most talked-about barbecue destinations. Since the Central East Austin restaurant’s famously long line can’t happen during these socially distanced times, the restaurant quickly switched to curbside pickup service. It’s now easier to obtain the wonderful barbecue — including that perfect brisket — along with great ribs, turkey, and sausages. Advanced curbside pickups can be placed online.

Franklin Barbecue
Franklin Barbecue
Franklin Barbecue [Official]

17. Buenos Aires Cafe, Este

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1201 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 382-1189
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It’s all about Argentina at the fun and low-key east side restaurant from owner and chef Paola Guerrero-Smith. Meat is the centerpiece — grilled steaks, short ribs, and chicken — along with other South American specialties, such as empanadas and the beefy lomito sandwich. Make liberal use of the chimichurri sauce. Pickup orders are placed online, and the restaurant has reopened for dine-in service.

The Milanesa a la napolitana at Buenos Aires
The Milanesa a la napolitana at Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, Este/Facebook

18. Veracruz All Natural

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2505 Webberville Rd
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 981-1760
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Essential food truck Veracruz All Natural, helmed by sisters Reyna and Maritza Vazquez, serves up the best tacos in the city, served on handmade corn and flour tortillas with fresh salsas. It’s not a real order without the migas taco and an agua fresca. Pickup and delivery orders are placed online or in person for all six of its locations. All locations feature outdoor seating; The Webberville, Mueller, and Tarrytown trucks feature outdoor seating, and the Line Hotel location has reopened its dining room.

The migas taco from Veracruz
The migas taco from Veracruz
Veracruz All Natural/Facebook

19. Salt & Time

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1912 E 7th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 524-1383
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From co-owners Ben Runkle and Bryan Butler, the East Austin butcher shop with a focus on responsibly-raised meats also contains a great New American restaurant. Dinner is one of Austin’s terrific deals for high-quality charcuterie and steak, the lunchtime offerings include lots of meaty sandwiches, and the wine list is top-notch. Pickup orders are placed online, and there are deliveries through third-party company Caviar. The restaurant has reopened its patio for dine-in service.

A meat board from Salt & Time Cafe
A meat board from Salt & Time
Salt & Time/Facebook

20. Suerte

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1800 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 953-0092
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The East Austin upscale Mexican restaurant’s executive chef Fermín Núñez is obsessed with masa, and it shows. On deck daily are freshly made tortillas used in all sorts of ways, from luscious quesadillas and crispy tostadas to the mega-popular suadero tacos with juicy confit brisket. The restaurant has reopened for indoor and patio dine-in services.

A suadero taco from Suerte
A suadero taco from Suerte
Suerte [Official]

21. La Barbecue

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401 E Cesar Chavez St
Austin, TX 78701

The city boasts an embarrassment of world-class smoky meats, and this East Austin spot (which recently relocated) gives Franklin a run for its money. After all, the barbecue joint is from LeAnn Mueller of the legendary Texas barbecue family. Go for the brisket and sausages and any of the fun sandwiches. Be sure to order the superb shells and cheese with smoked vegetables and a little spicy kick. Pickup orders are placed online; there is in-person ordering; the restaurant offers indoor and patio seating areas.

Barbecue from La Barbecue
Barbecue from La Barbecue
La Barbecue/Facebook

22. Tamale House East

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1707 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 495-9504
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The spirit of the long-gone Austin institution Tamale House lives on with the colorful east side restaurant, which is run by the fourth generation of the Vasquez family led by Diane Valera. The migas are plentiful and tamales are abundant (the chicken one is a good bet). The patio is lush, and yes, there are cocktails and beer. Pickup orders can be placed online and the restaurant has reopened for patio dine-in service.

A dish from Tamale House East
A dish from Tamale House East
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

23. Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop

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2305 E 7th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 472-0017
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The historic Mexican bakery serves as a two-fold pillar to the East Austin community, founded in 1962 by Joe and Paula Avila, and now run by the next two generations of the family spearheaded by Regina Estrada. First, there’s the quite exceptional daytime menu, from the wonderfully tender and juicy barbacoa breakfast to the migas to the lunch tacos. Then there is its community service: Estrada is an advocate to and for East Austin, from making sure people are informed of what’s going on to straight-up registering people to vote. Pickup orders can be placed over the phone or in person, the restaurant reopened for indoor dine-in service.

Chicken enchiladas, crispy beef taco, rice, and beans from Joe’s
Chicken enchiladas, crispy beef taco, rice, and beans from Joe’s
Deana Saukam

24. Emmer & Rye

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SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St #110
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 366-5530
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From the grain-obsessed mind of James Beard Award finalist, executive chef, and co-owner Kevin Fink comes the finer-dining New American restaurant in downtown Austin, right on the edge of Rainey Street’s bar-packed district. The menu focuses on all things local with high-end dressings, from roasted beets to wagyu steak. Of special note are the pastas (cacio e pepe) and knockout desserts from executive pastry chef and co-owner Tavel Bristol-Joseph, such as the white Sonora sponge topped with grapes and koji cream. Pickup orders can be placed online, and the restaurant has reopened for indoor and patio services.

