Austin Restaurants: Day-trip-worthy spots in Central Texas

Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor is one of many Central Texas restaurants perfect for a day-trip.
Austin restaurants: Day-trip-worthy spots in Central Texas

Restaurant listings*

Each week in Austin360, we offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: With summer winding down, I take a look at some places outside of town that make for a nice day-trip.

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

For more, visit austin360.com/thefeed and for more restaurants by category, head to austin360.com/AustinRestaurants.

Albert

Pig Pen. 5435 Ranch Road 1623. 830-644-2042, alberttexas.com. One of the best burgers in Central Texas. Chef-driven bar food from a trailer in an idyllic country setting. Only open on Wednesdays and weekends.

Bastrop

Maxine’s on Main. 905 Main St. 512-303-0919, maxinescafe.com. Great spot for breakfast in the historic town center.

Blanco

Uptown. 315 Main St. 830-833-0738, uptownblanco.com. A touch of sophistication across from the beautiful courthouse.

Red Bud Café. 410 Fourth St. 830-833-0202, redbud-cafe.com. Sandwiches and salads at this cute café on the square.

Coupland

Old Coupland Inn. 101 Hoxie St. 512-856-2777, couplanddancehall.com. You’ll find Central Texas staples like catfish and barbecue, but let’s be honest, you’re getting the chicken-fried steak.

Dripping Springs

The Barber Shop. 207 Mercer St. 512-829-4636, barbershopbar.com. Good place for a frosty pint.

Rolling in Thyme & Dough. 333 U.S. 290. 512-894-0001, thymeanddough.com. Enjoy lunches and baked goods at this cute spot that also has a nursery. They do dinner on Thursdays.

Elgin

Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse. 188 U.S. 290. 512-281-3331, cuetopiatexas.com. You’ve likely had their sausage elsewhere. Get it from the source.

Southside Market. 1212 U.S. 290. 512-281-4650, southsidemarket.com. Sausage with a story that dates back more than a century.

Fredericksburg

Cabernet Grill. 2805 S. RM 16. 830-990-5734, cottonginlodging.com. Texas cuisine, steaks and a nice selection of Hill Country wines.

Otto’s German Bistro. 316 E. Austin St. 830-307-3336, ottosfbg.com. Bistro fare with a German bent off the main drag.

Gruene

Gristmill. 1287 Gruene Road. 830-625-0684, gristmillrestaurant.com. Family-friendly spot feels like dining in an elaborate treehouse.

Hutto

Texan Café. 207 East St. 512-846-2885, texancafe.net. Chicken-fried steak and pie … the culinary backbone of small Texas towns.

Llano

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. 604 W. Young St. 325-247-5713, coopersbbq.com. Authenticity earned over 50 years of smoking great meat.

Lexington

Snow’s. 516 Main St. 979-773-4640, snowsbbq.com. You’ve gotta get up pretty early on Saturday mornings to get some of the best brisket in the state. But it’s worth it.

Lockhart

Black’s Barbecue. 215 N. Main St. 512-398-2712, blacksbbq.com. Probably the best brisket in the Central Texas barbecue Mecca.

Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Que. 1323 S. Colorado St. 512-398-6027. It doesn’t get as many headlines as its barbecue brethren, but this place has been putting out solid smoked meat for more than 30 years.

Smitty’s Market. 208 S. Commerce St. 512-398-9344, smittysmarket.com. The fire pit that greets you in line and the pressed-tin ceiling make this some of the best barbecue-eatin’ ambiance in Central Texas.

Kreuz Market. 619 N. Colorado St. 512-398-2361, kreuzmarket.com. When I pop into the brick building that looks like a massive feed store, I always get jalapeno-cheddar sausage.

Luling

City Market. 633 E. Davis St. 830-875-9019, lulingcitymarket.com. If you can drive from Houston to Wimberley without stopping for ribs here, you’re stronger than me. And a darn fool.

Marble Falls

Blue Bonnet Café. 211 U.S. 281. 830-693-2344, bluebonnetcafe.net. Go on Sundays and get the turkey and dressing at this institution named after the hat, not the flower.

New Braunfels

Alpine Haus. 251 S. Seguin Ave. 830-214-0205, alpinehausnb.com. Get a taste of Germany in the heart of Texas.

Buttermilk Café. 1324 Common St. 830-625-8700, thebuttermilkcafe.com. Carol Irwin gives her chef spin to comfort food at breakfast and lunch.

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. 1125 Texas 337 Loop. 830-627-0627, coopersbbq.com. It doesn’t have the history of the original, but it does have good barbecue.

Huisache Grill. 303 W. San Antonio St. 830-620-9001, huisache.com. New American standards at this handsome building that’s almost 100 years old.

Round Top

Royer’s Cafe. 105 Main St. 979-249-3611, royerscafe.com. Steaks, lamb, quail … OK, OK, you’re going for the pie. But don’t eat dessert first.

Spicewood

Opie’s Barbecue. 9504 Texas 71. 830-693-8660, opiesbarbecue.com. These guys switch it up a bit by smoking over mesquite. They make really good barbecue and tater-tot casserole, which, yes, is a thing.

Taylor

Louie Mueller. 206 W. Second St. 512-352-6206, louiemuellerbarbecue.com. Wayne Mueller runs the restaurant opened by his grandfather 64 years ago. You should try it all but definitely don’t miss the beef rib. They don’t get any better.

Wimberley

Leaning Pear. 111 River Road. 512-847-7327, leaningpear.com. Farm-to-table freshness at this beautiful creek-side restaurant. The chicken-fried quail and corned beef Reuben are two of my favorite sandwiches in the state.

Linda’s Fine Foods. 500 FM 2325. 512-847-5464, lindasfinefoods.com. You just might find some evening music on the porch, and you’ll definitely find some good homemade food with a range of flavor profiles, like Vietnamese noodles and brisket quesadillas.

