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Chickpeas in brown sauce on a bed of crunchy fried bread.
Doubles from Shirley’s Trini Cuisine.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

The 23 Best Dishes Eater Austin Editors Ate in 2021, Mapped

The year’s best dishes, from Trinidadian doubles to carne asada tacos to creamy paitan ramen to pasta

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Doubles from Shirley’s Trini Cuisine.
| Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Every week, the Eater Austin editors share our favorite restaurant dishes on the website, the takeout edition from the first half of the year, and then the combination takeout/dine-in version for the second half. We decided to share the best of the best with this handy map, highlighting everything from Trinidadian doubles at food truck Shirley’s to carne asada tacos at food truck Con Todo to creamy paitan ramen at Sazan Ramen to pasta at Birdie’s.

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

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.

Lali Son: Nepalese & Indian Food

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To celebrate a recent birthday, we took the time to drive up to Leander to grab takeout from the gas station restaurant based on the recommendation of a trusted friend. Our entire spread was magnificent. The steamed chicken momos were so plump and nicely spiced (I do love dumplings a lot); the cauliflower in the Gobi 65 was sturdy; and the chicken kadai was the ideal brothy entree. —Nadia Chaudhury

Momos from Lali Son Fast Food
Momos from Lali Son Fast Food
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Twin Panda

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I wanted to try a new-to-me restaurant so we decided to trek up to Twin Panda, north of Jollyville. The Chinese and Chinese-American fare selection is strong — the orange chicken is great, as was the egg drop soup and crab puffs. But I was particularly taken with the spectacular Indonesian section. I ordered the beef kwetiau, a wonderfully flavorful stir-fried noodle dish made with sweet soy sauce and big chunks of scrambled eggs. I loved it so much and I was thankful for the leftovers I ate for lunch the next day. —NC

The beef kwetiau from Twin Panda
The beef kwetiau from Twin Panda
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Interstellar BBQ

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Yes, it will perhaps be really annoying procuring barbecue from the barbecue restaurant from the team behind the defunct Noble Sandwich Co. restaurant nowadays. You’ll have to wake up early and wait for a while, but really, the food is that good and well worth the lack of sleep. While people have been raving about the brisket and the lovely little peach-glazed pork belly, the turkey is really the best item on the menu. The sliced meat is so tender and flavorful and juicy, all thanks to the fact that it’s been marinated in Live Oak Brewery’s hefeweizen. —NC

A sliced turkey breast on greasy butcher paper.
Interstellar BBQ’s turkey.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Garbo's

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Having become recently enamored with lobster rolls, I was looking forward to a hosted media happy hour at Garbo’s. While the lobster rolls (cold with mayo or hot with butter) were great — I mean, how could anything on that buttery bun not be — I was even more impressed by two unexpected standouts on the menu: smoked fish dip and crab cakes. The smoked fish dip came topped with a hot sauce that was a true kick in the pants (which I loved), while the sumptuous crab cake was seasoned to flavorful perfection. Garbo’s new location also has a great patio for enjoying these fleeting fall days. —Erin Russell

Bep Saigon

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Because I was already in what I deemed as far, far, far North Austin, we decided to grab dinner from new-to-me Vietnamese restaurant since I know several trustworthy people who have raved about the menu. They were not wrong. The hu tieu ap chao had wonderfully chewy pan-fried noodles with loads of vegetables; the banh xeo was ginormous, the fried crepe overflowing with bean sprouts; and the red curry was tasty. My absolute favorite item was the little banh knot: perfect rice cakes topped with a great mix of shrimp, mung beans, and a dollop of coconut milk. —NC

Banh knot from Bep Saigon
Banh knot from Bep Saigon
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Taquito Aviles

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It’s been a wonderful week full of birria, consomme, and quesabirria for me. Every single taco I had was a work of delicious art, but of particular note was the quesabirria de chivo taco from North Austin truck Taquito Aviles. The compact corn tortilla taco is full of really luscious goat meat glued together with American cheese (honestly, the perfect choice). The taco itself is perfection, but then dipping said taco into the accompanying goat-based consomme just brought a little extra oomph into the bite. —NC

