Follow live: Ask Matthew Odam about his 2015 top restaurants in Austin

Olamaie restaurant, wagyu beef with carolina gold rice, in Austin, Tx., on Wednesday, September 30, 2015. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Olamaie restaurant, wagyu beef with carolina gold rice, in Austin, Tx., on Wednesday, September 30, 2015. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Restaurant writer Matthew Odam will be fielding questions from readers on Twitter about his 2015 top restaurants, the Austin dining scene and more. Follow along here at 11 a.m., and tweet @odam with the hashtag #AskMO to ask your own question.

Via 313 announces opening date for brick-and-mortar restaurant

Extremely popular pizza trailer operators Via 313 will open their first brick-and-mortar location at William Cannon and US 290 in Oak Hill on April 29.

The restaurant from Detroit transplants and brothers Zane and Brandon Hunt will serve Via 313’s trademark fluffy, square, Detroit-style pizzas along with a “pub-style” pizza with a crispier crust.

The restaurant will offer table service and serve beer and wine.

Via 313 recently landed on my Best Pizzas in Austin list. Find out where they ranked at

– Matthew Odam

Aaron Franklin among Austin semifinalists for James Beard Awards

lhs Franklin BBQ 01
Aaron Franklin runs Franklin Barbecue. Photo by Laura Skelding

Olamaie, Grae Nonas, David Bull, Bryce Gilmore, Sam Hellman-Mass and Aaron Franklin are semifinalists for this year’s James Beard Awards.

Olamaie earned the nod for best new restaurant, and its chef Nonas is among the chefs recognized in the Rising Star category. Mark Buley and Sam Hellman-Mass, the chefs behind Odd Duck — the sister restaurant of Barley Swine — share a joint nomination in that category.

Barley Swine’s Gilmore is a semi-finalist for the third year in a row and has been a finalist the previous two years. Bull, executive chef and partner at fine dining restaurant Congress has also received semi-finalist and finalist nods, was nominated for “Best New Chef Southwest” in 2007. This is the first Beard nomination for Franklin, the pitmaster behind his eponymous barbecue restaurant on East 11th Street.

Where to eat New Year’s Day brunch in Austin

Brunch at Iron Cactus.
Brunch at Iron Cactus.

Kick off 2015 with everyone’s favorite meal – brunch. We called our favorite brunch spots to find out their hours for New Year’s Day brunch.

Annies Cafe & Bar. 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 319 Congress Ave. 512-472-1884,

Banger’s. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  79 & 81 Rainey St. 512-386-1656,

Blue Star Cafeteria. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 4800 Burnet Road, Suite C300. 512-454-7827,

Chez Zee. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 5406 Balcones Drive. 512-454-2666,

Contigo. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 2027 Anchor Lane. 512-614-2260,

Eastside Cafe. 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. 2113 Manor Road. 512-476-5858,

1886 Cafe & Bakery. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 614 E. Sixth St. at the Driskill Hotel. 512-391-7066,

Epicerie. 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 2307 Hancock Drive. 512-371-6840.

Frank. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 407 Colorado St. 512-494-6916,

Gourdough’s. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 2700 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-912-9070,

Iron Cactus. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 10001 Stonelake Blvd., 512-794-8778; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 12912 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave, 512-692-8059. (The downtown location will not be serving brunch.)

Jeffrey’s. 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. 1204 West Lynn. 512-477-5584.

Max’s Wine Dive. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 207 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-904-0111,

Mulberry. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 360 Nueces St. 320-0297,

Olivia. 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 2043 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-804-2700,

Opal Divine’s. Marina: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 12709 N. MoPac Blvd. (Loop 1), 512- 733-5353; Penn Field: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 3601 S. Congress Ave., 512-707-0237; Davenport: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 3801 Capital of Texas Hwy N., 512-369-3709,

Red’s Porch. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 3508 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-440-7337,

Roaring Fork Stonelake. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 10850 Stonelake Blvd. 512-342-2700,

Russell’s Bistro. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1601 W. 38th St. 512-467-7877,

Sawyer & Co. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 4827 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-531-9033,

Snack Bar. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1224 S. Congress Ave. 512-445-2626,

Taverna. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 258 W. Second St. 512-477-1001,

TNT/Tacos and Tequila. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 507 Pressler St., Suite 400. 512-436-8226,

Trio. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 98 San Jacinto Blvd. at the Four Seasons Hotel. 512-685-8300,

Z’Tejas. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1110 W. Sixth St., 512-478-5355; 9400A Arboretum Blvd., 512-346-3506; 10525 W. Parmer Lane, 512-388-7772.