Guide on the go

Take Matthew Odam’s 2013 Dining Guide — a list of his top 50 restaurants — with you by bookmarking Austin360.com/diningguide2013 on your smartphone or tablet. See the list on your computer ataustin360.com/odamtop50.

Austin Restaurants: Dinner and brunch ideas for an out-of-towner

The burger at Second Bar + Kitchen is just one reason to stop into the New American restaurant on Congress Avenue.
The burger at Second Bar + Kitchen is just one reason to stop into the New American restaurant on Congress Avenue.

Restaurant listings*

Each week in Austin360, we offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: A woman named Angela recently wrote me from St. Louis. She and eight girlfriends in their 30s are visiting Austin this weekend, and she wanted suggestions for group dinners and brunch.

“I want to have a good variety and not too expensive, but nice,” she wrote. “I know one dislikes seafood, but others love it … Nothing too crazy. Not too keen on French, but love great food.”

My edited response is here. Maybe these recommendations will come in handy for you sometime. For more, visit austin360.com/thefeed and for more restaurants by category, head to austin360.com/AustinRestaurants .

Guide on the go

Take Matthew Odam’s 2013 Dining Guide — a list of his top 50 restaurants — with you by bookmarking Austin360.com/diningguide2013 on your smartphone or tablet or visit austin360.com/odamtop50 from your desktop computer.

Dinner

La Condesa. 400 W. Second St. 512-499-0300, lacondesa.com

Located in the heart of the 2nd Street District, this upscale Mexican restaurant offers good food and vibrant design in a very social setting. (Recommend: venison tacos, cochinita pibil, tuna tostadas, margaritas.)

Uchi. 801 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-916-4808, uchiaustin.com

Maybe the best restaurant in Austin. World-class sushi just south of downtown, and the fish-ambivalent can find other things they like. (Recommend: Everything.)

Second Bar + Kitchen. 200 Congress Ave. 512-827-2750, congressaustin.com/second

New American on Congress Avenue puts you right in the middle of downtown, and the patio is great for dining and people watching if the weather is decent. (Recommend: pepperoni soup; seared trout; fried pickles; seared scallops; cheeseburger; bleu cheese, pork belly and medjool date pizza.)

Café Josie. 1200 W. Sixth St. 512-322-9226, CafeJosie.com

A delightful little spot just west of downtown. It’s been around for almost 20 years but under new management and a new chef the last couple of years. (Recommend: grilled octopus and goat ribs.)

Brunch

Olivia. 2043 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-804-2700, olivia-austin.com

Fancy at night, but down-home at brunch. Light pours in from the floor-to-ceiling glass, and the patio is nice if the weather isn’t out of control. (Recommend: Dandy Don goat chili pie with fried eggs, the Willie Nelson chicken fried steak, French toast.)

Enoteca. 1610 S. Congress Ave. 512-441-7672, austinvespaio.com

The little sister of one of Austin’s best Italian restaurants, the more casual spot serves a host of egg dishes, along with Italian sandwiches and salads. (Recommend: porchetta panino, any of the egg dishes.)

Trio at the Four Seasons. 98 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-685-8300, triorestaurantaustin.com

Get treated like a fancy hotel guest even if you aren’t one. Pay $54 for omelets, pancakes, ceviche, smoked fish, crab claws, fried chicken and waffles, and more. (Recommend: Go big or go home.)

Fonda San Miguel. 2330 W. North Loop Blvd. 512-459-4121, fondasanmiguel.com

The diverse and beautiful brunch spread is famous at this Austin dining institution. (Recommend: Take your pick.)

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 austin360.com/thefeed and for more restaurants by category, head to austin360.com/AustinRestaurants .

(*This is not a comprehensive list. Don’t see one of your favorites below? Send me an email at modam@statesman.com 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 Austin360.com/diningguide2013 on your smartphone or tablet.

Andiamo Ristorante. 2521 Rutland Drive. 512-719-3377, AndiamoItaliano.com. 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, aromaitalian.com. 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, astiaustin.com. 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, TheBackspace-Austin.com. 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, botticellissouthcongress.com. 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, BufalinaPizza.com. 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, cipollina-austin.com. 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, dueforni.com. The restaurant serves Roman and Neapolitan pizzas, using two separate Napolitano ovens (hence the name).

Enoteca. 1610 S. Congress Ave. 512-441-7672, austinvespaio.com/enoteca. 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, gustoitaliankitchen.com. Pizza, pasta and all the expected Italian proteins at this Central Austin restaurant where kids eat free all summer.

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

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

Sagra. 1050 E. 11th St. 512-535-5988, sagraaustin.net. 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, SienaAustin.com. 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, tavernabylombardi.com. 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, AustinVespaio.com. 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, winfloosteria.com. Enjoy red sauce classics and a glass of wine on the large patio shaded by a sprawling oak.

Austin restaurants: Barbecue joints

Ruby’s BBQ has been serving the campus area for more than 25 years.
Ruby’s BBQ has been serving the campus area for more than 25 years.

Restaurant listings*

Each week in Austin360, we offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: Barbecue joints. What’s more American than eating barbecue? I recently gave you my top 10 in Austin, and this week I offer another 15 places to celebrate Independence Day weekend (and beyond) with smoked meat. For my Top 10 barbecue spots in Austin, visit austin360.com/barbecue. More restaurants broken down by category here.

(*This is not a comprehensive list. Don’t see one of your favorites below? Send me an email at modam@statesman.com 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 Austin360.com/diningguide2013 on your smartphone or tablet.

Bert’s Bar-B-Q. 907 W. 24th St. 512-474-2613; 3563 Far West Blvd. 512-345-2378, bertsbbq.com. This campus stalwart opened in its original location in 1970 and has expanded to include a Far West location.

Bowie BBQ at Whole Foods. 525 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-476-1206, wholefoodsmarket.com. Austin’s temple to health has the flavor of small town Central Texas as the smell of barbecue greets you as you wander toward the back of the store.

