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A food box of saucey mushrooms and fries.
The jerk mushrooms from Mr. Pimento.
Mr. Pimento

The Hottest New Restaurants in Austin, January 2023

A new Jamaican option with jerk chicken and vegan jerk mushrooms

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The jerk mushrooms from Mr. Pimento.
| Mr. Pimento

Readers of Eater usually have the same question: Where should I eat right now? Amid the pandemic, the Austin restaurant scene remains as exciting as ever, as new places have continued to open. With all of this in mind, Eater is updating its monthly heatmap (now in its 131st iteration), highlighting a mix of exciting restaurants, trucks, and food services open right now.

This January update adds a sole entry this month: Jamaican food truck Mr. Pimento.

Know of something new and exciting that should be on our radar? Email the Eater Austin team at austin@eater.com. To see which places were previously on the heatmap, visit the archive. For a look at Austin’s outstanding dining destinations, check out the Eater 38 map.

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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Ling Kitchen

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Chef Ling Qi Wu, the dumpling master behind Lin Asian Restaurant and other restaurants, opened her intimate 10-seat tasting spot in Wooten in November. The restaurant will serve a tasting menu of pan-Asian fare along with wine and beer and is open for indoor dining only.

Delicious AF

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North Loop gained another coffeeshop and bakery in November with Delicious AF (Delicious Austin Foods), which took over the Heo Eatery on Airport Boulevard. For now, Delicious AF serves pastries, biscuit sandwiches, and grab-and-go lunch like salads and sandwiches. However, it has big plans to open a lunch space serving beloved dishes from classic Austin restaurants that have closed, and a nighttime supper club. It’s open for indoor dining and takeout, with plans to add outdoor seating.

Three biscuit sandwiches with cheese, bacon, and eggs on a green board.
Biscuit sandwiches from Delicious AF.
Delicious AF

Mum Foods

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Pastrami experts Mum Foods opened a new deli again in December. The farmers market favorite — whose stalls will remain open — will serve barbecued meats, smoked chicken salad, sides, desserts, beer, wine, and coffee, out of the Pecan Springs-Springdale neighborhood. There are indoor dine-in areas.

BBQ Ramen Tatsu-Ya

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The latest venture from the Tatsu-ya group is a barbecue and ramen spot in the former Contigo space in the MLK neighborhood, which opened in October. The restaurant serves ramen that makes use of smoked meats and non-ramen dishes like smoked beef tallow gyoza and pimento cheese. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A bowl of ramen with meats.
The Nibo Nibo bowl from BBQ Ramen Tatsu-ya.
Jody Horton

The Texas barbecue spot with Egyptian influences finally opened a permanent truck on Manor Road in October. Look for lamb bacon ribs, grilled chicken kebabs, pink potato salad, and bowls. Takeout orders can be placed online. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas at the host site Oddwood Brewing.

The Mexican seafood spot from the Suerte team, including lauded chef Fermín Núñez, opened in October in the former home of Eastside Cafe (and yes, the restaurant uses the on-site garden). Dishes include charcoal-cooked oysters, fried fish tacos on corn tortillas, and grilled shrimp. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A plate of red raw fish and olive oil and sliced avocados and thin crispies.
A dish from Este.
Este

Nido at The Loren at Lady Bird Lake

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Nido, the restaurant at the new lakeside the Loren, opened in October with sweeping views of the downtown skyline. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with dishes like duck breast, ricotta gnudi, and squash beignets. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Bufalina

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The local pizzeria brought stellar chef Grae Nonas on board for its new location, which means in addition to Neapolitan pizzas, there’s now fresh pasta dishes like tagliatelle bolognese and appetizers like spicy suppli and gooey stracciatella. This location of Bufalina, which opened in November, is indoor dining only.

The Vietnamese comfort food truck from former Foreign & Domestic chef Bianca Frasier opened in front of Gibson Bar in September. It serves Southern-Vietnamese fusion dishes like fried catfish with fresh herbs, rice bowls and bao, and thit kho (pork belly braised in coconut milk with hardboiled eggs). Takeout orders can be placed online. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Two steamed buns with fried meat and carrots and scallions in it on a white plate.
Bao from Bisous.
Bisous

Dovetail Pizza & Bar

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This new pizzeria on South First comes from a superstar hospitality team Present Tense, which includes members from restaurants like Lenoir, Salt & Time, and Rosen’s Bagels. The menu includes salads, pastas, and pizza, which come with a house-made chili crisp in lieu of parmigiano and red pepper flakes. The restaurant opened in November in the former Mumtaz Market, and has indoor and outdoor dining available.

