Live music and tasty eats in abundance, that’s what Austin is about. Well, also outdoor activities, manicured beards, cyclist’s right to the road, vintage-branded beers, rescue dogs, and start-ups but we’ll table those for now. What Austin really has in abundance is an entire city full of people who have yet to even scratch the surface on all of the out-of-this-world, smack-ya-mama-in-the-face, first-slot-on-the-speed dial, crazy awesome restaurants. The sheer amount of these tasty eateries can sometimes make the task of settling on just one a little daunting. We’ve broken down a mix of our favorite Austin restaurants, both old and new, to help get you started expanding your ATX taste palette.
Yes, it’s on East 11th Street. Yes, hipsters eat there sometimes. I, too, went to Blue Dahlia for the first time with these exact prejudices. And then I had the goat cheese and red pepper tartine and I fell in love. (Unfamiliar with tartines? They are simply the French take on an open-face sandwich.)
Fav Food: Happy Hour Tartines! The hummus, avocado and sprouts tartine ($5) and the salmon and garlic herb cream cheese ($6) are both flawless.
Tasty Beverage: $2 Mimosas…I’ll leave it at that.
Tip(s): Happy hour is too good to pass up. From 3-6:30 on weekdays you can order select delicious things for HALF off. A $5 tartine? You simply cannot beat that.
Provence, France in Austin, Texas. My heaven on earth! This place does a phenomenal job of replicating the rustic yet refined cuisine and overall atmosphere of that region. Not to mention they have an impeccable wine list, a friendly and cordial staff, and a gorgeous wine room that seats 10. If you’re like me, you’ll only need to go once to fall in love (but you’ll go again and again just to be sure your love is true…it is).
Fav Food: The Chicken Liver Pate. It’s on the appetizer menu but I would definitely consider ordering it as an entrée. Trust me, you will NOT want to share!
Tasty Beverage: I loved the Lambrusco Rose which is a sparkling Rose and very refreshing on a warm spring day. Their entire wine list is fantastic. It would be hard to go wrong!
Insider Tip(s): If you are in the mood for cheese, there is a cheese board on the dessert menu that is just as good as an appetizer. Also, there is a 10 person wine room that can be reserved for private dinners, and it’s kept at normal wine cellar temperature year-round.
Formerly Madam Mam’s, Sap’s may have undergone a shake-up, but the tastiness has prevailed. Long and short of it is that Ms. Mam and Mr. Sap cut ties and although we’re not picking sides here, I’m picking Sap’s side. Delicious food and zero judgment when you make multiple to-go orders in a week (“Yep…it’s Callie…again.”). This place is so consistently delicious that even though I’m not even close to having tried everything on the menu, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that anything they make is going to blow your face off with its awesomeness (and possibly spiciness).
Fav Food: This is like picking your favorite kid but here it goes. My absolute favorite dish is P4 – Green Curry with Fried Tofu. Or the Red Curry…or the Tom Kha…or the Pad See Ew. They are all tasty gifts to the world!
Tasty Beverage: Admittedly, Sap’s isn’t trying to woo you with its vast drink selection. They have a few interesting Thai beers but their Thai Iced Tea is where it’s at!
Insider Tip(s): If you’re really hungry and trying to decide between ordering out or eating there, eat there. They give you WAY more food when you dine in as opposed to picking up food to-go.
Right, so, Alamo Drafthouse is by no means ‘underground’ but I figured I would highlight this particular location because I love it oh, so much (Re: Tips). I will go straight Augustus Gloop on some hatch green chili fries and that’s just to get things started. In fact, I would venture to say that the world would be a slightly dimmer place if it weren’t for the ingenious combination of dinner AND a movie. Throw in their zero texting tolerance and you my friends, have the pinnacle of culinary entertainment.
Fav Food: Chicken and Chorizo Pizza. Don’t fear it. Embrace it!
Tasty Beverage: I don’t drink so I haven’t explored the cocktail list but you have to try the Espresso Chocolate Shake.
Insider Tip(s): It’s definitely best to go in the morning because the tickets are usually cheaper and no one really goes that early so you can just kick back and enjoy.
Oh 888, where do I even start professing my love for you? 888 (actually said ‘Triple 8’ I just learned) calls itself “Pan Asian” but what they really mean to say is that they serve everything from Vietnamese to Indian and wreck shop doing so. Their service is always super quick and the staff is really helpful and not afraid to help you navigate their HUGE menu. And, as an added bonus, they’re open until 2 am for those middle of the night Pho cravings. They’re a thing, promise.
Fav Food: Anything, seriously. It’s all good! My favorite is their Chicken Pho but the Pad Thai and Shrimp Spring Rolls are delicious as well.
Tasty Beverage: Not really a huge drink place BUT they do serve their water in funky color changing glasses, so don’t be alarmed when your water looks green.
Insider Tip(s): The only version of their menu that you can find online has the prices wrong. Add about $2 to those prices and you’ll have a better feel for what you’re going to owe!