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The Best Places to Eat in Austin

Austin is an island of weirdness in the middle of the Lone Star State. It’s an oasis of funky vibes, great music, and extraordinary food. It’s home to legends like Willie Nelson and Matthew McConaughey, and also home to some legendary food like breakfast tacos and queso. But where are the smartest, savviest diners eating out? Check out our Tastemaker Lists. We’ve pulled data from thousands of restaurants to find the top spots among OpenTable's most expert, seasoned diners. From trendy new restaurants to ones that have been around for decades, these restaurants sport some of the best dishes Austin knows. Check out these spots when looking for a memorable Austin meal.

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The OpenTable Team
8 Restaurants
Updated February 26, 2020
Restaurants:Dai Due, El Chile Cafe Manor, Wu Chow
Price Range:$$ - $$$
Cuisines:American, Tex-Mex, Chinese
Neighborhoods:East Austin, Central Austin, Downtown
A photo of Dai Due restaurant

Dai Due

$$$$
American
East Austin
4.9
1764 reviews
Chef Jesse Griffiths and his partner Tamara Mayfield have created an intensely seasonal and local menu featuring regional fare primarily from local ranchers and farmers. They dry, pickle, candy, and smoke their ingredients when out of season just like the pioneers did. Thus, the seasonal menu preserves frontier flavors all year round. The name Dai Due is Italian for “from the two,” derived from the Italian proverb, “From the two kingdoms of nature, choose food with care.” The menu is a testament to carefully chosen ingredients and dishes created with thoughtful precision. The One Dish: Take for example, the Wild Boar Confit with Ginger Bone Broth, Peach Hoisin, Fermented Squash Purée, Apple, Fuyu Persimmon, Chilies, Lime, and Thai Basil. The dish transcends traditional fare, bursting with exciting flavor profiles that, while unique, nod to the land itself and maintain the integrity of the region.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Experiences available
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A photo of El Chile Cafe Manor restaurant

El Chile Cafe Manor

$$$$
Tex-Mex
Central Austin
4.5
356 reviews
El Chile boasts a colorful atmosphere with food to match. Bolivian-born owner Carlos Rivero focuses on the kind of freshness found only in homemade, from-scratch cooking, down to tortillas made in-house daily and margaritas crafted with hand-squeezed lime juice. The elevated menu satisfies all of your traditional Mexican cravings, extraordinarily executed and bursting with fresh flavor. The One Dish: The Pollo Con Mole features chicken breast grilled to perfection, topped with rich mole poblano and sesame seeds alongside rice and refried beans. It should come as no surprise that the mole sauce is housemade as well, and indeed, a must-try. In addition to their food menu, El Chile has made a name for themselves with some of the best margaritas in Austin. There are nine handcrafted varieties (six of which are on the happy hour menu), featuring ingredients such as cantaloupe and cactus fruit.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Wu Chow restaurant

Wu Chow

$$$$
Chinese
Downtown
4.7
1855 reviews
There was much anticipation built up prior to Wu Chow’s opening in 2015, fueled by some very successful pop-ups and an insatiable appetite for authentic, farm-to-table Chinese food and dim sum. Chef Ji Peng Chen and dim sum chef Ling Qi Wu have created a mouthwatering menu of Sichuan and Shanghainese classic ingredients and Cantonese favorites. They serve up drinks tiki-style featuring distinct and aromatic Chinese spirits like chrysanthemum tea-infused moonshine and plum bitters. The food is traditionally served family-style on a lazy Susan to encourage sharing between guests. Chances are you will want to keep it spinning and spinning, because the menu is incredible and there are lots to try. The One Dish: Try the Dim Sum and tea service exclusively on Sundays. Soup dumplings are available the rest of the week as well and are wildly popular. Another good choice — the Shanghai Soup Dumplings stuffed with pork shoulder in a concentrated pork broth with ginger, fresh garlic, scallions, and a dipping sauce for good measure.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Quattro Gatti Ristorante e Pizzeria restaurant

Quattro Gatti Ristorante e Pizzeria

$$$$
Italian
Downtown
4.7
1104 reviews
Nestled in a historic building from 1876 near the Texas State Capitol, Quattro Gatti Ristorante e Pizzeria feels rustic, but with a touch of old glamour and something inherently Austinian. The menu features pastas, fish, pizza, and panini. Fresh baked bread is available for purchase. The bar features classic Italian cocktails and a stunning collection of Mediterranean wines, and a few Texans as well. The One Dish: You'll love the Margherita, packed with the kind of simple and exquisite flavor that speaks to its authenticity as true Italian pizza. They serve it classically with tomato, mozzarella, and basil, but there is a choice to add Berkshire pepperoni, hot Calabrese peppers, mushrooms, and prosciutto di parma. Quattro Gatti has implemented the use of naturally leavened dough through an ancient fermentation process that makes for an even more tasty crust with less gluten. Delicious and digestible!

