Reader Jamil Bata asked which restaurant would be my last stop before moving away from Austin. Good question. Tough question. It brings up others: Do you eat somewhere you can only eat in Austin? Do you eat a cuisine you can’t find other places? Do you eat somewhere with a high nostalgia quotient? So many factors come into play, like the destination of your move away from Austin.
Since I have the space, I decided to give Bata (and you) the long version of my answer.
Where would you eat your final meal in Austin? Let me know in the comments.
Take my 2014 Dining Guide — a list of my top 25 restaurants and 75 other places I like to eat — with you by bookmarking austin360.com/diningguide on your smartphone or tablet.
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.
Barley Swine. 2024 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-394-8150, barleyswine.com. Chef Bryce Gilmore and his team create beautiful and delicious dishes sourced locally. You won’t find dishes with these same ingredients once you leave town.
Bouldin Creek Cafe. 1900 S. First St. 512-416-1601, bouldincreek.com. This fun and funky café delivers solid vegetarian and vegan dishes, along with a true taste of Austin.
Bufalina. 1519 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-524-2523, bufalinapizza.com. Pizza may be my favorite food, and if I’m leaving Austin, I want to have some of the best the city has to offer.
Casino El Camino. 517 E. Sixth St. 512-469-9330, casinoelcamino.net. Navigating the gruff staff, dark ambiance, and coarse-grind burgers at this Sixth Street bar is a rite of passage. I’d have to dip back in for one more burger smothered in cheese and peppers. And a whiskey.
Congress. 200 Congress Ave. 512-827-2760, congressaustin.com/congress. Saying goodbye to Austin would be bittersweet with dinner at chef David Bull’s restaurant, which features some of the finest service in the city.
Crown & Anchor Pub. 2911 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-322-9168, crownandanchorpub.com. One last double cheeseburger with bacon and a cold beer on the patio of this 28-year-old campus-area jewel would make me a happy man.
Dai Due. 2406 Manor Road. 512-524-0688, daidue.com. Love what these locavores do at every level of the game. It’s hard to think of a more quintessential Austin restaurant at the moment.
Franklin Barbecue. 900 E. 11th St. 512-653-1187, franklinbarbecue.com. Wherever I’m going, they don’t have barbecue like this.
Home Slice Pizza. 1415 S. Congress Ave. 512-444-7437, homeslicepizza.com. A healthy dose of nostalgia and some excellent New York-style pizzas would be a great way to say goodbye. And I could walk to the Continental Club or C-Boy’s afterward.
Jeffrey’s. 1204 W. Lynn St. 512-477-5584, jeffreysofaustin.com. A stroll down memory lane comes with some of the best steaks and one of the best bars in the city.
John Mueller Meat Co. 2500 E. Sixth St. johnmuellermeatco.com. You ain’t gonna find brisket or a character with this kind of bark anywhere outside of Central Texas.
Kyōten. 1211 E. Sixth St. kyotenaustin.com. Where are you moving where you can get exceptional sushi from a food truck? Thought so.
Lenoir. 1807 S. First St. 512-215-9778, lenoirrestaurant.com. Chef Todd Duplechan will make you regret leaving town, as he takes local ingredients to replicate flavors of hot climates (Africa, Spain, Southeast Asia) from around the world.
Licha’s Cantina. 1306 E. Sixth St. 512-480-5960, lichascantina. You’re moving somewhere you can find Mexican street food like huaraches and tacos in a cute old shack that has ample outdoor seating? Didn’t think so.
Little Deli. 7101 Woodrow Ave. 512-467-7402, littledeliandpizza.com. The mid-century shopping center and New Jersey-style pizzas take me back in time every single time.
Luke’s Inside Out. 1109 S. Lamar Blvd. lukesinsideout.com. It’s not just the food I’d miss about Austin; it’s the people. A juicy burger and some juicy Old Austin stories from chef Luke Bibby would make for a fitting send-off.
El Naranjo. 85 Rainey St. 512-474-2776, elnaranjo-restaurant.com. Only a few cities around the country have restaurants that serve refined interior Mexican food like that prepared by Iliana de la Vega.
Odd Duck. 1201 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-433-6521, oddduckaustin.com. Eating here one last time would be like a final visit to your grandmother’s house, if she were a James Beard-nominated chef.
Olamaie. 1610 San Antonio St. 512-474-2796, olamaieaustin.com. No matter where you’re headed, you probably won’t find fresh, inventive and refined Southern cuisine like this.
Perla’s. 1400 S. Congress Ave. 512-291-7300, perlasaustin.com. I’ve probably spent more time on this patio than any other in Austin.
Polvos. 2004 S. First St. 512-441-5446, polvosaustin.com. The service can be a bit uneven, and the fajitas a little greasy, but it feels like home for this South Austinite. And that salsa bar …
P. Terry’s. Multiple locations. pterrys.com. I’ve had more burgers from the drive-thru on South Lamar Boulevard than any burger joint in Austin.
Qui. 1600 E. Sixth St. 512-436-9626, quiaustin.com. Other cities have award-winning chefs and great service, but this place feels uniquely Austin.
Salt & Time. 1912 E. Seventh St. 512-524-1383, saltandtime.com. You gotta say goodbye to the folks at your local butcher shop, especially when they make great sandwiches and charcuterie.
Tam Deli. 8222 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-834-6458, facebook.com/tamdeliandcafe. Some of my favorite people making my favorite Vietnamese food in town.
Top Notch Hamburgers. 7525 Burnet Road. 512-452-2181, topnotchaustin.com. Kill two birds with one stone: Visit a piece of Austin history and get a great chargrilled burger (or fried chicken).
Uchi. 801 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-916-4808, uchiaustin.com. Some of my favorite sushi in the country, a great vibe, and they’ve been neighbors for a decade. Hard to imagine this not being my final stop in Austin.
Veracruz All-Natural. Multiple locations. veracruztacos.com. If you’re moving somewhere that has better tacos than the migas at these trailers, more power to you.
Vespaio. 1610 S. Congress Ave. 512-441-6100, austinvespaio.com. Get the corner table and feel like a made man as you dine one final time on the best lasagna in town.
Via 313. Multiple locations. via313.com. Unless you’re moving to Detroit, you’ll have trouble finding better slices of thick, fluffy, cheesy pizza.
Wink. 1014 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-482-8868, winkrestaurant.com. The hospitable farm-to-table trailblazers in Austin have hosted me for several memorable meals over the years — why not one more?