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A black cast-iron skillet with roasted chicken breast, yellow creamy grits, and sliced green vegetables.
Chicken and grits from the Leaning Pear.
The Leaning Pear

10 Must-Visit Dining Destinations in the Texas Hill Country

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

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Chicken and grits from the Leaning Pear.
| The Leaning Pear

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, pie, and winery options, or dig into the offerings within Fredericksburg, Dripping Springs, Johnson City, and San Antonio (essential and new)

This article was originally written by Jane Kellogg Murray.

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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.

Opie's Barbecue

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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 tender pork 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.

Pizzeria Sorellina

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While the address’s original parent restaurant, the fine-dining destination Apis, closed permanently, its younger sibling pizzeria remains open on the six-acre property backed by the Pedernales River. The focus is wood-fired Neapolitan pizza with toppings ranging from house-cured wild boar salumi, loads of vegetables, melty cheeses, and more. Accompanying the pies are nice plates like oven-roasted cauliflower, nicoise salad, and pastas. Takeout orders can be placed online, and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Der Lindenbaum

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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.

Abby Jane Bakeshop

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The Dripping Springs bakery courtesy of extremely talented baker/owner Abby Love is full of wonderful breads, pastries, and more. It’s even more delightful when you learn that the team makes use of grains created by next-door neighbor Barton Springs Mill. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Redbud Cafe & Pub

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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. Takeout orders can be placed online or over the phone; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

The Leaning Pear

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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-creamed French brie on toasted sourdough — and wood-fired pizzas, or heartier dishes like meatloaf with scallion mashed potatoes and roasted chicken with green chile-bacon grits. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar

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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 services.

Krause's Cafe

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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.

Lost Maples Cafe

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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 patty melts on Texas toast to cheese enchiladas to big slices of fudge pecan pie.

The Laurel Tree

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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 Waters’s prix fixe restaurant is BYOB and only open on Saturdays for lunch and dinner. The menu often changes but expect dishes like chicken with mushrooms and artichoke hearts in puff pastry, served with fresh vegetables like pesto scalloped potatoes. The restaurant is open for reservations-only lunch and dinner dine-in services.

Opie's Barbecue

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 tender pork 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.

Pizzeria Sorellina

While the address’s original parent restaurant, the fine-dining destination Apis, closed permanently, its younger sibling pizzeria remains open on the six-acre property backed by the Pedernales River. The focus is wood-fired Neapolitan pizza with toppings ranging from house-cured wild boar salumi, loads of vegetables, melty cheeses, and more. Accompanying the pies are nice plates like oven-roasted cauliflower, nicoise salad, and pastas. Takeout orders can be placed online, and there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Der Lindenbaum

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.

Abby Jane Bakeshop

The Dripping Springs bakery courtesy of extremely talented baker/owner Abby Love is full of wonderful breads, pastries, and more. It’s even more delightful when you learn that the team makes use of grains created by next-door neighbor Barton Springs Mill. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in areas.

Redbud Cafe & Pub

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. Takeout orders can be placed online or over the phone; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

The Leaning Pear

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-creamed French brie on toasted sourdough — and wood-fired pizzas, or heartier dishes like meatloaf with scallion mashed potatoes and roasted chicken with green chile-bacon grits. Takeout orders can be placed online; there are indoor and outdoor dine-in services.

Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar

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 services.

Krause's Cafe

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.

Lost Maples Cafe

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 patty melts on Texas toast to cheese enchiladas to big slices of fudge pecan pie.

The Laurel Tree

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 Waters’s prix fixe restaurant is BYOB and only open on Saturdays for lunch and dinner. The menu often changes but expect dishes like chicken with mushrooms and artichoke hearts in puff pastry, served with fresh vegetables like pesto scalloped potatoes. The restaurant is open for reservations-only lunch and dinner dine-in services.

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