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A shrimp and rice dish.
A shrimp dish at Diner Bar Austin.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

The 20 Best Dishes Eater Austin Editors Ate in 2022, Mapped

The year’s favorite dishes, from Southern fare to pasta lunch

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A shrimp dish at Diner Bar Austin.
| Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Throughout the year, Eater Austin editors (aka Nadia Chaudhury and Erin Russell) share our favorite local restaurant dishes, giving us the opportunity to sing the praises of places we truly love. To make things easier for y’all, we put together this map highlighting the best of the best dishes we ate this year. There’s everything from Indonesian stews at food truck Yeni’s, fantastic pasta from Italian restaurant Asti, perfect cupcakes at Susie Cakes, Southern fare from Diner Bar, pasta lunch at Salt & Time, and much more.

Eater Austin is taking this final work week of the year to reminisce about Austin dining in 2022. This includes favorite spots, best meals, saddest closures, restaurant trends and grievances, anticipated 2023 restaurants, and more to come.

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

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Pedroso's Pizza

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Multiple people have recommended the Burnet Road pizza truck to me, so it had been on my mind when we were in the Wooten area after watching a movie at Regal Arbor [Ed. note: RIP]. We decided to pop into Night Owl for a post-film cocktail and order pizza to-go for dinner. The drinks were easy and lovely — I’m a fan of the Ramos Gin Fizz. As for the pizza, the New York-style pie topped with pepperoni and blobs of ricotta and shredded basil was delightfully delicious, with a great doughy crust. It’s my new favorite pizza joint. —Nadia Chaudhury

Bartlett's Restaurant

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American restaurant Bartlett’s is really fantastic, from the New York-ish vibes without being too cool or mega-fancy to the ridiculously great service to the amazing food and drinks. If available, the 100-hour marinated rib-eye is delightful: the tender steak is juicy and citrusy (thanks to the pineapple-sesame-ginger marinade). Then there’s the creamy garlic mashed potatoes and the superb mezcal sour. —NC

Yeni’s Fusion

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Stewy rice dishes are some of my favorite things in the world, and the Indonesian iteration at food truck Yeni’s Fusion is superb. The bubur ayam is made with creamy rice paired with tender shredded chicken, and fried shallots which had a nice textural jolt to the entire dish. Paired with the fried wontons that are plump and study and surprisingly chewy little food packets. —NC

épicerie café & grocery

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I was in search of French food and treats in Austin, and decided to place an order at Epicerie and wasn’t disappointed. The kouign-amann was delightful, balancing crispy and fluffy textures. Because the timing worked out, we lucked into ordering the galette des rois (French king’s cake) with a really nice strawberry-almond filling. My actual entree was the gnocchi Parisienne, consisting of lovely little gnocchi with a creamy sauce plus collard greens and crisper sunchokes —NC

Asti Trattoria

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After writing up the best Italian restaurants and best pasta in Austin, and after the restaurant’s well-deserved win at the Mac and Cheese Fest, I had a hankering to revisit Asti. If you haven’t been in a while, I highly recommend revisiting. My favorite was the trout served in a decadent almond sage butter with sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi, but the smoked salmon linguine was also a creamy and satisfying meal. It’s such a nice neighborhood spot. Erin Russell

Otherside Deli

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If The Bear has you craving a super beefy sandwich, look no further than Otherside Deli. The peppery cheesesteak is one of the best in town, with tender ribeye, melty cheese, and grilled onions and peppers on a French roll. Of course, all of their sandwiches are really home runs — don’t miss the ones with smoky pastrami. —ER

Posse East

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Goddamn, the cheeseburger at the sports bar is so amazingly good. The layering of cheese to patty to ripped-apart lettuce to tomato slice made for a sturdy and unmessy burger. The addition of cheese tots and a Lone Star made the meal complete, especially for a post-Deep Eddy Pool dip-and-general-lazing-about. [Ed. note: This was written over the summer.] —NC