The County Line. 6500 W. Bee Cave Road. 512-327-1742; 5204 RM 2222, 512-346-3664, countyline.com. Barbecue with a view at this local favorite that has been cranking meat for 38 years at the original location and has since expanded to a second Austin location and several more around Texas.

Danny’s Barbecue. 2105 S. Congress Ave. 512-589-0479. Daniel Caldwell has been smoking meat for 30 years. He was an early adopter on the trailer scene in the early ’90s and serves ‘cue from his trailer on South Congress.

Green Mesquite BBQ. Multiple locations. Greenmesquite.net. The Barton Springs Road location is one of the most recognizable spots on that restaurant row, and the good values draw plenty of notice, as well.

House Park Bar-B-Que. 900 W. 12th St. 512-472-9621, houseparkbbq.com. Seventy years and still going strong at this spot where they say you don’t even need teeth to eat their beef.

Iron Works BBQ. 100 Red River St. 512-478-4855, ironworksbbq.com. The red tin building has been serving barbecue to locals, visitors and celebs (check out the photos on the wall) along Waller Creek since 1978.

Live Oak Barbecue. 2713 E. Second St. 512-524-1930, liveoakbbq.net. Pork ribs are the star at this squat white brick building on the east side that will leave you smelling like a smokestack.

Lone Star BBQ. 2323 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-739-4724. Facebook.com/lonestarbbq. A husband-and-wife team smokes fall-off-the-bone ribs, brisket and more at this trailer near Lamar and Bluebonnet.

Mann’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. 8624 Research Blvd. 512-459-5077, mannsbbq.com. Pulled pork and banana pudding are my go-tos at this spot that hides underneath the massive arch of U.S. 183.

The Pit Barbeque. 4707 Burnet Road. 512-453-6464, thepitbarbeque.com. Burnet Road is morphing faster than you can say mixed-use development, but little has changed at this joint that opened in the late 60s.

Pok-e-Jo’s. Multiple locations, pokejos.com. There are now five Austin-area outposts of this spot that opened in 1979 and does more than its fair share of catering around town.

Ruby’s BBQ. 512 W. 29th St. 512-477-1651, rubysbbq.com. Ruby’s used to serve as something of a backstage green room and after-hours hang-out for musicians from neighboring Antone’s during the late ’80s. Antone’s is gone, but Pat Mares, who opened Ruby’s with her late husband, Luke Zimmermann, in 1988, remains, serving brisket made from all-natural, steroid-free beef.

Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q. Multiple locations, rudysbbq.com. What started in a gas station has exploded to a statewide brand, with one of the most recognizable signs (and sauces) in town.

Sam’s BBQ. 2000 E. 12th St. 512-478-0378. This old East Austin joint is one of the few places in town where you’ll find mutton.

Stubb’s BBQ. 801 Red River St. 512-480-8341, stubbsaustin.com. Yes, they’re known more for their bands than their barbecue, but Stubb’s puts out some pretty good ribs and the gospel brunch offers soul you can devour while seated.

Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que. 1530 Barton Springs Road. 512-476-0100, unclebillys.com. If you’re gonna drink a bunch of their craft beers, you’re gonna need some barbecue to help balance the equation.

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. 600 W. Sixth St. 512-363-8520, valentinastexmexbbq.com. Don’t let the name or the hybridization of barbecue and Tex-Mex fool you, the folks at this trailer behind Star Bar know their brisket.

Austin restaurants: Pizza places

Mary Austin McKenna enjoys a huge slice of pizza with her family at Home Slice Pizza, the independent neighborhood pizza joint serving authentic New York-style pizza.
Mary Austin McKenna enjoys a huge slice of pizza with her family at Home Slice Pizza, the independent neighborhood pizza joint serving authentic New York-style pizza.

Each week in Austin360, we offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: Everybody loves pizza. Below are some local places that focus on pizza.*

(*This is not a comprehensive list. Don’t see one of your favorites below? Send me an email at modam@statesman.com 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 Austin360.com/diningguide2013 on your smartphone or tablet.

360 Pizza. 6203 N. RM 620. 512-428-4788; 2107 Kinney Ave. 512-447-4992, atxpizza.com. This outfit recently expanded to the South Lamar area. In addition to pizzas and salads they also serve an Italian salumi platter and calzones. 

Austin Beer Garden Brewing. 1305 W. Oltorf St. 512-298-2242, TheABGB.com. A casual, straightforward pizza-and-beer joint by two veterans of Austin’s beer scene.

Austin’s Pizza. Multiple locations, austinspizza.com. The local homegrown mini-empire that started in 1999 has grown to 12 locations, from South Lamar Boulevard to Round Rock.

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

Brick Oven Pizza. Multiple locations. brickovenaustin.com. Like the name says, pizzas from a brick oven (with strong gluten-free options) at three locations around town. And, yes, you can still visit the Red River Street location.

Bufalina Pizza. 1519 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-524-2523, BufalinaPizza.com. 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.

Conan’s Pizza. Multiple locations. Conanspizza.com. The deep dish is the thing at the three locations of this Austin original that has been around for almost 40 years.

Due Forni. 106 E. 6th St. 512-391-9300, dueforni.com. The restaurant, founded by chef Carlos Buscaglia and University of Texas alumnus Alex Taylor, serves Roman and Neapolitan pizzas, using two separate Napolitano ovens (hence the name). That means one group of pies with a thicker, fluffier edge and another with thin, cracker crust.

East Side Pies. Multiple locations. Eastsidepies.com. Cracker crust farm-to-pizza at three locations around town. Get the Girther (avocado, blue cheese and roasted onions) and add bacon.

Enoteca. 1610 S. Congress Ave. 512-441-7672, austinvespaio.com/enoteca. Vespaio’s kid sister next door serves a selection of about a half-dozen pies, including the excellent prosciutto with arugula and a truffled egg.

