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Duck confit, duck eggs, mushrooms, and grits from the Leaning Pear
Duck confit, duck eggs, mushrooms, and grits from the Leaning Pear
The Leaning Pear/Facebook

10 Must-Visit Dining Destinations in the Texas Hill Country

Wide-open spaces, stellar sunset views, and good eating await

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Duck confit, duck eggs, mushrooms, and grits from the Leaning Pear
| The Leaning Pear/Facebook

The Hill Country — found just outside of Austin — is known for more than just wide-open spaces, stellar sunset views, and wineries. There’s plenty to devour just a short drive from the city limits. Find a varied culinary experience — rooted in Southern food with German and Mexican influences — among the live oak groves of Central Texas’s small towns, ranging from kolaches to schnitzels to chicken fried steaks to enchiladas to New Texan fare.

Extend those Hill Country plans by exploring the area's best barbecue and pie options, or dig into the offerings within Fredericksburg and Dripping Springs.

As with all businesses right now, 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. Be sure to wear a mask, tip well, and, if you’re ordering delivery, try to order directly from the restaurant themselves.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

— Jane Kellogg Murray, with updates by Nadia Chaudhury

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Opie's Barbecue

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9504 E State Hwy 71
Spicewood, TX 78669
(830) 693-8660
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What you see is what you get at the Spicewood barbecue joint. The giant pit that greets you when you enter is full of succulent, fatty, and delightfully seasoned brisket. Or perhaps it’s the enormous pork chops, jalapeno-cheese sausages, or the tender ribs that are more appealing. Whatever you order, pick up a few sides to go with it: a heaping serving of spicy corn, tater tot casserole, and the off-menu Coca-Cola cake. The restaurant is open for takeout and indoor dine-in services.

Beef ribs at Opie’s
Beef ribs at Opie’s
Opie’s Barbecue/Facebook

2. Kitchen at Southold F+C

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330 Minor Threat Lane
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
(512) 829-1650
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The stellar Fredericksburg winery recently opened up an on-site restaurant, which focuses on serving dishes that pair well with, well, wine in a stunning space with an equally as great view. The restaurant is open for evening dine-in service, with indoor and outdoor seating; reservations are recommended.

3. Der Lindenbaum

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312 E Main St
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
(830) 997-9126
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On top of cuisine heavily influenced by Austin’s neighbors to the south, the Texas Hill Country has an overlay of German heritage thanks to the Old World immigrants who settled in this region in the mid-1800s. Get a taste of that Central Texas-German cuisine at the Fredericksburg restaurant, which boasts Ingrid Hohmann, a European-trained chef known for cooking up traditional German recipes like schnitzel, bratwurst, and made-from-scratch strudels and Black Forest cake. The restaurant is open for indoor dine-in service.

4. Redbud Cafe & Pub

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409 4th St.
Blanco, TX 78606
(830) 833-0202
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The social hub on the main square of the historic town of Blanco (a city featured in the Coen Brothers’s True Grit remake), the cafe satisfies its patrons with everything from burgers on jalapeno sourdough buns to wraps filled with roasted red pepper hummus and kalamata olives. Take time to browse through the adjacent gift shop, which sells pottery and products from the Redbud owners Jon and Jan Brieger’s family lavender farm. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in and online and call-ahead takeout services.

A burger from Redbud Cafe
A burger from Redbud Cafe
Redbud Cafe & Pub/Facebook

5. The Leaning Pear

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111 River Rd
Wimberley, TX 78676
(512) 847-7327
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This romantic eatery is a popular lunchtime spot, tucked on a quiet corner of downtown Wimberley along Cypress Creek. Fill up on sandwiches like the BBLT — applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, and double-cream French brie on toasted sourdough — and wood-fired pizzas, or heartier dishes like duck confit and grilled hangar steak. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in and takeout services.

Stuffed flank steak from the Leaning Pear
Stuffed flank steak from the Leaning Pear
The Leaning Pear/Facebook

6. Little Gretel

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518 River Rd
Boerne, TX 78006
(830) 331-1368
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Owner and Czech native Denise Mazal favors wild game at her European restaurant and biergarten in Boerne — antelope, venison, boar, and rabbit have all found their place on the menu. Honoring her heritage, traditional kolaches and klobasniky are made in-house and filled with everything from wurst to povidla (plum jelly). The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in and call-ahead takeout services.

Kolaches from Little Gretel
Kolaches from Little Gretel
Little Gretel/Facebook

7. Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar

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1287 Gruene Rd
Gruene, TX 78130
(830) 625-0684
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In the historic district of New Braunfels, the best thing to do after two-stepping at the state's oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall, is to do nothing at all while sitting on the porch overlooking the banks of the Guadalupe River. Stop in at the restaurant and pull up a bench on the open-air patio for great wings, quesadillas, chicken fried steak, and a cold beer. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in service.

Barbecue ribs at Gristmill
Barbecue ribs at Gristmill
Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar/Facebook

8. Krause's Cafe

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148 S Castell Ave
New Braunfels, TX 78130
(830) 625-2807
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The revitalized longtime German beer hall and restaurant in New Braunfels serves up plentiful draft beers, schnitzels, and sandwiches in its lively mostly alfresco space. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

9. Lost Maples Cafe

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384 Main Sreet
Utopia, TX
(830) 966-2221
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There must be a wormhole in Utopia because this no-frills cafe recalls a simpler decade. Housed in a historic building (built sometime before 1904), the place has been serving comfort food since 1986. An expansive menu has everything from grilled cheese on Texas toast and cheese enchiladas, to big slices of fudge pecan pie.