We made our way to the coastal Mexican seafood restaurant from the talented team behind Suerte for an early weekday (we had no reservations, but walking in was relatively easy and there was no wait). Naturally, I had to get the trout a la pulla because, when multiple trustworthy recommend a very specific dish to you, you have to order it, right? And I wasn’t steered wrong, the seared fish was flaky and covered in this ridiculously amazing thick and creamy sesame pulla crema sauce that felt like a curry-ish-thing and topped with trout roe for an extra burst of flavor. I built my own tacos with house-made tortillas and basically dipped each bite into the sauce. Fantastic. Other gems were the tuna tiradito and guava-glazed apple tart. —NC

Cookie Rich

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I had a rough week, and one of the things that kept me going through it was knowing I had delicious treats from Cookie Rich in my fridge. The sweet, petite cookie sandwiches are a nice indulgence — chocolate chip with fudge icing is a comforting favorite, but I really loved the new seasonal flavors, pink chip with strawberry whip and a green cookie with Irish cream-tinged frosting. Everything about them — from the packaging to the velvety frosting — feels luxurious. —ER

Birdie's

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For my birthday this year, I didn’t want anything too fancy — just the kind of place where everybody knows your name, as it were. I ended up at Birdie’s for yet another wonderful meal. I loved the cantaloupe with ricotta, honey, black pepper, and tomatoes, and the fish in a chilled corn broth (with perfectly salty potatoes) was perfect for the ridiculous temperature outside [Ed. note: This was written over the summer.]. I ended with the soft serve with olive oil which is quickly becoming one of my favorite desserts in Austin. —ER

SusieCakes

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I volunteered to bring dessert when having dinner at a friend’s house, and SusieCakes cupcakes were the best possible choice. I’m not much of a cupcake person — scarred by too many office parties — but these were sweet and moist, with great buttercream and a surprise ganache center. They’d make a great crowd-pleaser for a party. —ER

QI Austin: Modern Asian Kitchen

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For a celebratory dinner, we went to modern Chinese restaurant Qi, which was a really good call. I forget how good chef Ling Qi Wu’s dumplings are, particularly the Shanghai soup dumplings and the succulent and decadent lobster dumplings. Good times should be acknowledged with great dumplings. —NC

Wu Chow

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I’m ashamed to admit it but I went to Wu Chow for the first time a few weeks ago — and for the second time the following day. I generally try to avoid downtown, but Wu Chow made it absolutely worth it — fantastic dumplings, chewy beef chow fun, mouth-numbing Sichuan deep-fried chicken, and great cocktails. My friend also loved his massive portion of two-faced crispy noodles, which were like a fun treasure hunt for the most delicious bites. One of my surprising favorites was the delicately flavored chicken with celery, which made for an excellent lunch the next day. —ER

Diner Bar Austin

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A friend and I treated ourselves to a nice dinner out at chef Mashama Bailey’s upscale-ish Southern restaurant Diner Bar within the Thompson Austin hotel. I waited for her at the bar with a lovely array of oysters and a very dirty martini that was just what I needed. For our proper dinner, we shared the fried ugali, an African staple dish consisting of ground cornmeal, paired with a mega-flavorful salsa macha, that was even better than boring old slices of bread. I also got the really succulent shrimp with Carolina gold rice, which was lovely, plus a side of the oh-so-creamy pureed potatoes (the leftovers of which served as my hangover-prevention meal much, much later that evening). I was very, very happy. —NC

Austin Rotisserie

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Because I was still in a French-ish mood, we picked up food from Fareground food hall stall Austin Rotisserie for lunch last weekend. The baguette sandwich was really good and simple and fulfilled my French craving. The poulet roti came with shredded roast chicken (making the sandwich sturdier), goat cheese, dijon, and vinaigrette, plus arugula for a nice bright slight-crunch. The side of roasted potatoes — whole spuds roasted in chicken drippings — was delightful with a magically creamy texture. —NC