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Experiences available
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A photo of The Salty Sow restaurant

The Salty Sow

$$$$
Gastro Pub
East Austin
4.8
3333 reviews
Unpretentious, but elegant, Salty Sow is the destination for hearty and modern gastropub fare, local drafts, and one of the best happy hours in Austin. The food here speaks for itself and this is the kind of place where you can be sure to leave feeling full and happy. The One Dish: For instance, The Triple Fat Duck Fat Fries have a reputation that precedes them. You'll find them served up just as they sound –– fried not once, not twice, but thrice in duck fat, topped with two eggs (the kind you want to slice into slowly and watch the golden yoke spill forth), and a rich béarnaise. The menu holds a multitude of mouthwatering entrées and hors d’oeuvres to share like the Bacon and Gruyère Roasted Bone Marrow. They're the kind of place to gather with friends for good company and great eats.

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Takeout available
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A photo of Swift's Attic restaurant

Swift's Attic

$$$$
Tapas / Small Plates
Downtown
4.7
1072 reviews
This 1905 building once housed Swift’s Premium Food Co. and its present day inhabitants have reimagined it as a contemporary space, while remaining faithful to the historic architecture. Swift’s Attic is perhaps one of the most authentically "Austin" spots on this list. The restaurant focuses primarily on two things: farm-to-table and whimsy. They do not ascribe themselves to any particular genre of cuisine, instead embracing creativity in flux fed by a variety of influences. This isn’t to say they aren’t serious. Swift’s Attic boasts 14 primarily local drafts, 24 wines served through a cruvient system, and ice cold liquors on tap that make for some positively ambrosial craft cocktails. The seasonal menu by Chef David Wakefield and Sous Chef Donnie Forehand is imaginative, crafted with humor and harmony. The One Dish: The menu contains a scattering of zany names such as “Sweet Pots,” a vegetarian dish featuring sweet potatoes in a tomato and coconut curry with brussels leaves, spicy peanuts, and fried onions. In addition to their regular menu, on Monday nights they serve up 10 choices of "Big A$$ Burgers," which are reservable and not to miss.

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A photo of ALC Steaks (Austin Land & Cattle) restaurant

ALC Steaks (Austin Land & Cattle)

$$$$
Steakhouse
Downtown
4.7
2250 reviews
Austin Land and Cattle, ALC Steaks for short, stand firm in their philosophy that they aren’t trying to be anything but delicious. Serving up some of the best steaks in Austin, they claim to be the city’s only independent family-owned steakhouse. This joint is inviting and brimming with Austin charm. At ALC, you won’t forget that you are smack dab in the middle of Texas and they have the hand-cut steaks to prove it. The menu provides seafood and poultry options as well, but steak is by far the star of the show. The One Dish: One of the house specialties, the Chicken Fried Sirloin Steak, is juicy and deep fried to a golden brown topped with a generous portion of housemade gravy. There is an unbeatable happy hour as well (hint, hint), featuring a wide selection of sizzling Texas favorites, house wines, and martinis. Oh, and keep an eye out for their newest addition, the ALC Steaks food truck! You can track their next stop via Twitter.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Vince Young Steakhouse restaurant

Vince Young Steakhouse

$$$$
Steakhouse
Downtown
4.6
2748 reviews
Laura and Philip Brown envisioned an intimate, fine-dining spot in downtown Austin. These plans sort of blew up once a friend (beloved Longhorns quarterback Vince Young) overheard them. He became a co-owner and the face of the now-famous steakhouse. The interior is warm and elegant, but of a Texas variety with dark wood floors, sliding barn doors, rawhide wall coverings, and of course, football memorabilia. They commit to the union of food and experience, taking just as much care with the non-steak dishes as the steak itself. The One Dish: Take, for example, the Pork Belly Tacos featuring pork belly crisped to perfection, delightfully seared peaches, and a jalapeño honey glaze. The menu is locally sourced and thoughtfully seasonal. Vince Young Steakhouse succeeds in setting themselves apart from the many steakhouse chains in the area. The wine collection is equally impressive, featuring some of the best bottles from all over the world, even Texas.

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