5 Super Stylish Restaurants in Austin

By Megan Giller  |  September 3, 2013
Credit: Bonjwing Lee

These days, dining in our town is less about showing off and more about relaxing. But that’s not to say our places aren’t pretty. Austin restaurants walk the line in their design between chic and comfortable, where every detail is stylized and thought through, with a focus on objects from local artists and custom quirk.

  • Arro

    The modern French restaurant had big shoes to fill in terms of decor, since the building used to house Haddington’s, which featured a different vibe in each room. Happily, Arro has taken on that task successfully. A modern wall of aluminum lights is offset by rustic wooden walls and dark turquoise accents, and the stylish, stylized bar with cubbyholes behind it features prominently on one side of the restaurant. The big windows and sunny patio also help make it a comfortable space.

    601 W. Sixth St.; 512-992-2776

  • Credit: Bonjwing Lee


    The small details at chef Paul Qui’s new fine-dining restaurant in East Austin add up to a big effect. A muted wallpaper from local graffiti artist Peelander Yellow graces one wall, and the airy interior with light-wood details becomes even more open when the floor-to-ceiling glass panels open at sunset. Other details offset the food beautifully, like wooden plates made from a tree that was in the middle of the old building, cups with bunny rabbit tails for the rabbit consommé, and an inspiration board with tags that show the flavor combinations Qui and his team are thinking about for the next menu.

    1600 E. Sixth St.; 512-436-9626

  • Credit: No Va

    No Va

    The very white, very modern-looking new restaurant on Rainey Street doesn’t exactly fit with the rest of the converted bungalows on the hottest street in Austin. But that’s so intentional it’s built into the name: “no va” means “no go” in Spanish and is a nod to the distinctness of the architecture. The original architect of the spot (before No Va existed) had already created an open design that chef Brad Sorenson and his team built on, and he has already been in for dinner and given the space his blessing. As Sorenson says, “Everything the guest touches is organic, from the mesquite wood to the leather.” Indeed, the organic juxtaposed against the industrial creates an interesting modern vibe.

    87 Rainey St.; 512-382-5651

  • Credit: Casey Dunn

    Josephine House

    Chef Larry McGuire’s casual Clarksville outpost next to fine-dining establishment Jeffrey’s has been getting both local and national nods for its attention to detail and strong sense of place. It’s for ladies who lunch in the best way possible, with Oriental rugs, white all around and absolutely beautiful food. McGuire takes decor so seriously that he has a full-time creative director devoted to creating atmosphere.

    1601 Waterston Ave.; 512-477-5584

  • Hillside Farmacy

    Chef Sonya Cote’s East Austin cafe looks like something straight out of a Wes Anderson film. Every detail is thought out, from the classic tile to the antique register and the communal sinks and mirrors by the bathroom. Co-owner Mickie Spencer designed the hyperstylized interior, re-envisioning the Hillside Drugstore that had originally been housed in the location, down to the natural green patina on the cabinetry. And it really does feel like you’re entering another time when you open the door.

    1209 E. 11th St.; 512-628-0168