10. The Laurel Tree

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18956 N FM 187
Utopia, TX 78884
(830) 966-5444
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Upscale food from a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef puts the utopia in small-town Utopia. The restaurant is set in a charming stone building amid 400+-year-old oak trees. Utilizing a European-style “guest table” service, chef Laurel Waterss’ restaurant is BYOB and only open on Saturdays for lunch and dinner — but dishes like chicken with mushrooms and artichoke hearts in puff pastry, served with fresh vegetables like pesto scalloped potatoes, round out the rotating menu. The restaurant is open for reservations-only lunch and dinner dine-in services.

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1. Opie's Barbecue

9504 E State Hwy 71, Spicewood, TX 78669
Beef ribs at Opie’s
Beef ribs at Opie’s
Opie’s Barbecue/Facebook

What you see is what you get at the Spicewood barbecue joint. The giant pit that greets you when you enter is full of succulent, fatty, and delightfully seasoned brisket. Or perhaps it’s the enormous pork chops, jalapeno-cheese sausages, or the tender ribs that are more appealing. Whatever you order, pick up a few sides to go with it: a heaping serving of spicy corn, tater tot casserole, and the off-menu Coca-Cola cake. The restaurant is open for takeout and indoor dine-in services.

9504 E State Hwy 71
Spicewood, TX 78669

2. Kitchen at Southold F+C

330 Minor Threat Lane, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

The stellar Fredericksburg winery recently opened up an on-site restaurant, which focuses on serving dishes that pair well with, well, wine in a stunning space with an equally as great view. The restaurant is open for evening dine-in service, with indoor and outdoor seating; reservations are recommended.

330 Minor Threat Lane
Fredericksburg, TX 78624

3. Der Lindenbaum

312 E Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

On top of cuisine heavily influenced by Austin’s neighbors to the south, the Texas Hill Country has an overlay of German heritage thanks to the Old World immigrants who settled in this region in the mid-1800s. Get a taste of that Central Texas-German cuisine at the Fredericksburg restaurant, which boasts Ingrid Hohmann, a European-trained chef known for cooking up traditional German recipes like schnitzel, bratwurst, and made-from-scratch strudels and Black Forest cake. The restaurant is open for indoor dine-in service.

312 E Main St
Fredericksburg, TX 78624

4. Redbud Cafe & Pub

409 4th St., Blanco, TX 78606
A burger from Redbud Cafe
A burger from Redbud Cafe
Redbud Cafe & Pub/Facebook

The social hub on the main square of the historic town of Blanco (a city featured in the Coen Brothers’s True Grit remake), the cafe satisfies its patrons with everything from burgers on jalapeno sourdough buns to wraps filled with roasted red pepper hummus and kalamata olives. Take time to browse through the adjacent gift shop, which sells pottery and products from the Redbud owners Jon and Jan Brieger’s family lavender farm. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in and online and call-ahead takeout services.

409 4th St.
Blanco, TX 78606

5. The Leaning Pear

111 River Rd, Wimberley, TX 78676
Stuffed flank steak from the Leaning Pear
Stuffed flank steak from the Leaning Pear
The Leaning Pear/Facebook

This romantic eatery is a popular lunchtime spot, tucked on a quiet corner of downtown Wimberley along Cypress Creek. Fill up on sandwiches like the BBLT — applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, and double-cream French brie on toasted sourdough — and wood-fired pizzas, or heartier dishes like duck confit and grilled hangar steak. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in and takeout services.

111 River Rd
Wimberley, TX 78676

6. Little Gretel

518 River Rd, Boerne, TX 78006
Kolaches from Little Gretel
Kolaches from Little Gretel
Little Gretel/Facebook

Owner and Czech native Denise Mazal favors wild game at her European restaurant and biergarten in Boerne — antelope, venison, boar, and rabbit have all found their place on the menu. Honoring her heritage, traditional kolaches and klobasniky are made in-house and filled with everything from wurst to povidla (plum jelly). The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in and call-ahead takeout services.

518 River Rd
Boerne, TX 78006

7. Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar

1287 Gruene Rd, Gruene, TX 78130
Barbecue ribs at Gristmill
Barbecue ribs at Gristmill
Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar/Facebook

In the historic district of New Braunfels, the best thing to do after two-stepping at the state's oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall, is to do nothing at all while sitting on the porch overlooking the banks of the Guadalupe River. Stop in at the restaurant and pull up a bench on the open-air patio for great wings, quesadillas, chicken fried steak, and a cold beer. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in service.

1287 Gruene Rd
Gruene, TX 78130

8. Krause's Cafe

148 S Castell Ave, New Braunfels, TX 78130

The revitalized longtime German beer hall and restaurant in New Braunfels serves up plentiful draft beers, schnitzels, and sandwiches in its lively mostly alfresco space. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

148 S Castell Ave
New Braunfels, TX 78130

9. Lost Maples Cafe

384 Main Sreet, Utopia, TX

There must be a wormhole in Utopia because this no-frills cafe recalls a simpler decade. Housed in a historic building (built sometime before 1904), the place has been serving comfort food since 1986. An expansive menu has everything from grilled cheese on Texas toast and cheese enchiladas, to big slices of fudge pecan pie.

384 Main Sreet
Utopia, TX

10. The Laurel Tree

18956 N FM 187, Utopia, TX 78884

Upscale food from a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef puts the utopia in small-town Utopia. The restaurant is set in a charming stone building amid 400+-year-old oak trees. Utilizing a European-style “guest table” service, chef Laurel Waterss’ restaurant is BYOB and only open on Saturdays for lunch and dinner — but dishes like chicken with mushrooms and artichoke hearts in puff pastry, served with fresh vegetables like pesto scalloped potatoes, round out the rotating menu. The restaurant is open for reservations-only lunch and dinner dine-in services.

18956 N FM 187
Utopia, TX 78884

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