La Santa Barbacha

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My love of barbacoa is well-documented on this site, so a trip to the South Congress neighborhood truck was a delight for me. [Ed. note: The truck relocated to East Austin since the original blurb was written.] So. Much. Barbacoa. The migas barbacoa was sublime; the chilaquiles robustly flavorful; the sope sturdy; the corn tortillas fantastic; and the strawberry-lemonade auga fresca hella refreshing. —NC

Salt & Time

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Don’t ask me why a butcher shop also makes some of the best pasta in Austin, but I guess it is proof of Salt & Time’s dedication to using the best ingredients in all things. I stopped in for lunch and got the bolognese, served on thick, al dente fettuccine and meaty ragù with the perfect combination of flavorful pork and hearty beef served over fresh ricotta. My lunch companion got a roast beef sandwich, which thankfully meant I got to steal some of the beef fat fries. For those wanting something lighter, I have had the grain bowl too which was fresh and satisfying. My visit was a great reminder of why Salt & Time is one of my favorite restaurants in Austin. —ER

Sunny's Backyard

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A week ago, I had a fried chicken sandwich at the vegan food trailer Sunny’s Backyard and I have not stopped thinking about it since. It’s double-battered and twice-fried “chicken” on a vegan brioche bun with pickles, aioli, and magic. It’s basically everything you want in a fried chicken sandwich — crunchy, filling, a little spicy — without any of the greasiness or immobilization that can sometimes follow. Sunny’s is overall a great place to hang out, with a nice patio and full bar, but the food puts it over the top. —ER

Justine's

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To take advantage of the nice weather before the current cold front came in, a friend and I met up at the East Side French restaurant for an alfresco dinner. We shared a bunch of dishes, and the best of the best was the duck breast. The oh-so-tender meat was doused in an orange gastrique and topped chestnuts, paired with even more tender carrots. Then there was the delightful dessert combo of a Paris-Brest with chocolate mousse, all rounded out with several glasses of French wine. The bungalow setup is nice, intimate enough to focus on good company, food, and drinks, but open enough to enjoy the weather. —NC

Bella Donna Subs

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G’s Dynamite Deli has been my go-to sandwich spot on our side of the river, but alas, it closed during the pandemic. And luckily, the Italian deli fits the bill exactly. It’s a no-frills restaurant, with a long list of hot and cold sandwiches. I got the Flying Turkey, a cold sub with nice chunks of avocado and spicy mustard. It works perfectly for an easy lunch, and they often have cookies for sale, this time, it was a wonderful red velvet one. which was perfect. —NC

Pedroso's Pizza

Multiple people have recommended the Burnet Road pizza truck to me, so it had been on my mind when we were in the Wooten area after watching a movie at Regal Arbor [Ed. note: RIP]. We decided to pop into Night Owl for a post-film cocktail and order pizza to-go for dinner. The drinks were easy and lovely — I’m a fan of the Ramos Gin Fizz. As for the pizza, the New York-style pie topped with pepperoni and blobs of ricotta and shredded basil was delightfully delicious, with a great doughy crust. It’s my new favorite pizza joint. —Nadia Chaudhury

Bartlett's Restaurant

American restaurant Bartlett’s is really fantastic, from the New York-ish vibes without being too cool or mega-fancy to the ridiculously great service to the amazing food and drinks. If available, the 100-hour marinated rib-eye is delightful: the tender steak is juicy and citrusy (thanks to the pineapple-sesame-ginger marinade). Then there’s the creamy garlic mashed potatoes and the superb mezcal sour. —NC

Yeni’s Fusion

Stewy rice dishes are some of my favorite things in the world, and the Indonesian iteration at food truck Yeni’s Fusion is superb. The bubur ayam is made with creamy rice paired with tender shredded chicken, and fried shallots which had a nice textural jolt to the entire dish. Paired with the fried wontons that are plump and study and surprisingly chewy little food packets. —NC