A hand dipping a taco with meat, cheese, cilantro, and diced onions into a styrofoam cup of consomme on a red wooden table
Quesataco from Taquito Aviles.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Con Todo

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As a huge fan of pastry pop-up Galleta, I was excited for chef Joseph Gomez’s border town taco truck Con Todo, and boy did it deliver. The carne asada taco with perfectly marinated skirt steak grilled over smoky mesquite is now one of my favorite tacos — especially when paired with the slow-burning spice from the red salsa. Of course, I also loved the crunchy, sweet buñuelos served with cream. The laidback atmosphere and Belgian brews at Celis’s new beer garden made it a perfect fall evening. —ER

A yellow corn tortilla filled with brown steak chunks and a dollop of green sauce.
A taco from Con Todo.
Erin Russell/Eater Austin

Usta Kababgy

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To celebrate Eid, we ordered a straight-up feast from the North Lamar restaurant. The falafel was soft with a nice spicy kick; the lamb and beef kebabs were juicy and tender and robust; the fried kibbah texturally amazing and hearty; the meat flatbread reminded me of lahmajun I’ve had at home in Queens. The mhalabiyah (milk pudding) was the not-too-sweet way of ending the meal. —NC

The kebab plate at Usta Kababgy
The kebab plate at Usta Kababgy
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

House of Three Gorges

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In the mood for new-to-me restaurants and the fact that I was sans-car for the time being, I ordered delivery from House of Three Gorges after an endorsement from a friend. The fresh pepper jumping fish filet dish was amazing with tender pieces of white fish drenched in a spicy broth mixed with raw jalapenos. The fried rice paired with Chinese sausage made for a sweeter counterpart. The portions are ginormous and have been lasting me for several days and going (if you know me, you know I love leftovers, and specifically mixing and matching leftovers). —NC

The fresh pepper jumping fish filet dish from House of Three Gorges
The fresh pepper jumping fish filet dish from House of Three Gorges
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Sazan Ramen

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I’m new to the creamy paitan ramen of Sazan Ramen and I was definitely impressed. The combination of warm, rich broth (it’s a mix of chicken and pork, but there’s a vegan version, too), comforting noodles, beautiful egg, and just a bit of peppery arugula was a great find during a long week. The menu is small (though it does include dumplings from neighbor Steamies) but why mess with perfection? —ER

A bowl of ramen with dark broth, half hard boiled egg, meat slices, greens and veggies.
A ramen bowl from Sazan Ramen
Sazan Ramen/Facebook

Charoen Express

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It was Eid earlier this month, so I decided to splurge on some delivery for myself and tried Charoen Express. The omelet kra pow is a mighty dish: the various flavors and textures of the egg, ground chicken, vegetables, and rice worked together beautifully. The garlic spicy green beans with fried tofu were legit fiery and the Thai tea rightly sweet. I set up an earlier delivery time through Uber Eats (the only third-party delivery service that would actually come to my neighborhood surprisingly) because I didn’t trust Austin traffic, but I’d recommend eating it as soon as you get it so that the sticky rice is fresher. —NC

Charoen Express’s omelet kra pow
Charoen Express’s omelet kra pow
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Baguette et Chocolat

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The sandwiches at Bee Cave patisserie Baguette et Chocolat’s are simple and made with really high-quality ingredients, and they’re perhaps some of the best ones I’ve had in a while. The Parisian Brie includes layers of sliced meat, fresh tomatoes/cucumbers/lettuce, and thick brie wedges, placed within a wonderful fluffy yet sturdy baguette (add cornichons for an extra crunch). I regret not ordering dessert (the mille-feuille and Paris-Brest both sound so good) and I’m also eying a quiche for my next visit. —NC

