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The 10 Hottest Restaurants in Austin

By Megan Giller
July 15, 2014
Photo by: Jody Horton

When it comes to restaurant openings, Austin’s pace never ceases to amaze. From an opulent French eatery to a packed beer garden, here are our favorites right now. 

  • Odd Duck

    Why It’s Hot: James Beard Award-nominated chef Bryce Gilmore and our Austin 30 Under 30 honoree Sam Hellman-Mass are making more excellent small plates at this beautiful South Lamar spot with full-length windows and an open kitchen.

    Must-Order: The Parker rolls are the soft, buttery bread of dreams, as is the chicken-fried egg with hot sauce and carrots roasted in hay with chèvre and pistachio crumb.

    Insider Tip: Come early — it gets crowded fast.

  • Pleasant Storage Room

    Why It’s Hot: The chic Warehouse District spot brings back rum punch with communal-style bowls, along with a small but tasty menu of Caribbean treats.

    Must-Order: One of four ceviches (we loved the lobster with toasted coconut, Izak No. 37, avocado and cilantro), as well as skewered octopus and roasted sweet plantains, and cocktails like the Commodore (rum, cognac, sherry, caramelized black tea, fresh lemon juice and lemon oleo-saccharum).

    Insider Tip: From midnight to 2 AM, hit up the late-night food special, a ham-and-Swiss sandwich on a sweet egg roll.

    208 W. Fourth St.; 512-322-9921

  • Photo by: Flickr/eblaser

    Gus's Fried Chicken

    Why It’s Hot: The Tennessee import's herbed-and-fried chicken has all of Austin wrapped around its little finger (er, claw).

    Must-Order: A plate of fried chicken and some mac 'n' cheese.

    Insider Tip: Former Carillon pastry chef Plinio Sandalio may have moved to Houston, but you'll likely see him at his favorite joint almost every weekend.

  • Noble Sandwiches

    Why It’s Hot: Chef John Bates finally opened his Central Austin outpost in Rosedale; his meaty sandwiches with from-scratch ingredients have quite a following.

    Must-Order: For breakfast, the potato-and-leek waffles with braised oxtail and an over-easy egg; sandwiches like the smoked duck pastrami with Russian dressing and seared beef tongue with smoked green onions, red pepper relish and aïoli.

    Insider Tip: Carb-fearing folks can order any sandwich on gluten-free bread or as a salad or lettuce wrap.

  • ABGB

    Why It’s Hot: We're pretty sure all of 78704 has made this beer garden their permanent residence, with a packed crowd almost every night of the week.

    Must-Order: A housemade craft beer like the Hell Yes and a habanero-bacon pizza.

    Insider Tip: We've seen a horse hanging out here on more than one occasion.

  • Photo by: Jody Horton

    LaV

    Why It’s Hot: The rustic French restaurant is drawing crowds for its impeccably executed menu and wine list (thank chef Allison Jenkins, pastry chef Janina O’Leary and sommelier Vilma Mazaite), plus the most opulent decor in East Austin.

    Must-Order: Chicken-liver pâté with housemade brioche, roasted chicken for two with potatoes and salsa verde and warm brioche donuts for dessert. Let Mazaite select the perfect wine.

    Insider Tip: The front wine bar boasts a separate food menu with flawless salted cod fritters and half a roasted chicken.

  • Chavez

    Why It’s Hot: Flock to chef Shawn Cirkiel’s newest restaurant for its well-executed take on classic Southwestern breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Must-Order: The salmon Veracruz entree (with traditional sauce plus an innovative orange-tomato-cinnamon combo) and the carrots in adobo side dish.

    Insider Tip: Come for lunch when it’s less crowded and you can soak in the sunshine at the full-length windows overlooking the lake.

  • Photo by: Robert Jacob Lerma

    Terry Black's BBQ

    Why It’s Hot: Part of the family that brought you Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart has struck out on its own, new recipes and all, and opened a joint on Barton Springs Road.

    Must-Order: Brisket, ribs and sausage. (Keep in mind that new restaurants often have a few kinks.)

    Insider Tip: The grandsons Black are producing enough meat for you to drop in for dinner. Plus three cash registers and three cutting stations keep the line moving.

  • Porter Gastropub

    Why It’s Hot: The new alehouse features 30 taps from local spots like Austin Beerworks, craft cocktails and a tasty food menu.

    Must-Order: Beer cheese fondue served with apples and a freshly baked pretzel, or a killer burger made from short rib, filet and hanger steak and topped with triple-cream Brie and pancetta.

    Insider Tip: The name comes from the Johnny Cash song “Hey, Porter."

  • Chinatown Westlake

    Why It’s Hot: The beloved Austin locale has opened a second location in Westlake.

    Must-Order: Anything on the dim sum menu, but especially the pork steam buns and potstickers.

    Insider Tip: Happy hour means free wonton chips and appetizers ranging from $3 to $7.

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Places Mentioned

Barley Swine

American • Zilker

Food28 Decor19 Service25 Cost$47
 
 
 
The ABGB

American • South Austin

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Odd Duck

Austin

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Gus's Fried Chicken

Chicken • Downtown

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Porter Gastropub

South Austin

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Chavez

Tex-Mex • Downtown

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
laV

French • East Austin

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Noble Sandwich Co.

Sandwich Shop • Brentwood

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Pleasant Storage Room

Bar • Warehouse District

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Chinatown Restaurant Westlake

Chinese • Rollingwood

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Terry Black's BBQ

Barbecue • Bouldin Creek

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
 
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