Matthew Odam’s 2014 Dining Guide livechat

Austin360’s 2014 Austin Dining Guide has been released, featuring critic Matthew Odam’s picks for the Top 25 restaurants in Austin, as well as 100 other places to have in your pocket as suggestions for a night out.

At 11 a.m. Friday, October 31, you can join Matthew for a live chat to discuss the dining guide, his criteria for picking the best restaurants in Austin and what it’s like to be the guy who gets to make those calls

Austin Restaurants: Italian

The lasagna bolognese at Winflo Osteria consists of ground beef, Beeler’s Italian sausage, bechamel sauce, herb ricotta, and fresh mozarella.
The lasagna bolognese at Winflo Osteria consists of ground beef, Beeler’s Italian sausage, bechamel sauce, herb ricotta, and fresh mozarella.

Restaurant listings*

Each week in Austin360, we offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: Italian restaurants. July 29 is National Lasagna Day. Sure, it’s a made-up holiday, but it gives me a chance to run down some of Austin’s best Italian options. For more, visit and for more restaurants by category, head to .

(*This is not a comprehensive list. Don’t see one of your favorites below? Send me an email at and I will add it to our online listings.)

Guide on the go

Take Matthew Odam’s 2013 Dining Guide — a list of his top 50 restaurants — with you by bookmarking on your smartphone or tablet.

Andiamo Ristorante. 2521 Rutland Drive. 512-719-3377, Authentic Italian in North Austin with a family-owned vibe and travelogue photos on the wall of the Italian peninsula. Try the ravioli di zucca.

aRoma Italian Kitchen. 3403 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-900-8670, A recent addition to the South Austin dining scene, aRoma serves classic seafood and pasta dishes, along with a roster of about 10 Neapolitan pizzas.

Asti. 408 E. 43rd St. 512-451-1218, Neighborhood Italian with a sophisticated touch in the middle of Hyde Park. Get the rigatoni and add sausage.

Backspace. 507 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-474-9899, Neapolitan pies from Parkside chef Shawn Cirkiel’s small restaurant that also delivers charcuterie and a nice roster of antipasti.

Botticelli’s South Congress. 1321 S. Congress Ave. 512-916-1315, Intimate Italian dining on bustling South Congress, with a patio out back for a relaxing glass of wine and maybe some tunes. Try the homemade ravioli with butternut squash in a brown butter and sage sauce.

Bufalina Pizza. 1519 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-524-2523, The best Neapolitan pizza in the city and a great Italian wine list at this little East Austin restaurant makes the wait worth it. Also try the hand-pulled mozzarella and charcuterie plate, sourced from places like Iowa’s La Quercia.

Cipollina. 1213 W. Lynn St. 512-477-5211, Handmade pastas and crunchy and chewy pizzas are stand-outs at this charming little Clarksville spot.

Due Forni. 106 E. Sixth St. 512-391-9300, The restaurant serves Roman and Neapolitan pizzas, using two separate Napolitano ovens (hence the name).

Enoteca. 1610 S. Congress Ave. 512-441-7672, Vespaio’s cute little sister, Enoteca makes very good pizza, piping hot pastas and solid Italian desserts.

Gusto Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar. 4800 Burnet Road. 512-458-1100, Pizza, pasta and all the expected Italian proteins at this Central Austin restaurant where kids eat free all summer.

Mandola’s Italian Market. Get classic Italian antipasti, daily specials and bubbling pizzas at one of three locations around town.

Olive & June. 3411 Glenview Ave. 512-467-9898, Small shared plates and fresh pasta are major draws at this gorgeous multi-tiered restaurant.

Sagra. 1050 E. 11th St. 512-535-5988, Tradition with a slight twist, with dishes from up and down the boot, at this relocated East Austin restaurant.

Siena Ristorante Toscana. 512-349-7667, A taste of central Italy in Central Texas at this massive Texa-terranean style manse in West Austin. Try the tagliatelle all Bolognese or the pappardelle with Chianti-braised wild boar. When in Siena …

Taverna. 258 W. Second St. 512-477-1001, Almost a dozen pasta dishes, pizzas such as the pizza al gorgonzola with walnuts and roasted pears, and a popular brunch have helped establish this Italian restaurant in the 2nd Street District.

Vespaio. 1610 S. Congress Ave. 512-441-6100, A classy spin on Americanized Italian, Vespaio has been a long-standing staple on South Congress thanks to dishes like their lasagna and cioppino.

Winflo Osteria. 1315 W. Sixth St. 512-582-1027, Enjoy red sauce classics and a glass of wine on the large patio shaded by a sprawling oak.