The Parisien Brie from Baguette et Chocolat
The Parisien Brie from Baguette et Chocolat
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Lola's Donuts

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I am not even really a doughnut person, but the creations from Lola’s Donuts are basically irresistible. My favorite was the rich, cakey, indulgent coffee Oreo donut that was quite satisfactory for dessert, although I also appreciated the giant glitter fritter — a kiwi/mango batter with a coconut rum glaze. The flower-covered shop front is adorable, and this is one of the few times a restaurant is both perfect for Instagram and excellently crafted. —ER

Doughnuts from Lola’s Donuts
Doughnuts from Lola’s Donuts
Erin Russell/Eater Austin

Dai Due

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I hadn’t been to Dai Due in a minute, and I’m pleased to report that it’s even better than I remembered. The restaurant uses ingredients exclusively from Texas — down to the wine and beer list — which suits the somewhat rustic-chic atmosphere of the restaurant. Choosing dishes on the menu was a truly monumental task because everything looked so good (quail with grits? wild boar confit?). I happened in on fish and chips night, and the crispy, tender black drum with remoulade, slaw, and perfectly seasoned fries was truly a meal to remember. I also had a glass of the house Blanc du Bois from Lewis Wines, whose light, crisp effervescence paired well with my meal. I can’t wait to return to try, well, everything else on the menu. —ER

Birdie's

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I try not to pull the “I used to live in Italy” card too often, but when I say that I had the best pasta in recent memory this week at Birdie’s, please understand it comes from a reverence for the art of flour and water. The plump, chewy orecchiette with pork sausage and fennel pollen was transported directly from my memories at the best trattorie in Puglia. The “obligatory vegetables” arugula salad is anything but boring with bright bursts from dill, tarragon, and lemon. And the soft serve with tangerine olive oil was a dream. The restaurant is counter service with open seating, which is nice for a casual night out with friends and a bottle of wine from the extensive list. —ER

I’ve been venturing into the dine-in service world slowly, and one of my recent favorites is a simple one. Nothing beats the combination of a breezy day, tinned fish and saltines, and orange wine, all of which can be found at LoLo. A full glass of the orange wine — Poderi Cellario E’Orange — was easy with a slight welcomed tang (I regret not buying a bottle right now). I opted for the tuna packed in oil, which paired wonderfully with the buttery saltines. It was perfect. —NC

Tinned tuna and saltines at LoLo
Tinned tuna and saltines at LoLo
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Rogue Radish

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Former Pitchfork Pretty chef Max Snyder’s vegan-friendly trailer Rogue Radish has been on my list to try for an embarrassingly long time, and now that I finally made it over, I regret all the time I could have spent eating there. I got the goat on rice bowl and the tender fish sauce and maple syrup-marinated goat was one of my favorite bites this year. It so many great things in one bowl — purple sticky rice, black beans, pickled vegetables, and super-fresh salad. Sad desk lunch, begone. —ER

Sushi | Bar ATX

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I’ve had some excellent sushi experiences lately, but they all required a significant amount of foresight — so it’s worth noting for any special occasions coming up that Sushi Bar ATX opens reservations well ahead. of time. Sushi Bar is a small, 10-person counter omakase that almost qualifies as dinner and a show, thanks to the personal service from the chef in front of you and liberal use of torches and garnishes. The sushi is a bit more adorned than strictly traditional style — my favorite piece was shima aji with a small dot of fresno chili, though the eel fried in bone marrow fat was also a treat. My friend and I split the cocktail pairing and the sake pairing and loved them both. I could also eat an entire cake of the makrut ice cream bonbon dessert from chef Margarita Kallas-Lee. —ER

A single sushi piece consisting of a pink fish slice with a slice of a yellow vegetable and a dab of green wasabi on a gray slate serving utensil
A sushi piece from Sushi | Bar ATX
Erin Russell/Eater Austin