Frank and Angie’s. 508 West Ave. 512-472-3534, hutsfrankandangies.com. Flat pies and a 50s vibe at this throwback pizzeria that celebrates all things Italian-American.

Hoboken Pie. 718 Red River St. 512-477-4256, hobokenpie.com. Some of the best pizza downtown and one of the (sneaky) best delivery places, as well, from this rock-and-roll joint.

Hoek’s Death Metal Pizza. 511 E. 6th St. 512-810-1666, hoeksdeathmetalpizza.com. Loud pizza from a loud joint in the heart of the Sixth Street entertainment district.

Home Slice Pizza. 1415 S. Congress Ave. 512-444-7437, homeslicepizza.com. The best New York City-style slices in Austin and one of the best Italian subs, as well. Hard to resist a Rice Krispies Treat for dessert.

House Pizzeria. 5111 Airport Blvd. 512-600-4999, housepizzeria.com. A nice mix of crunch and chew in these pizzas with great toppings like port reduction and bleu cheese.

Little Deli and Pizzeria. 7101 Woodrow Ave. 512-467-7402, littledelipizza.com. Excellent New Jersey-style pies from this quaint little deli that feels like a step back in time.

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

Pieous. 12005 U.S. 290 W. 512-394-7041, Facebook.com/Pieous. Family-owned and family-friendly pie place serves chewy Neapolitan pies and massive slices of sweet pie, along with quality homemade pastrami.

Pinthouse Pizza. 4729 Burnet Road. 512-436-9605, PinthousePizza.com. Pizza plus beer from a pedigreed Colorado brewer makes for a solid family-friendly outing.

Pizza Nizza. 2712 Bee Cave Rd. 512-474-7070, pizzanizza.com. This West Austin spot will sell you any size pizza with any number of toppings for $8.99. Great deal, and the pizza ain’t too bad, either.

Rockin’ Tomato. 3003 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-447-3351, servingfoodthatrocks.com. This colorful pizza joint serves four different styles of pie, and makes for a solid delivery option in South Austin.

Rounders Pizzeria. 1203 W. 6th St. 512-477-0404, rounderspizzeria.com. Enjoy big rounded sunglow crust and little circles of pepperoni while you take in a game or movie on the big screen.

Salvation Pizza. 624 W. 34th St. 512-535-0076, salvationpizza.com. Thin, crunchy Connecticut-style pizzas at this restaurant that features a large deck out front for al fresco dining.

Southside Flying Pizza. 2206 S. Congress Ave. 512-442-4246; 1224 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-433-6695; southsideflyingpizza.com.

Spartan Pizza. 1104 E. 6th St. 512-484-0798, spartanpizzaaustin.com. Good NY-style slices from this silver bullet in a trailer park on the east side.

Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza. 13187 Fitzhugh Road. 512-900-9079, StanleysFarmhousePizza.com. Wood-fired pizzas in a natural setting on the edge of the Hill Country. Bonus points for being located next to Jester King Brewery.

Tony C’s. 12800 Hill Country Blvd. 512-263-3473; 10526 W. Parmer Ln. 512-255-9463, tonycs.com. The coal fire leaves a nice char on the pizzas at these two locations. Try the prosciutto, mascarpone and honey pie.

Via 313. 1111 E. 6th St. 512-939-1927; 61 Rainey St. 512-609-9405, via313.com. The brothers behind Via 313 knew what they were doing when they opened these trailers outside of two bars. The deep, buttery, cheesy, gooey goodness could soak up a beer in record time. (The pizzas excellent when sober, as well.)

Austin Restaurants: University of Texas campus area

An interior view of Freedmen’s gorgeous bar located at 2402 San Gabriel St. in West Campus.
An interior view of Freedmen’s gorgeous bar located at 2402 San Gabriel St. in West Campus.

Restaurant listings*

Each week in Austin360, we offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: Restaurants near the University of Texas. School’s out for summer, which means less traffic and smaller crowds around campus. More restaurants broken down by category here.

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

Carillon. 1900 University Ave. 512-404-3655, thecarillonrestaurant.com. Thoughtful execution and robust flavors come from chef Josh Watkins’ kitchen in this high-ceilinged restaurant on the University of Texas campus.

Clay Pit. 1601 Guadalupe St. 512-322-5131, ClayPit.com. Contemporary Indian food in a lively and warm space has made this restaurant located between the Capitol and the UT campus a hit for years. Try the khuroos-e-tursh (stuffed chicken breast in a cashew-almond cream sauce) and the palak paneer naan.

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.

Dirty Martin’s Place. 2808 Guadalupe St. 512-477-3173, DirtyMartins.com. Greasy burger and a cold beer within a few steps of the UT campus. They’ve only been doing it for 87 years.

Dog and Duck Pub. 406 W. 17th St. 512-479-0598, DogAndDuckPub.com. A British pub in the heart of Austin with some international beer taps, dim lighting and dark wood.

FoodHeads. 616 W. 34th St. 512-420-8400, foodheads.com. Excellent sandwiches with an array of interesting and bold flavor profiles, like lamb and feta or grilled pork with Tabasco and fried egg, at this bungalow that now serves dinner Thursday through Saturday.

Freedmen’s. 2402 San Gabriel St. 512-220-0953, FreedmensBar.com. Sophistication and smoke rub elbows at this barbecue joint in a rough-hewn historic building.

Fricano’s Deli. 2405 Nueces St. 512-482-3322, FricanosDeli.com. Huge sandwiches loaded with flavor led this deli to move from its small North Campus location to a much more comfortable space just west of campus. Don’t worry about what Rocket Sauce is, just order a Paul’s Spicy Reuben and find out.

Hopfields. 3110 Guadalupe St. 512-537-0467, HopfieldsAustin.com. Who knows how much money I’d spend at this place if I were a UT college student? The French-inspired gastropub serves one of the city’s best burgers, topped with Camembert cheese, sweet and smoky caramelized onions and grain mustard, and a sinful French ham sandwich smeared with creamy butter. Vegetarians can take pleasure from the flaky mushroom-leek tart and the slippery crunch of ratatouille.