épicerie café & grocery

I was in search of French food and treats in Austin, and decided to place an order at Epicerie and wasn’t disappointed. The kouign-amann was delightful, balancing crispy and fluffy textures. Because the timing worked out, we lucked into ordering the galette des rois (French king’s cake) with a really nice strawberry-almond filling. My actual entree was the gnocchi Parisienne, consisting of lovely little gnocchi with a creamy sauce plus collard greens and crisper sunchokes —NC

Asti Trattoria

After writing up the best Italian restaurants and best pasta in Austin, and after the restaurant’s well-deserved win at the Mac and Cheese Fest, I had a hankering to revisit Asti. If you haven’t been in a while, I highly recommend revisiting. My favorite was the trout served in a decadent almond sage butter with sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi, but the smoked salmon linguine was also a creamy and satisfying meal. It’s such a nice neighborhood spot. Erin Russell

Otherside Deli

If The Bear has you craving a super beefy sandwich, look no further than Otherside Deli. The peppery cheesesteak is one of the best in town, with tender ribeye, melty cheese, and grilled onions and peppers on a French roll. Of course, all of their sandwiches are really home runs — don’t miss the ones with smoky pastrami. —ER

Posse East

Goddamn, the cheeseburger at the sports bar is so amazingly good. The layering of cheese to patty to ripped-apart lettuce to tomato slice made for a sturdy and unmessy burger. The addition of cheese tots and a Lone Star made the meal complete, especially for a post-Deep Eddy Pool dip-and-general-lazing-about. [Ed. note: This was written over the summer.] —NC

Este

We made our way to the coastal Mexican seafood restaurant from the talented team behind Suerte for an early weekday (we had no reservations, but walking in was relatively easy and there was no wait). Naturally, I had to get the trout a la pulla because, when multiple trustworthy recommend a very specific dish to you, you have to order it, right? And I wasn’t steered wrong, the seared fish was flaky and covered in this ridiculously amazing thick and creamy sesame pulla crema sauce that felt like a curry-ish-thing and topped with trout roe for an extra burst of flavor. I built my own tacos with house-made tortillas and basically dipped each bite into the sauce. Fantastic. Other gems were the tuna tiradito and guava-glazed apple tart. —NC

Cookie Rich

I had a rough week, and one of the things that kept me going through it was knowing I had delicious treats from Cookie Rich in my fridge. The sweet, petite cookie sandwiches are a nice indulgence — chocolate chip with fudge icing is a comforting favorite, but I really loved the new seasonal flavors, pink chip with strawberry whip and a green cookie with Irish cream-tinged frosting. Everything about them — from the packaging to the velvety frosting — feels luxurious. —ER

Birdie's

For my birthday this year, I didn’t want anything too fancy — just the kind of place where everybody knows your name, as it were. I ended up at Birdie’s for yet another wonderful meal. I loved the cantaloupe with ricotta, honey, black pepper, and tomatoes, and the fish in a chilled corn broth (with perfectly salty potatoes) was perfect for the ridiculous temperature outside [Ed. note: This was written over the summer.]. I ended with the soft serve with olive oil which is quickly becoming one of my favorite desserts in Austin. —ER

SusieCakes

I volunteered to bring dessert when having dinner at a friend’s house, and SusieCakes cupcakes were the best possible choice. I’m not much of a cupcake person — scarred by too many office parties — but these were sweet and moist, with great buttercream and a surprise ganache center. They’d make a great crowd-pleaser for a party. —ER

QI Austin: Modern Asian Kitchen

For a celebratory dinner, we went to modern Chinese restaurant Qi, which was a really good call. I forget how good chef Ling Qi Wu’s dumplings are, particularly the Shanghai soup dumplings and the succulent and decadent lobster dumplings. Good times should be acknowledged with great dumplings. —NC

Wu Chow

I’m ashamed to admit it but I went to Wu Chow for the first time a few weeks ago — and for the second time the following day. I generally try to avoid downtown, but Wu Chow made it absolutely worth it — fantastic dumplings, chewy beef chow fun, mouth-numbing Sichuan deep-fried chicken, and great cocktails. My friend also loved his massive portion of two-faced crispy noodles, which were like a fun treasure hunt for the most delicious bites. One of my surprising favorites was the delicately flavored chicken with celery, which made for an excellent lunch the next day. —ER