Plow Bao

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I’ve been exploring more of Austin’s vegan scene thanks to social distanced hangs with a new friend. A recent weekend brought us to vegan dim sum truck Plow Bao, parked at Buzz Mill Coffee. The pan-fried “pork” dumplings were rich and packed and the special of beautifully ginormous scallion pancake wraps — essentially scallion pancakes filled with breakfasty ingredients from vegan eggs to siracha “mayonnaise” — much like giant tacos. The pancakes were doughy yet sturdy enough to contain all of the ingredients. —NC

Five pan-fried dumplings in a brown cardboard container.
Vegan pork dumplings from Plow Bao
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Da Boot Po-Boys Seafood.& Soulfood

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The seafood menu over at South Austin food truck Da Boot Po-Boys is magnificent. The crawfish platter comes with delightful fried mudbugs paired with really soft bread; the fried okra balls were beautifully fresh; the fries were spiced; and the star of my meal was the whole deep-fried soft-shell crab that was, well, soft and meaty. —NC

Leroy And Lewis Barbecue

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I had been eyeing the barbacado at barbecue truck LeRoy & Lewis for a while. And I finally got to check that box during a first-time-in-real-life-co-working-session with a friend at Cosmic Coffee. It’s the perfect lunchtime meal: a flawless halved avocado stuffed with tender barbacoa topped with cilantro, diced white onions, and salsa. The avocado skin worked as a compostable bowl and I found myself scraping for every bit of the fruit. —NC

Ovenbird

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A friend has been raving about the menu at this South Austin cafe, so we decided to go there to celebrate a friend’s birthday and weren’t disappointed. The Hopple Popple combines my favorite morning-y ingredients: thick chunks of fried potatoes, corned beef, peppers, and an egg. It was hearty and flavorful (especially with the shakshuka aioli) and lovely. The baked goods veer on the European side, from the sturdy Bavarian croissant used for breakfast sandwiches to the delightful franzbroetchen, a little German-style cinnamon roll. I need to go back to check out both the babka, breakfast brioche, and the hand pies.—NC

A sunny-side fried egg with a sprig of a green herb and dots of sauce on top of a croissant slice and next to a croissant top.
A breakfast sandwich from Ovenbird
Ovenbird/Facebook

Shirley's Trini Cuisine

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A trusted friend highly recommended new-to-me food truck Shirley’s Trini Cuisine so I finally went to check it out recently. The doubles are amazing: fried bread that is stuffed with chickpeas (which I’ve come to realize is one of my favorite foods) and topped with chutneys and more chickpeas. The spicy goat curry is rich with tender meat, the roti flaky, and the side of potatoes and chickpeas made everything better. I need to go back to try the bake-and-shark (made with fish), the stew chicken, plantains, and macaroni pie. —NC

Lali Son: Nepalese & Indian Food

To celebrate a recent birthday, we took the time to drive up to Leander to grab takeout from the gas station restaurant based on the recommendation of a trusted friend. Our entire spread was magnificent. The steamed chicken momos were so plump and nicely spiced (I do love dumplings a lot); the cauliflower in the Gobi 65 was sturdy; and the chicken kadai was the ideal brothy entree. —Nadia Chaudhury

Momos from Lali Son Fast Food
Momos from Lali Son Fast Food
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Twin Panda

I wanted to try a new-to-me restaurant so we decided to trek up to Twin Panda, north of Jollyville. The Chinese and Chinese-American fare selection is strong — the orange chicken is great, as was the egg drop soup and crab puffs. But I was particularly taken with the spectacular Indonesian section. I ordered the beef kwetiau, a wonderfully flavorful stir-fried noodle dish made with sweet soy sauce and big chunks of scrambled eggs. I loved it so much and I was thankful for the leftovers I ate for lunch the next day. —NC

The beef kwetiau from Twin Panda
The beef kwetiau from Twin Panda
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Interstellar BBQ