Kerbey Lane. 2606 Guadalupe St. 512-477-5717, kerbeylanecafe.com. An Austin original that has been interested in conscientious sourcing since before it was popular.

Madam Mam’s. 2514 Guadalupe St. 512-472-8306, MadamMam.com. Campus area favorite turns out spring rolls, noodle soup, stir-fries and curries. Some of these Thai dishes pack a pretty spicy punch.

Salvation Pizza. 624 W. 34th St. 512-535-0076, salvationpizza.com. Thin, crunchy Connecticut-style pizzas at this restaurant that features a large deck out front for al fresco dining.

Sao Paulo’s. 2809 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-473-9988, saopaulos.net. Traditional Brazilian dishes such as the bobo de camarao, a shrimp stew served with rice.

Teji’s. 2100 Guadalupe St. 512- 215-0307, tejifoods.com. Teji’s started in Round Rock and now offer their solid Indian food on the Drag across from the UT campus. Try the goat korma — a sweet and creamy dish with mild spice featuring tender bone-in goat.

Texas French Bread. 2900 Rio Grande St. 512-499-0544, TexasFrenchBread.com. Mild-mannered sunlit bakery by day, Texas French Bread turns down the lights and puts on some cool music at night (maybe Iron & Wine, maybe one of Radiohead’s mellower records) for a bistro that feels almost like a dinner party, which is how dinner service here originated.

Veggie Heaven. 1914 Guadalupe St. 512-457-1013, VeggieHeavenAustin.com. Good vibes and pan-Asian vegetarian food (oh, yea, and quesadillas) at this small UT campus-area restaurant. Try the basil tofu.

Austin restaurants: Dining in peace

Enjoy a dinner without having to yell over your dining companions at Texas French Bread.
Enjoy a dinner without having to yell over your dining companions at Texas French Bread.

Restaurant listings*

Each week in Austin360, we offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: Reader Janice K. recently sent me an email: “It seems the standard (for restaurants) is a lively vibe that gets louder and louder as the restaurant fills up, and everyone ends up shouting to be heard.”

Janice wanted to know where she can enjoy a quiet meal. I answer her question with more than a dozen options. They aren’t “library quiet,” but they should fit the bill for a nice meal where you don’t need to shout to be heard. More restaurants at austin360.com/restaurants.

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

Andiamo Ristorante. 2521 Rutland Drive. 512-719-3377, AndiamoItaliano.com. 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.

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

Bartlett’s. 2408 W. Anderson Lane. 512-451-7333, bartlettsaustin.com. This restaurant has changed little since its transition from Houston’s, and that’s a good thing. You can still expect dishes like the popular French dip and an applewood-smoked pork.

Blue Dahlia Bistro. 1115 E. 11th St. 512-542-9542, BlueDahliaBistro.com. The shady back patio is something of a secret garden; the menu, an ode to light French cuisine.

The Bonneville. 202 W. Cesar Chavez St. 512-428-4643, TheBonnevilleAustin.com. Despite being located downtown, this spot can be hard to find. Attentive service and dishes like chicken under a brick make the discovery worth the search.

Café Josie. 1200 W. Sixth St. 512-322-9226, CafeJosie.com. You can still find plenty of fish at this West Austin staple that once boasted more of a Caribbean menu, but you can also enjoy items such as balsamic-glazed goat ribs.

Carillon. 1900 University Ave. 512-404-3655, thecarillonrestaurant.com. Thoughtful execution and robust flavors come from chef Josh Watkins’ kitchen in this high-ceilinged restaurant on the UT campus.

Chez Nous. 510 Neches St. 512-473-2413, ChezNousAustin.com. A little bit of French class amidst the boozy grumble and stumble of Sixth Street. Try the duck confit or housemade charcuterie.

Due Forni. 106 E. 6th St. 512-391-9300, dueforni.com. The restaurant serves Roman and Neapolitan pizzas, using two separate ovens. That means one group of pies with a thicker, puffier edge and another with a thin, crackery crust. Happy hour includes meatballs, charcutterie and cheese, and gnocchi for five dollars.

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.

El Naranjo. 85 Rainey St. 512-474-2776, http://www.elnaranjo-restaurant.com. Renowned Mexico City chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita recently told me that El Naranjo chef/owner Iliana de la Vega is the best Mexican-born chef working in the United States. That’s all the bona fides you need to hear. Her restaurant is an oasis amid the Rainey Street noise.

Fabi & Rosi. 509 Hearn St. 512-236-0642, fabiandrosi.com. A pan-European menu is served in this elegant restaurant just west of MoPac.

Fino. 2905 San Gabriel St. 512-474-2905, FinoAustin.com. Mediterranean flavors dominate the menu at this handsome restaurant that features a relaxing wrap-around patio, perfect for enjoying one of the restaurant’s solid cocktails.

Green Pastures. 811 W. Live Oak St. 512-444-1888, greenpasturesrestaurant.com. Peacocks strut around the lush grounds of this Austin classic, where you can get a great rack of lamb and tempura fried lobster.

Roaring Fork. 701 Congress Ave. 512-583-0000; 10850 Stonelake Blvd. 512-342-2700, RoaringFork.com. Big Texas flavors in dishes such as tortilla soup, blackened redfish and beef short ribs in this restaurant tucked inside the bottom of the Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental Hotel.

Texas French Bread. 2900 Rio Grande St. 512-499-0544, TexasFrenchBread.com. Mild-mannered sunlit bakery by day, Texas French Bread turns down the lights and puts on some cool music at night (maybe Iron & Wine, maybe one of Radiohead’s mellower records) for a bistro that feels almost like a dinner party, which is how dinner service here originated.

Zax. 312 Barton Springs Road. 512-481-0100, ZaxAustin.com. A friendly atmosphere pervades this restaurant that features a quality tap wall and solid dishes such as Caesar salad, mussels and fries, and pan-seared duck breast. At lunch try one of their pizzas or the pulled pork quesadilla.