Emmer & Rye’s cacio e pepe
Emmer & Rye’s cacio e pepe
Emmer & Rye/Facebook

25. Odd Duck

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1201 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 433-6521
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Through the relaxed Zilker restaurant, chef and partner Bryce Gilmore and the rest of the team embrace Texas-forever vibes through the New American menu. There are magnificent dishes (fried quail paired with creamed corn and peaches) and on-point desserts (lime panna cotta or lemon pound cake with blueberry sorbet). The restaurant has reopened for indoor and patio dine-in services.

Dishes from Odd Duck
Dishes from Odd Duck
Odd Duck/Facebook

26. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

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2713 E 2nd St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 803-2224
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Texas meets Japan with the Lone Star-influenced izakaya in Holly from the team behind the city’s best noodle shop Ramen Tatsu-ya. The lively Eater Austin restaurant of 2017 is full of fun dishes, like tofu hot pockets stuffed brisket. Elsewhere the menu spans yakitori, smoked meats (the sharable fish collar is a must-order), and the funky chinmi section with items like the jellyfish menudo salad. The restaurant is open for indoor and patio dine-in services.

The chicken meatball yakitori at Kemuri
The chicken meatball yakitori at Kemuri
Jane Yun

27. Otoko

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1603 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 994-0428
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For a really special evening night, opt for the high-end omakase at the South Congress Hotel’s hidden Japanese restaurant. It’s where chef Yoshi Okai puts on a delicious magic show in the 12-seat restaurant, slicing and dicing and presenting 20 or so courses full of Tokyo-style sushi and Kyoto-style kaiseki right in front of everyone’s eyes. Reservations are required for the $175 indoor seatings.

Hokkaido uni at Otoko
Hokkaido uni at Otoko
Otoko/Facebook

28. Bouldin Creek Cafe

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1900 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 416-1601
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Beloved by denizens of the 78704 and beyond, the Bouldin Creek cafe from owner Leslie Martin offers a diverse menu of vegetarian fare, locally roasted coffee, and a taste of old-school Austin. The vegetable sandwiches are legitimately delicious, as is the tofu scramble. Curbside pickup and Door Dash delivery orders are placed online.

A breakfast sandwich from Bouldin Creek Cafe
A breakfast sandwich from Bouldin Creek Cafe
Bouldin Creek Cafe/Facebook

29. El Naranjo

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2717 S Lamar Blvd STE 1085
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 520-5750
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The finer-dining Mexican restaurant in the South Lamar neighborhood delivers the best taste of interior Mexico in Austin, thanks to James Beard Award semifinalist chef and co-owner Iliana de la Vega, who hails from that region of Mexico. The menu focuses on Oaxacan fare — where de la Vega is from — like rich moles and hearty cochinita pibil. Pickup orders can be placed online, and the restaurant has reopened for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

The cochinita pibil at El Naranjo
The cochinita pibil at El Naranjo
El Naranjo/Facebook

30. Jack Allen's Kitchen

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7720 TX-71
Austin, TX 78735
(512) 852-8558
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Great, reliable, locally sourced food from a mid-century building, chef and owner Jack Gilmore’s Oak Hill restaurant is the suburban restaurant of your dreams. Hunker down with chicken-fried anything and good ol’ pimento cheese, plus decadent desserts from pastry chef Diana Sanchez (think blondie pies and chocolate tortes). Curbside pickups for all four locations (the others in 360, Round Rock, and West Anderson Lane) can be placed online, and the restaurants have reopened for dine-in services.

A dish from Jack Allen’s Kitchen
A dish from Jack Allen’s Kitchen
Jack Allen’s Kitchen/Facebook

31. Dee Dee

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4204 Manchaca Rd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 394-7844
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Chef Lakana Trubiana cooks up a small but mighty Thai menu from the South Lamar neighborhood truck. The flavorful Isaan-style dishes (rooted in the northern region of Thailand) range from the comforting om gai to the very spicy laab moo. When in season, the mango sticky rice is worth it. Pickup orders have to be placed online, and host site Radio Coffee has reopened for patio dine-in service.

The laab moo at Dee Dee
The laab moo at Dee Dee
Dee Dee [Official]

32. Sichuan River

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4534 West Gate Blvd
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 892-6699
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Austin’s best bet for Sichuan food is found in the no-frills South Austin restaurant off West Gate, from owner Cindy Zhao. Bypass the Chinese-American selection for good, fiery dishes like the mapo tofu, spicy jumping fish, and exemplary spicy stir-fried chicken. Takeout orders can be placed online or over the phone. The restaurant has reopened for dine-in service.

33. La Tunita 512

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2400 Burleson Rd
Austin, TX 78741
(512) 679-0708
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The ideal beef birria can be found at the Parker Lane truck, run by Gerardo Guerrero. The move is to order the stewed beef tacos (topped with onions and cilantro) and the consomé, and then dip said taco into the beefy broth for the ideal bite. If you’re ready for something more, opt for the quesotaco, where the tortilla is griddled with Monterey Jack cheese for an oozier experience. Pickup orders can be placed online or in person, and there are two tables for on-site service.