Yes, it will perhaps be really annoying procuring barbecue from the barbecue restaurant from the team behind the defunct Noble Sandwich Co. restaurant nowadays. You’ll have to wake up early and wait for a while, but really, the food is that good and well worth the lack of sleep. While people have been raving about the brisket and the lovely little peach-glazed pork belly, the turkey is really the best item on the menu. The sliced meat is so tender and flavorful and juicy, all thanks to the fact that it’s been marinated in Live Oak Brewery’s hefeweizen. —NC

A sliced turkey breast on greasy butcher paper.
Interstellar BBQ’s turkey.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Garbo's

Having become recently enamored with lobster rolls, I was looking forward to a hosted media happy hour at Garbo’s. While the lobster rolls (cold with mayo or hot with butter) were great — I mean, how could anything on that buttery bun not be — I was even more impressed by two unexpected standouts on the menu: smoked fish dip and crab cakes. The smoked fish dip came topped with a hot sauce that was a true kick in the pants (which I loved), while the sumptuous crab cake was seasoned to flavorful perfection. Garbo’s new location also has a great patio for enjoying these fleeting fall days. —Erin Russell

Bep Saigon

Because I was already in what I deemed as far, far, far North Austin, we decided to grab dinner from new-to-me Vietnamese restaurant since I know several trustworthy people who have raved about the menu. They were not wrong. The hu tieu ap chao had wonderfully chewy pan-fried noodles with loads of vegetables; the banh xeo was ginormous, the fried crepe overflowing with bean sprouts; and the red curry was tasty. My absolute favorite item was the little banh knot: perfect rice cakes topped with a great mix of shrimp, mung beans, and a dollop of coconut milk. —NC

Banh knot from Bep Saigon
Banh knot from Bep Saigon
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Taquito Aviles

It’s been a wonderful week full of birria, consomme, and quesabirria for me. Every single taco I had was a work of delicious art, but of particular note was the quesabirria de chivo taco from North Austin truck Taquito Aviles. The compact corn tortilla taco is full of really luscious goat meat glued together with American cheese (honestly, the perfect choice). The taco itself is perfection, but then dipping said taco into the accompanying goat-based consomme just brought a little extra oomph into the bite. —NC

A hand dipping a taco with meat, cheese, cilantro, and diced onions into a styrofoam cup of consomme on a red wooden table
Quesataco from Taquito Aviles.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Con Todo

As a huge fan of pastry pop-up Galleta, I was excited for chef Joseph Gomez’s border town taco truck Con Todo, and boy did it deliver. The carne asada taco with perfectly marinated skirt steak grilled over smoky mesquite is now one of my favorite tacos — especially when paired with the slow-burning spice from the red salsa. Of course, I also loved the crunchy, sweet buñuelos served with cream. The laidback atmosphere and Belgian brews at Celis’s new beer garden made it a perfect fall evening. —ER

A yellow corn tortilla filled with brown steak chunks and a dollop of green sauce.
A taco from Con Todo.
Erin Russell/Eater Austin

Usta Kababgy

To celebrate Eid, we ordered a straight-up feast from the North Lamar restaurant. The falafel was soft with a nice spicy kick; the lamb and beef kebabs were juicy and tender and robust; the fried kibbah texturally amazing and hearty; the meat flatbread reminded me of lahmajun I’ve had at home in Queens. The mhalabiyah (milk pudding) was the not-too-sweet way of ending the meal. —NC

The kebab plate at Usta Kababgy
The kebab plate at Usta Kababgy
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

House of Three Gorges

In the mood for new-to-me restaurants and the fact that I was sans-car for the time being, I ordered delivery from House of Three Gorges after an endorsement from a friend. The fresh pepper jumping fish filet dish was amazing with tender pieces of white fish drenched in a spicy broth mixed with raw jalapenos. The fried rice paired with Chinese sausage made for a sweeter counterpart. The portions are ginormous and have been lasting me for several days and going (if you know me, you know I love leftovers, and specifically mixing and matching leftovers). —NC