Austin Restaurants: Special occasion dining

Austin restaurant Congress consistently offers some of the best service in town.
Austin restaurant Congress consistently offers some of the best service in town.

Restaurant listings

Each week in Austin360, we’re offering a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, celebrating a raise or you just want to treat yourself, these special occasion restaurants fir the bill. They’re what some people used to call “fancy restaurants,” though I reckon some of them would prefer not to carry that label. More restaurants broken down by category here.

Austin Land & Cattle. 1205 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-1813, ALCSteaks.com. This steakhouse is good representation of Austin’s utter lack of pretension.

The Carillon. 1900 University Ave. 512-404-3655, TheCarillonRestaurant.com. The New American restaurant helmed by chef Josh Watkins is the most underrated in the city. It hides at the bottom of the massive AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the University of Texas campus.

Congress. 200 Congress Ave. 512-827-2760, CongressAustin.com/Congress. There is not a finer service experience to be had in the city, and chef David Bull has long been one of Austin’s culinary stars, with very good reason.

Driskill Grill. 604 Brazos St. 512-391-7162, DriskillGrill.com. A throwback piece of Austin dining culture that too often goes overlooked.

Fonda San Miguel. 2330 W. North Loop Blvd. 512-459-4121, FondaSanMiguel.com. Fonda San Miguel introduced Austinites to the idea that Mexican food didn’t need a “Tex” in front of it and that you shouldn’t always expect it to be cheap.

Green Pastures. 811 W. Live Oak St. 512-444-1888, GreenPasturesRestaurant.com. This classy old gal feels like she was transplanted from the South, minus any of the ugly connotations that would imply, and plopped down in South Austin. Try the rack of lamb.

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 at the edge of the Hill Country.

Jeffrey’s. 1204 W. Lynn St. 512-477-5584, JeffreysOfAustin.com. Updates at this Austin institution that feels like a private club include uniformed valets, plush couches in the bar area, a martini cart and quality dry-aged steaks.

Jezebel. 800 W. Sixth St. 512-436-9643, RestaurantJezebel.com. With his Restaurant Jezebel, Chef Parind Vora wanted to heighten customers’ expectations of fine dining in Austin, so he instituted the only jacket-required dress code I know of in town and did away with menus, instead implementing a Q&A approach that allowed the chef to tailor meals to guests’ preferences.

Olivia. 2043 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-804-2700, Olivia-Austin.com. Abilene native James Holmes blends country and class at this elegant restaurant on South Lamar.

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille. 114 W. Seventh St. 512-474-6300, PerrysSteakhouse.com. They serve a sweet pork chop the size of your head at this ostentatious steakhouse that can feel like dining on a fancy cruise ship.

Qui. 1600 E. Sixth St. 512-436-9626, QuiAustin.com. The scene may be a bit hip for older diners, but the thoughtful staff make every effort to provide a comfortable experience at the restaurant of arguably Austin’s most well-known chef.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. 107 W. Sixth St. 512-477-7884, RuthsChris.com. Sure there are Ruth’s Chris all over the country, but none of the personalized warmth at the Sixth Street spot overseen by Greg Davey, Gary Porfirio and Bill Andrews (and GM Sal Olivas and barman Buddy Jordan). The porterhouse here may be my favorite in town. Make sure to try the chicken as well. (Blasphemy, I know.)

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

Trace. 200 Lavaca St. 512-542-3660, TraceAustin.com. Trace does an admirable job battling the stereotypes that often come with being a hotel restaurant. Service is polite and measured in the mod space colored with shades of black and white, and the menu is always fresh and engaging.

Trio at the Four Seasons. 98 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-685-8300, TrioRestaurantAustin.com. You needn’t check into a room at the Four Seasons to be treated like a VIP at Trio. The accommodating and exceedingly polite staff anticipates your needs in guiding you through the restaurant’s menu and wine list, composed by sommelier Mark Sayre, one of Trio’s finest ambassadors.

Uchi. 801 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-916-4808, UchiAustin.com. Zero. That’s the number of times I’ve left Tyson Cole’s sushi restaurant disappointed. Exceptional service, amazing technique and fresh fish. Get the shime saba and boquerones (in addition to whatever the server recommends from the daily specials) and end with foie nigiri.

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.

Wink. 1014 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-482-8868, WinkRestaurant.com. The farm-to-table trailblazers in Austin haven’t missed a step in their 14-year run. Wink favors earth and spice and does an impressive job of coaxing sweetness from vegetables. Servers treat you with a nice blend of respect and familiarity.

Austin Restaurants: Family-friendly restaurants

P. Terry’s Burger Stands
P. Terry’s Burger Stands

Family-friendly restaurants grouped by “north of the river” and “south of the river.” For those to which that distinction does not make much sense, I used arbitrary judgment.

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

Take my 2013 Dining Guide — a list of my top 50 restaurants — with you by bookmarking Austin360.com/diningguide2013 on your smartphone or tablet or visit Austin360.com/odamtop50. 

For more restaurants listed by category, visit austin360.com/AustinRestaurants.

NORTH OF THE RIVER

24 Diner. 600 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5400, 24Diner.com. Farm-to-table comfort food in a diner setting that leaves off all the chrome and fluorescent lighting.

Chuy’s. 11680 N. Research Blvd. 512-342-0011; 10520 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-836-3218; 2320 N. I-35; 512-255-2211; 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.**

Contigo. 2027 Anchor Lane. 512-614-2260, ContigoTexas.com/Austin. It makes sense that a restaurant inspired by a Texas ranch would serve one of the best burgers in town. All wood, leather and wrought iron, Contigo spills from its garage-sized interior bar to a massive outdoor seating area featuring long picnic tables. A copious layer of white cheddar drapes this burger ($13) that bristles with a peppery crust that reveals a pink interior that gushes its juices at the press of a palm or squeeze of a jaw. Homemade bread and butter pickles and a rich aioli make for a fine balance of accoutrements on the tall burger served on pumped-up housemade challah bread. Make sure you sample one of Contigo’s excellent cocktails to go with your burger. I recommend the old fashioned ($9).