Mr. Pimento

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This Jamaican food truck opened at Buzz Mill Coffee on Riverside in December. Owner and Jamaican immigrant Clay Spence serves up dishes with plantains, jerk chicken, and a vegan jerk mushroom option. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Cooked plantains.
Plantains from Mr. Pimento.
Mr. Pimento

Golden Hour Cafe & Wine Bar

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A cafe by day and wine bar by night, Golden Hour opened in November with indoor dining, a patio, and to-go wine. From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., the cafe serves breakfast pastries, cheese plates, and cakes, while by night expect raw bar dishes and seafood — plus, low-intervention natural wine and snacks all day.

Ling Kitchen

Chef Ling Qi Wu, the dumpling master behind Lin Asian Restaurant and other restaurants, opened her intimate 10-seat tasting spot in Wooten in November. The restaurant will serve a tasting menu of pan-Asian fare along with wine and beer and is open for indoor dining only.

Delicious AF

North Loop gained another coffeeshop and bakery in November with Delicious AF (Delicious Austin Foods), which took over the Heo Eatery on Airport Boulevard. For now, Delicious AF serves pastries, biscuit sandwiches, and grab-and-go lunch like salads and sandwiches. However, it has big plans to open a lunch space serving beloved dishes from classic Austin restaurants that have closed, and a nighttime supper club. It’s open for indoor dining and takeout, with plans to add outdoor seating.

Three biscuit sandwiches with cheese, bacon, and eggs on a green board.
Biscuit sandwiches from Delicious AF.
Delicious AF

Mum Foods

Pastrami experts Mum Foods opened a new deli again in December. The farmers market favorite — whose stalls will remain open — will serve barbecued meats, smoked chicken salad, sides, desserts, beer, wine, and coffee, out of the Pecan Springs-Springdale neighborhood. There are indoor dine-in areas.

BBQ Ramen Tatsu-Ya

The latest venture from the Tatsu-ya group is a barbecue and ramen spot in the former Contigo space in the MLK neighborhood, which opened in October. The restaurant serves ramen that makes use of smoked meats and non-ramen dishes like smoked beef tallow gyoza and pimento cheese. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A bowl of ramen with meats.
The Nibo Nibo bowl from BBQ Ramen Tatsu-ya.
Jody Horton

KG BBQ

The Texas barbecue spot with Egyptian influences finally opened a permanent truck on Manor Road in October. Look for lamb bacon ribs, grilled chicken kebabs, pink potato salad, and bowls. Takeout orders can be placed online. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas at the host site Oddwood Brewing.

Este

The Mexican seafood spot from the Suerte team, including lauded chef Fermín Núñez, opened in October in the former home of Eastside Cafe (and yes, the restaurant uses the on-site garden). Dishes include charcoal-cooked oysters, fried fish tacos on corn tortillas, and grilled shrimp. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

A plate of red raw fish and olive oil and sliced avocados and thin crispies.
A dish from Este.
Este

Nido at The Loren at Lady Bird Lake

Nido, the restaurant at the new lakeside the Loren, opened in October with sweeping views of the downtown skyline. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with dishes like duck breast, ricotta gnudi, and squash beignets. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Bufalina

The local pizzeria brought stellar chef Grae Nonas on board for its new location, which means in addition to Neapolitan pizzas, there’s now fresh pasta dishes like tagliatelle bolognese and appetizers like spicy suppli and gooey stracciatella. This location of Bufalina, which opened in November, is indoor dining only.

Bisous

The Vietnamese comfort food truck from former Foreign & Domestic chef Bianca Frasier opened in front of Gibson Bar in September. It serves Southern-Vietnamese fusion dishes like fried catfish with fresh herbs, rice bowls and bao, and thit kho (pork belly braised in coconut milk with hardboiled eggs). Takeout orders can be placed online. There are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Two steamed buns with fried meat and carrots and scallions in it on a white plate.
Bao from Bisous.
Bisous

Dovetail Pizza & Bar

This new pizzeria on South First comes from a superstar hospitality team Present Tense, which includes members from restaurants like Lenoir, Salt & Time, and Rosen’s Bagels. The menu includes salads, pastas, and pizza, which come with a house-made chili crisp in lieu of parmigiano and red pepper flakes. The restaurant opened in November in the former Mumtaz Market, and has indoor and outdoor dining available.

Mr. Pimento

This Jamaican food truck opened at Buzz Mill Coffee on Riverside in December. Owner and Jamaican immigrant Clay Spence serves up dishes with plantains, jerk chicken, and a vegan jerk mushroom option. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Cooked plantains.
Plantains from Mr. Pimento.
Mr. Pimento

Golden Hour Cafe & Wine Bar

A cafe by day and wine bar by night, Golden Hour opened in November with indoor dining, a patio, and to-go wine. From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., the cafe serves breakfast pastries, cheese plates, and cakes, while by night expect raw bar dishes and seafood — plus, low-intervention natural wine and snacks all day.

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