The fresh pepper jumping fish filet dish from House of Three Gorges
The fresh pepper jumping fish filet dish from House of Three Gorges
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Sazan Ramen

I’m new to the creamy paitan ramen of Sazan Ramen and I was definitely impressed. The combination of warm, rich broth (it’s a mix of chicken and pork, but there’s a vegan version, too), comforting noodles, beautiful egg, and just a bit of peppery arugula was a great find during a long week. The menu is small (though it does include dumplings from neighbor Steamies) but why mess with perfection? —ER

A bowl of ramen with dark broth, half hard boiled egg, meat slices, greens and veggies.
A ramen bowl from Sazan Ramen
Sazan Ramen/Facebook

Charoen Express

It was Eid earlier this month, so I decided to splurge on some delivery for myself and tried Charoen Express. The omelet kra pow is a mighty dish: the various flavors and textures of the egg, ground chicken, vegetables, and rice worked together beautifully. The garlic spicy green beans with fried tofu were legit fiery and the Thai tea rightly sweet. I set up an earlier delivery time through Uber Eats (the only third-party delivery service that would actually come to my neighborhood surprisingly) because I didn’t trust Austin traffic, but I’d recommend eating it as soon as you get it so that the sticky rice is fresher. —NC

Charoen Express’s omelet kra pow
Charoen Express’s omelet kra pow
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Baguette et Chocolat

The sandwiches at Bee Cave patisserie Baguette et Chocolat’s are simple and made with really high-quality ingredients, and they’re perhaps some of the best ones I’ve had in a while. The Parisian Brie includes layers of sliced meat, fresh tomatoes/cucumbers/lettuce, and thick brie wedges, placed within a wonderful fluffy yet sturdy baguette (add cornichons for an extra crunch). I regret not ordering dessert (the mille-feuille and Paris-Brest both sound so good) and I’m also eying a quiche for my next visit. —NC

The Parisien Brie from Baguette et Chocolat
The Parisien Brie from Baguette et Chocolat
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Lola's Donuts

I am not even really a doughnut person, but the creations from Lola’s Donuts are basically irresistible. My favorite was the rich, cakey, indulgent coffee Oreo donut that was quite satisfactory for dessert, although I also appreciated the giant glitter fritter — a kiwi/mango batter with a coconut rum glaze. The flower-covered shop front is adorable, and this is one of the few times a restaurant is both perfect for Instagram and excellently crafted. —ER

Doughnuts from Lola’s Donuts
Doughnuts from Lola’s Donuts
Erin Russell/Eater Austin

Dai Due

I hadn’t been to Dai Due in a minute, and I’m pleased to report that it’s even better than I remembered. The restaurant uses ingredients exclusively from Texas — down to the wine and beer list — which suits the somewhat rustic-chic atmosphere of the restaurant. Choosing dishes on the menu was a truly monumental task because everything looked so good (quail with grits? wild boar confit?). I happened in on fish and chips night, and the crispy, tender black drum with remoulade, slaw, and perfectly seasoned fries was truly a meal to remember. I also had a glass of the house Blanc du Bois from Lewis Wines, whose light, crisp effervescence paired well with my meal. I can’t wait to return to try, well, everything else on the menu. —ER

Birdie's

I try not to pull the “I used to live in Italy” card too often, but when I say that I had the best pasta in recent memory this week at Birdie’s, please understand it comes from a reverence for the art of flour and water. The plump, chewy orecchiette with pork sausage and fennel pollen was transported directly from my memories at the best trattorie in Puglia. The “obligatory vegetables” arugula salad is anything but boring with bright bursts from dill, tarragon, and lemon. And the soft serve with tangerine olive oil was a dream. The restaurant is counter service with open seating, which is nice for a casual night out with friends and a bottle of wine from the extensive list. —ER