County Line. 5204 RM 2222. 512-346-3664, countyline.com. This local barbecue titans has been cranking the ‘cue for 38 years at its original location, and has since expanded to a second Austin location and several more around Texas.**

Dan’s Hamburgers. 5602 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-459-3239; 844 Airport Blvd. 512-385-2262;  Dans-Hamburgers.com. Dan and Fran split (or something, they like to keep us guessing what happened) and now Austin gets multiple burger joints. Sounds like a win. Dan’s has three locations, and one under remodeling, that serve breakfast, burgers and chicken-fried steak.**

Fran’s Hamburgers. 6214 Cameron Rd. 512-458-6007, FransHamburgers.com. They may not be in their original location on South Congress, but you can still get Fran’s ground chuck burgers in Northeast Austin.

Galaxy Café. 4616 Triangle Ave. 512-323-9494; 1000 W. Lynn St. 512-478-3434; galaxycafeaustin.com. Refined café food and counter-service at this pleasant spot where you’ll find salads, sandwiches and burgers.

Hat Creek Burgers. 201 San Gabriel Village Blvd. 512-943-8258, HatCreekBurgers.com. This burger operation from former UT hooper Drew Gressett started in a trailer and now has locations spread around the Greater Austin Area.**

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.

House Pizzeria. 5111 Airport Blvd. 512-600-4999, housepizzeria.com. A nice mix of crunch and chew in these puffy pizzas with great toppings like port reduction and bleu cheese.

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.**

In-In-Out. 4508 N. I-35. 4251 N. I-35. 1-800-786-1000;  In-N-Out.com. Long lines at the drive-thru and out the front door are a regular occurrence proving this is one California transplant was welcomed with open arms. Friendly staff moves things along quickly as they introduce Central Texans to the double-double.

Jack Allen’s Kitchen. 2500 Hoppe Trail, Round Rock, 512-215-0372, JackAllensKitchen.com. Farm-to-table comfort food such as bacon-wrapped quail and crispy salmon, as well as a massive weekend brunch, have made this place a hit down south and now up north, as well.

Kerbey Lane. 13435 Hwy. 183 N Ste. 415. 512-258-7757; 2606 Guadalupe St. 512-477-5717; 3704 Kerbey Ln. 512-451-1436; kerbeylanecafe.com. An Austin original that has been interested in conscientious sourcing since before it was popular.**

Little Deli. 7101 Woodrow Ave. 512-467-7402, littledeliandpizza.com. The Crestview shopping center is a perfect setting for this shoebox-sized throwback pizza place that specializes in New Jersey pies and pastrami sandwiches. There is ample seating on wooden picnic tables outside for an al fresco lunch or dinner. Little Deli serves some of the best pizza in town.

Madam Mam’s. 2700 W. Anderson Ln. 512-371-9930; 2514 Guadalupe St. 512-472-8306; MadamMam.com. Three locations now turn out spring rolls, noodle soup, stir-fries and curries. Some of these Thai dishes pack a pretty spicy punch.

Magnolia Cafe. 2304 Lake Austin Blvd. 512-478-8645, 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.**

Mandola’s Italian Market. 4700 Guadalupe St. 512- 419-9700; 12815 Shops Pkwy. 512- 600-8500; MandolasMarket.com. Get classic Italian antipasti, daily specials and bubbling pizzas at one of three locations around town.**

Maudie’s. 2608 W. 7th St. 512-473-3740; 10205 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-832-0900; 3801 RM 620. 512-306-8080; 12506 Shops Pkwy. 512-263-1116; 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.**

Mighty Fine Burgers. 201 University Oaks Blvd. 512-381-3310; 10515 N. Mopac Blvd. 512- 524-2400; 1335 E. Whitestone Blvd. 512-528-5421; MightyFineBurgers.com. Four Austin-area locations for this family-friendly place with the open-kitchen that calls mustard “yellow” and ketchup “red.”**

Nau’s Enfield Drug. 1115 W. Lynn St. 512-476-1221, NausDrug.com. Wax paper burgers from a grill that features a classic soda fountain with a full pharmacy up front. It doesn’t get much more classic than this Austin institution that opened more than 60 years ago.

Phil’s Icehouse. 5620 Burnet Rd. 512-524-1212; 13265 US 183 N. 512-257-8750; PhilsIcehouse.com. The Amy’s team brings the same family-friendly, always-smiling service and enthusiasm to the burger joint where kids (and adults) can be kids.**

Pinthouse Pizza. 4729 Burnet Rd. 512-436-9605, PinthousePizza.com. Pizza plus beer from a pedigreed Colorado brewer makes for a solid family-friendly outing.

P. Terry’s. 3303 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-371-9975; 12301 N. Mopac Blvd. 512-719-4810; 12018 Research Blvd. 512-257-0990; PTerrys.com. It’s the grass-fed kind of fast food that doesn’t make you feel so bad for wanting a burger and fries from a drive-through.**

Quality Seafood Market. 5621 Airport Blvd. 512-452-3820, Qualityseafood.Wordpress.com. Great fried shrimp, grilled catch of the day and Gulf oysters are some of the keys to the staying power of this restaurant-market.

Salvation Pizza. 624 W. 34th St. 512-535-0076, salvationpizza.com. Thin, crunchy Connecticut-style pizzas at this restaurant that features a large deck out front for al fresco dining.

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.

Takoba. 1411 E. Seventh St. 512-628-4466, TakobaRestaurant.com. Great happy hour deals and well-executed favorites such as torta de carnitas and pozole rojo make this restaurant with multiple outdoor seating areas a popular East Austin destination.

