Austin is known for its appetizing array of barbecue and Tex-Mex joints, but during the last few years, it’s transformed into quite the foodie paradise. So when you’re craving something besides a rack of ribs, try one of these amazing Austin restaurants.
As soon as you get off the plane, head down Airport Boulevard for the best modernized Spanish food you’ll ever eat—no bull. Chef-owner Shawn Cirkiel and executive chef Ryan Shields perfectly take classic Spanish ingredients, and using their own techniques, turn them into mouthwatering masterpieces. Try the jamón croquettes and the seafood paella, or enjoy a classic Spanish tapa with them for brunch on Saturday or Sunday.
For the best take on contemporary American cuisine, Emmer & Rye is your spot. This cozy farm-to-table restaurant cooks with only the season’s best ingredients, serving it up Dim Sum style. Their dinner and brunch menus change based on the season, and sometimes even the day, so we can’t tell you what to get; but we can tell you that whatever you do get, it’ll be delicious.
Po’boys aren’t just for the folk in New Orleans. This cultural mash up restaurant definitely gives the regular po’boys a run for their money. The menu isn’t extravagant, but it doesn’t need to be. Get the General Tso’s Chicken or Honey Walnut Shrimp sandwich, and make sure to end your visit on a sweet note with a scoop of their homemade soft serve ice cream.
Fried fish, fish tacos, shrimp and grits and even a raw bar—if you’re looking for seafood fix, this is where to go. While Salt Traders Coastal Cooking is technically in Round Rock (about 30 minutes from Austin), the seafood is so good here it’s worth the short drive outside the city. And the salt around your martini glass, they have happy hour Monday through Friday from 3:30-6:30 p.m.
Austin’s Best Bars
Being a college town, we can’t forget to mention some of the city’s best local bars. After a Longhorn victory or after your business meeting, pop in and pop a top at one of these Austin bars.
Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden
Located in downtown Austin, this beer garden is overflowing with good stuff. There are always more than 100 beers on tap, and as its name suggests, it has 30 salacious house made sausages on the menu as well. Banger’s is a laidback places to eat, drink and hangout with your two-legged and four-legged best friends (it’s a dog-friendly establishment).
Sometimes you need something a little stronger than a beer. And when you do, 400 Rabbits gives you the right kind of thump. This South Austin bar and cocktail lounge, which adjoins the Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane, spends its time making brilliant tequila and mescal based cocktails.
Inspired by the reckless ladies in your life and 1970s Palm Beach clubs, Kitty Cohen’s has it all—a retro feel, specialty drinks and punches, an outdoor kitchen and shaded poolside seating. What more could your legal self want?
Places to Stay
After a night of dinner and bar hopping, take a cab back to a comfortable hotel room where you can sleep off all the seafood and shots you consumed.
810 Red River St.
This downtown hotel makes you feel at home, no matter how far away from it you might be. When you’re not sleeping, sip on a cocktail poolside or take a walking tour of some of the city’s nearby sites.
3121 Palm Way
Beautiful, relaxing and friendly have all been used to describe this North Austin hotel. Staff goes out of their way to make your stay enjoyable, and it’s location puts you near numerous shopping and dining options.
1091 Domain Dr.
If you like fire pits, patios and a great social atmosphere, Lone Star Court is for you. Although new construction, it’s made to look and feel like a cozy, old wood cabin.
No matter where you stay or what Austin attractions or eateries you visit, you’ll be ready to go back as soon as you leave.