Diner Bar Austin

A friend and I treated ourselves to a nice dinner out at chef Mashama Bailey’s upscale-ish Southern restaurant Diner Bar within the Thompson Austin hotel. I waited for her at the bar with a lovely array of oysters and a very dirty martini that was just what I needed. For our proper dinner, we shared the fried ugali, an African staple dish consisting of ground cornmeal, paired with a mega-flavorful salsa macha, that was even better than boring old slices of bread. I also got the really succulent shrimp with Carolina gold rice, which was lovely, plus a side of the oh-so-creamy pureed potatoes (the leftovers of which served as my hangover-prevention meal much, much later that evening). I was very, very happy. —NC

Austin Rotisserie

Because I was still in a French-ish mood, we picked up food from Fareground food hall stall Austin Rotisserie for lunch last weekend. The baguette sandwich was really good and simple and fulfilled my French craving. The poulet roti came with shredded roast chicken (making the sandwich sturdier), goat cheese, dijon, and vinaigrette, plus arugula for a nice bright slight-crunch. The side of roasted potatoes — whole spuds roasted in chicken drippings — was delightful with a magically creamy texture. —NC

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La Santa Barbacha

My love of barbacoa is well-documented on this site, so a trip to the South Congress neighborhood truck was a delight for me. [Ed. note: The truck relocated to East Austin since the original blurb was written.] So. Much. Barbacoa. The migas barbacoa was sublime; the chilaquiles robustly flavorful; the sope sturdy; the corn tortillas fantastic; and the strawberry-lemonade auga fresca hella refreshing. —NC

Salt & Time

Don’t ask me why a butcher shop also makes some of the best pasta in Austin, but I guess it is proof of Salt & Time’s dedication to using the best ingredients in all things. I stopped in for lunch and got the bolognese, served on thick, al dente fettuccine and meaty ragù with the perfect combination of flavorful pork and hearty beef served over fresh ricotta. My lunch companion got a roast beef sandwich, which thankfully meant I got to steal some of the beef fat fries. For those wanting something lighter, I have had the grain bowl too which was fresh and satisfying. My visit was a great reminder of why Salt & Time is one of my favorite restaurants in Austin. —ER

Sunny's Backyard

A week ago, I had a fried chicken sandwich at the vegan food trailer Sunny’s Backyard and I have not stopped thinking about it since. It’s double-battered and twice-fried “chicken” on a vegan brioche bun with pickles, aioli, and magic. It’s basically everything you want in a fried chicken sandwich — crunchy, filling, a little spicy — without any of the greasiness or immobilization that can sometimes follow. Sunny’s is overall a great place to hang out, with a nice patio and full bar, but the food puts it over the top. —ER

Justine's

To take advantage of the nice weather before the current cold front came in, a friend and I met up at the East Side French restaurant for an alfresco dinner. We shared a bunch of dishes, and the best of the best was the duck breast. The oh-so-tender meat was doused in an orange gastrique and topped chestnuts, paired with even more tender carrots. Then there was the delightful dessert combo of a Paris-Brest with chocolate mousse, all rounded out with several glasses of French wine. The bungalow setup is nice, intimate enough to focus on good company, food, and drinks, but open enough to enjoy the weather. —NC

Bella Donna Subs

G’s Dynamite Deli has been my go-to sandwich spot on our side of the river, but alas, it closed during the pandemic. And luckily, the Italian deli fits the bill exactly. It’s a no-frills restaurant, with a long list of hot and cold sandwiches. I got the Flying Turkey, a cold sub with nice chunks of avocado and spicy mustard. It works perfectly for an easy lunch, and they often have cookies for sale, this time, it was a wonderful red velvet one. which was perfect. —NC

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