Tarka Indian Kitchen. 2525 W. Anderson Ln. 512-323-0955; 201 University Blvd. 512- 246-1922; TarkaIndianKitchen.com. Fast-casual Indian cuisine from the Clay Pit founders, with a nice balance of both traditional and non-traditional items.**

Threadgill’s. 6416 N. Lamar Blvd. 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 Rd. 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.

Zocalo. 1110 W. Lynn St. 512-472-8226, zocalocafe.com. A fresh spin on Tex-Mex at this modernist café in Clarksville owned by the Galaxy Café folks. Try the spicy campechana or the chilaquiles.

(**Indicates that the restaurant also has locations south of the river.)

SOUTH OF THE RIVER

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.

Chuy’s. 1728 Barton Springs Rd. 512-474-4452. 4301 William Cannon Rd. 512-899-2489, 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 Bee Cave Rd. 512-327-1742, countyline.com. This local barbecue titans has been cranking the ‘cue for 38 years at its original location, and has since expanded to a second Austin location and several more around Texas.**

Culver’s. 3424 W William Cannon Dr. 512-892-1114. Culvers.com. This Midwest transplant serves a savory “butter burger” and provides exceedingly friendly service.**

Curra’s Grill. 614 E. Oltorf St. 512-444-0012, CurrasGrill.com. One of the early movers in Austin’s interior-Mexican cuisine scene, Curra’s opened in March 1995. Cochinita pibil features pork dripping with flavors of salted orange and succulent fat, served with two tender hunks of golden plantain. Soft corn tortillas are made in house. Get those.

Dan’s Hamburgers. 4308 Manchaca Rd. 512- 443-6131, Dans-Hamburgers.com. Dan and Fran split (or something, they like to keep us guessing what happened) and now Austin gets multiple burger joints. Sounds like a win. Dan’s south location, which serves breakfast, burgers and chicken-fried steak, was recently remodeled and now features a drive-thru. ** 

Doc’s Backyard. 5207 Brodie Ln. #100. 512-892-5200, eatdrinkdocs.com. Two dozen Texas beers at a bar and grill that stays open until midnight plus a playscape for the kiddos … this suburban spot knows how to attract every member of the family.

El Meson. 2038 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-442-4441, ElMesonAustin.Wordpress.com. What started as a small taqueria near the airport expanded to this restaurant on South Lamar that carries on the original’s tradition of made-from-scratch interior-Mexican classics.

Evangeline Café. 8106 Brodie Lane. 512-282-2586, EvangelineCafe.com. Take a trip to the bayou at this Cajun restaurant for gumbo, po’ boys and music by the likes of Charles Thibodeaux and the Austin Cajun Aces.

Hyde Park Bar & Grill. 4521 W. Gate Blvd. 512-899-2700, HPBNG.com. You can still find the French fries made famous at the original location.**

Jack Allen’s Kitchen. 7720 Texas 71. 512-852-8558, JackAllensKitchen.com. Farm-to-table comfort food such as bacon-wrapped quail and crispy salmon, as well as a massive weekend brunch, have made this place a hit down south and now up north, as well.**

Kerbey Lane. 3003 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-445-4451. 4301 William Cannon Dr. 512-899-1500, kerbeylanecafe.com. An Austin original that has been interested in conscientious sourcing since before it was popular.**

Magnolia Cafe. 1920 S. Congress Ave. 512-445-0000, themagnoliacafe.com. Funky and fun, this place is a testament to the fact that pancakes and omelets taste good any time of the day or night. So do quesadillas.**

Mandola’s Italian Market. 4301 W. William Cannon Dr. 512-524-2222. 12815 Shops Pkwy., Suite 400. 512-600-8500, MandolasMarket.com. Get classic Italian antipasti, daily specials and bubbling pizzas at this bustling family-friendly spot.

Maria’s Taco Xpress. 2529 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-444-0261, TacoXpress.com. This taco joint celebrates its 78704 pedigree by keeping it funky. Also, tacos! I like the chicken fajita taco the best.

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. 1212 S. Lamar Blvd. 512- 440-8088. 3801 RM 620. 512- 306-8080, 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.**

Mighty Fine Burgers. 5601 Brodie Ln. 512- 735-2800, MightyFineBurgers.com. Four Austin-area locations for this family-friendly place with the open-kitchen that calls mustard “yellow” and ketchup “red.”**

Phil’s Icehouse. 2901 S. Lamar Ave. 512-707-8704, PhilsIcehouse.com. The Amy’s team brings the same family-friendly, always-smiling service and enthusiasm to the burger joint where kids (and adults) can be kids.**

Pieous. 12005 U.S. 290 W. 512-394-7041, Facebook.com/Pieous. Family-owned and family-friendly pie place serves chewy Neapolitan pies and massive slices of pie, along with quality homemade pastrami.

Sandy’s. 603 Barton Springs Rd. 512-478-6322. Thin, classic burgers and small crunchy fries at this drive-thru and walk-up spot with the frozen custard sign. Great deals on combo meals Thursday and Saturday.

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.

Tarka Indian Kitchen. 5207 Brodie Ln. #120. 512-892-2008, TarkaIndianKitchen.com. Fast-casual Indian cuisine from the Clay Pit founders, with a nice balance of both nontraditional and popular items.**

Thai Fresh. 909 Mary St. 512-494-6436, Thai-Fresh.com. Thai food restaurant, coffee shop, bakery and cooking school – what isn’t this family-owned enterprise in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood?

Torchy’s. 1311 S. First St. 512-366-0537. 3005 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-614-1832, torchystacos.com. From pastor to fried chicken, these guys wrap it all up in tortillas for some bold tacos. And their queso is not to be missed.

Threadgill’s. 301 W. Riverside Drive. 512-472-9304, 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.

Austin restaurants by category

Barley Swine LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Barley Swine LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Each week I provide a list of Austin restaurants broken down by cuisine or theme. I will keep a running list of those categories here. Click on the links below for descriptions and location information.