Each week in Austin360, we’re offering a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: Whether they’ve been around 10 years or 50, these restaurants have helped establish Austin’s culinary identity. More restaurants broken down by category here.
Austin Land & Cattle. 1205 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-1813, ALCSteaks.com. No pretense, just good steaks, a fun mood and a bar that serves strong drinks and excellent happy hour specials, such as a filling steak sandwich.
Bouldin Creek Cafe. 1900 S. First St. 512-416-1601, BouldinCreek.com. One of Austin’s true temples to vegetarian and vegan fare, even the most avid meat-eater will be impressed with dishes like portobello fajitas or the zucchini migas.
Casino El Camino. 517 E. Sixth St. 512-469-9330, CasinoElCamino.Net. All reds and blacks, this Sixth Street classic has a devilish attitude and serves up fat, peppery burgers off a grill, like a garden party along the River Styx.
Chuy’s. Multiple locations (the original is at 1728 Barton Springs Road). 512-474-4452, Chuys.com. Fajitas served on fluffy tortillas and specials such as the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo (beef Tex-Mex enchilada, cheese ranchero enchilada, chicken tomatillo enchilada, a seasoned ground sirloin crispy taco and homemade tostada chips dipped in chile con queso) have made this place a local and now nationwide sensation.
County Line. 6500 W. Bee Cave Road, 5204 FM 2222. 512-327-1742, countyline.com. This local barbecue behemoth has been cranking the ‘cue for 38 years at its original location, and has since expanded to another Austin location by the lake and several more around Texas.
Crown & Anchor Pub. 2911 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-322-9168, CrownAndAnchorPub.com. The Crown and Anchor opened in 1987, and the gristle-edged burgers have a flavor that makes it possible the same flat-top has been in service for all 26 of the years. That’s a good thing. Get the double with bacon and cheese.
Eastside Café. 2113 Manor Road. 512-476-5858, EastsideCafeAustin.com. Comforting dishes that take a light approach, relying on seasonal vegetables at this quaint house in East Austin.
Hill’s Café. 4700 S. Congress Ave. 512-851-9300, HillsCafe.com. Time has not left much of a mark on this classic place where you can always rely on the chicken fried steak.
Hoover’s Cooking. 2002 Manor Road. 512-479-5006, HooversCooking.com. Get the chicken fried steak, mustard greens and Caribbean rice at this place that serves up comforting, rib-sticking classics with soul.
Hudson’s on the Bend. 3509 RM 620 N. 512-266-1369, HudsonsOnTheBend.com. Enjoy exotic game, excellent steaks and attentive service in this unique and lovely setting.
Hyde Park Bar & Grill. 4206 Duval St. 512-458-3168, HPBNG.com. There’s something of a “Cheers” vibe at this old neighborhood haunt known for their fries. (Also 4521 West Gate Blvd.)
Juan in a Million. 2300 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-472-3872, JuanInAMillion.com. This East Austin restaurant has been putting out Tex-Mex classics such as huevos rancheros and breakfast tacos for more than 30 years.
Kerbey Lane. Multiple locations. 512-447-3767, kerbeylanecafe.com. An Austin original that has been interested in conscientious sourcing since before it was popular.
Magnolia Cafe. 1920 S. Congress Ave., 2304 Lake Austin Blvd. 512-445-0000, themagnoliacafe.com. Funky and fun, this place is a testament to the fact that pancakes and omelets tastes good any time of the day or night. So do quesadillas.
Matt’s El Rancho. 2613 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-462-9333, MattsElRancho.com. A 61-year-old Austin institution offering Mexican food in a sprawling but welcoming space.
Maudie’s. Multiple locations. maudies.com. If you haven’t had Maudie’s Diablo Sol Food queso, you can’t really call yourself an Austinite. These Tex-Mex purveyors have recently moved to serving all-natural beef and pork and organic eggs.
Shady Grove. 1624 Barton Springs Road. 512-474-9991, TheShadyGrove.com. The family-friendly restaurant located amid the grove of pecan trees keeps the crowds coming in with green chile hamburgers, chicken fried steak and queso catfish.
Shoal Creek Saloon. 909 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-474-0805, shoalcreeksaloon.com. Who dat gonna serve you some Gulf oysters and a roast beef po’ boy? You know who.
South Congress Cafe. 1600 S. Congress Ave. 512-447-3905, southcongresscafe.com. This bright and airy spot on South Congress consistently executes solid Southwestern flavors with dishes like fettuccine salsa fresca and coriander-rubbed grilled lamb.
Threadgill’s. 6416 N. Lamar Blvd., 301 W. Riverside Drive. 512-451-5440, Threadgills.com. It doesn’t get much more Austin than this house of home-cooking. Meat eaters run for the chicken fried steak, while vegetarians get more than lip-service with the heaping helping of side dishes.
Top Notch Hamburgers. 7525 Burnet Road. 512-452-2181, TopNotchAustin.com. New ownership was wise not to change the aesthetics at this classic car-hop spot that was featured in “Dazed and Confused.” The charcoal-grilled burgers have a unique flavor, and the fried chicken is always crispy.
Vespaio. 1610 S. Congress Ave. 512-441-6100, AustinVespaio.com. A classy spin on red-sauce Italian, Vespaio has been a long-standing staple on South Congress thanks to dishes like their lasagna and veal scaloppine.
Z’Tejas. Multiple locations. 512-478-5355, ztejas.com/locations.The original treehouse on West Sixth Street opened almost 25 years ago and has expanded across the city and states west with Southwestern favorites like green chile pork nachos, red chile and mango steak salad and pepita-crusted chicken.