Related Maps

LoLo

I’ve been venturing into the dine-in service world slowly, and one of my recent favorites is a simple one. Nothing beats the combination of a breezy day, tinned fish and saltines, and orange wine, all of which can be found at LoLo. A full glass of the orange wine — Poderi Cellario E’Orange — was easy with a slight welcomed tang (I regret not buying a bottle right now). I opted for the tuna packed in oil, which paired wonderfully with the buttery saltines. It was perfect. —NC

Tinned tuna and saltines at LoLo
Tinned tuna and saltines at LoLo
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Rogue Radish

Former Pitchfork Pretty chef Max Snyder’s vegan-friendly trailer Rogue Radish has been on my list to try for an embarrassingly long time, and now that I finally made it over, I regret all the time I could have spent eating there. I got the goat on rice bowl and the tender fish sauce and maple syrup-marinated goat was one of my favorite bites this year. It so many great things in one bowl — purple sticky rice, black beans, pickled vegetables, and super-fresh salad. Sad desk lunch, begone. —ER

Sushi | Bar ATX

I’ve had some excellent sushi experiences lately, but they all required a significant amount of foresight — so it’s worth noting for any special occasions coming up that Sushi Bar ATX opens reservations well ahead. of time. Sushi Bar is a small, 10-person counter omakase that almost qualifies as dinner and a show, thanks to the personal service from the chef in front of you and liberal use of torches and garnishes. The sushi is a bit more adorned than strictly traditional style — my favorite piece was shima aji with a small dot of fresno chili, though the eel fried in bone marrow fat was also a treat. My friend and I split the cocktail pairing and the sake pairing and loved them both. I could also eat an entire cake of the makrut ice cream bonbon dessert from chef Margarita Kallas-Lee. —ER

A single sushi piece consisting of a pink fish slice with a slice of a yellow vegetable and a dab of green wasabi on a gray slate serving utensil
A sushi piece from Sushi | Bar ATX
Erin Russell/Eater Austin

Plow Bao

I’ve been exploring more of Austin’s vegan scene thanks to social distanced hangs with a new friend. A recent weekend brought us to vegan dim sum truck Plow Bao, parked at Buzz Mill Coffee. The pan-fried “pork” dumplings were rich and packed and the special of beautifully ginormous scallion pancake wraps — essentially scallion pancakes filled with breakfasty ingredients from vegan eggs to siracha “mayonnaise” — much like giant tacos. The pancakes were doughy yet sturdy enough to contain all of the ingredients. —NC

Five pan-fried dumplings in a brown cardboard container.
Vegan pork dumplings from Plow Bao
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin

Da Boot Po-Boys Seafood.& Soulfood

The seafood menu over at South Austin food truck Da Boot Po-Boys is magnificent. The crawfish platter comes with delightful fried mudbugs paired with really soft bread; the fried okra balls were beautifully fresh; the fries were spiced; and the star of my meal was the whole deep-fried soft-shell crab that was, well, soft and meaty. —NC

Leroy And Lewis Barbecue

I had been eyeing the barbacado at barbecue truck LeRoy & Lewis for a while. And I finally got to check that box during a first-time-in-real-life-co-working-session with a friend at Cosmic Coffee. It’s the perfect lunchtime meal: a flawless halved avocado stuffed with tender barbacoa topped with cilantro, diced white onions, and salsa. The avocado skin worked as a compostable bowl and I found myself scraping for every bit of the fruit. —NC

Ovenbird

A friend has been raving about the menu at this South Austin cafe, so we decided to go there to celebrate a friend’s birthday and weren’t disappointed. The Hopple Popple combines my favorite morning-y ingredients: thick chunks of fried potatoes, corned beef, peppers, and an egg. It was hearty and flavorful (especially with the shakshuka aioli) and lovely. The baked goods veer on the European side, from the sturdy Bavarian croissant used for breakfast sandwiches to the delightful franzbroetchen, a little German-style cinnamon roll. I need to go back to check out both the babka, breakfast brioche, and the hand pies.—NC