The birria taco and consomé at La Tunita 512
The birria taco and consomé at La Tunita 512
La Tunita 512/Facebook

34. Taste of Ethiopia II

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3801 S Congress Ave #107
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 814-3141
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The notable Pflugerville Ethiopian restaurant expanded into the St. Edwards neighborhood by owner Woinee Mariam. There’s a stellar array of East African dishes, including stews, spiced meats (the chicken-based doro wot is particularly outstanding), and simmered vegetables, all served with injera, a round spongy bread. Go for the sampler and wash the meal down with some honey wine. Takeout orders can be placed over the phone, and the restaurant has reopened for dine-in service.

35. Evangeline Cafe

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8106 Brodie Ln
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 282-2586
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Choice Cajun fare can be found at this far southwest restaurant from owner and chef Curtis Clarke with festive breezy vibes. It’s a bonafide feast with chicken fried gator, hearty seafood gumbo, and plenty of catfish and crawfish dishes. Takeout orders can be placed over the phone, and the dining room has reopened.

Food from Evangeline Cafe
Food from Evangeline Cafe
Evangeline Cafe/Facebook

36. Crema Bakery & Cafe

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9001 Brodie Ln b3
Austin, TX 78748
(512) 282-1300
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The southwest Austin restaurant, from co-owners and spouses Jessica Forkner Tomberlin and Janessa Tomberlin, is the place for well-constructed cafe fare. Think baked goods and desserts (the cakes are heavenly) and solid sandwiches (can’t go wrong with the chicken salad on a croissant). Pickup and curbside orders can be placed online or in person, there are Favor deliveries, and the restaurant has reopened for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A tart from Crema
A tart from Crema
Crema/Facebook

37. Asiana Indian Cuisine

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801 E William Cannon Dr #205
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 445-3435
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For outstanding South Asian food, head down to the far south Austin Indian restaurant from co-owners Pandiyan Kaliyamoorthy and Loganathan Appavu, found near William Cannon Drive and I-35. Dive right into the plethora of spicy curries (the lamb korma is nice), naan, and giant dosas (the potato-and-onion-stuffed masala is a good pick). Pickup orders can be placed over the phone or in person.

38. Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

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11500 Manchaca Rd
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 221-4248
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Pitmaster Miguel Vidal melds the best of what Austin has to offer — smoked meats and tacos — down in the far south region. Head to the trailer for barbecue, tacos, and sandwiches, along with changing specials like burgers, pastrami, and more. Mornings are dedicated to excellent breakfast tacos, especially the Real Deal Holyfield, with a fried egg, refried beans, and opt for the giant sliced brisket. Curbside pickup orders can be made online, and the truck has reopened for dine-in service.

Breakfast tacos from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Nick Solares/E

1. Slab BBQ & Beer

9012 Research Blvd C4, Austin, TX 78758
The Texas Two Step sandwich at Slab BBQ
The Texas Two Step sandwich at Slab BBQ
Slab BBQ/Facebook

Robust barbecue sandwiches can be found at this casual restaurant from owner Raf Robinson. The substantial offerings range from the Notorious P.I.G., with pulled pork and mustard slaw, to the over-the-top B.C.B.C., packed with brisket and chicken breast. It’s a place where the bright smoky barbecue sauces are crucial ingredients of the smoked meats sandwiches. Outside the sandwich realm, there are pork ribs, barbecue rice bowls, nachos, and all sorts of sides (like brisket-studded mac and cheese). Pickup orders for both locations (the other in Oak Hill) can be placed online, there are third-party deliveries available (Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Favor), and the restaurants have reopened for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

9012 Research Blvd C4
Austin, TX 78758

2. Seoulju Korean Kitchen and Bar

9515 N Lamar Blvd Suite 230, Austin, TX 78753
The stir-fried pork belly and octopus with noodles at Seoulju
The stir-fried pork belly and octopus with noodles at Seoulju
Seoulju/Facebook

For truly wonderful Korean food in Austin, look no further than this fun North Lamar restaurant from owner John Lee and his mother, chef Sang Mi Kang. The menu honors the staples, from crispy marinated Korean fried chicken to beef bulgogi rice plates to kimchi pancakes. But don’t miss the hot pots especially the lovely and loaded spicy rice cake hot pot — and, yes, go ahead and add that slice of cheese. Pickup orders can be placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and patio dine-in services (reservations are required for groups of seven or more people).

9515 N Lamar Blvd Suite 230
Austin, TX 78753

3. Julie's Noodles

8557 Research Blvd #110, Austin, TX 78758
Noodle soup from Julie’s Noodles
A noodle soup from Julie’s Noodles
Julie’s Noodles/Facebook

The Chinese food truck-turned North Austin restaurant from Julie Hong boasts wonderful, thick, chewy noodles. The noodle soups are salves during colder days or just when you need a hot pick-me-up (the stewed options — especially the lamb — are particularly great). For the perfect meal, round off the order with some of the best soup dumplings in town. Pickup orders can be placed online, the restaurant reopened for indoor dine-in service.

8557 Research Blvd #110
Austin, TX 78758

4. Bufalina Due

6555 Burnet Rd #100, Austin, TX 78757