Feature

Are These the Austin Area’s Best Restaurants? Vote in Our Survey

By Megan Giller | April 22, 2014 By Megan Giller  |  April 22, 2014
Photo by: Spencer Selvidge

Over the past few years, Austin has quickly become one of the top food destinations in the country, with dozens of quality restaurants and many more opening. Last time we published our survey, in 2012, we included the greater Austin area, and you’ll see that reflected in the list below. But with so many new places around town, are these restaurants still the best? Check out our current top places below, and if you disagree, tell us so by voting in our survey

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  • No. 10: Hudson's on the Bend

    Food: 27
    Decor: 24
    Service: 26
    Cost: $60

    “Rattlesnake cakes, anyone?” - this “true Texas ranch house” in Lakeway spotlights Jeff Blank’s “memorable” New American menu highlighting “elk, elk and more elk” and other “exotic” game served by a “savvy”, “pleasant” staff in “romantic” digs; yes, it’s “expensive”, but it’s truly a “unique experience” that makes any meal “feel like a special occasion”; P.S. reservations recommended.

    3509 Ranch Rd. 620 N.; 512-266-1369

  • No. 9: Smitty's Market

    Food: 27
    Decor: 14
    Service: 15
    Cost: $18

    A “mecca” for “BBQ aficionados”, this Lockhart butcher shop set in the original site of the Kreuz Market is cherished for its “superb” brisket, “thick pork chops” that “rock your socks” and links “to die for” (a good thing since “your arteries may never recover”); all comes served straight from the pit in an “old-time, fire-seared” setting abetted by a friendly staff and cold beer.

    208 S. Commerce St.; 512-398-9344

  • Photo by: Spencer Selvidge

    No. 8: Uchiko 

    Food: 28
    Decor: 26
    Service: 27
    Cost: $59

    “Simply brilliant”, this “whimsical” Rosedale sib to Uchi features Top Chef’s Paul Qui’s “wildly creative” Japanese fare in “beautiful” presentations capped by “dynamic” wines and “mind-blowing desserts”; service is “professional”, the space is modern and while tabs are steep, that hasn’t deterred the crowds.

    4200 N. Lamar Blvd.; 512-916-4808

  • No. 7: Congress 

    Food: 28
    Decor: 28
    Service: 27
    Cost: $90

    “Hands-down” among the “best” in town proclaim fans of this “upscale” Downtown restaurant spotlighting chef David Bull’s “over-the-top”, “no-holds-barred” New American creations served in prix fixe feasts “fit for a foodie”; “wonderful wines”, “fantastic” service (ranked No. 1 in Austin) and a “sophisticated” setting make it “worth every penny for a special occasion” - go for the “full-monty chef’s tasting” “if you can afford it”; P.S. the adjacent Bar Congress has its own menu of cocktails and small bites.

    200 Congress Ave.; 512-827-2760

  • No. 6: Franklin Barbecue

    Food: 28
    Decor: 11
    Service: 19
    Cost: $17

    Originally a trailer, this brick-and-mortar BBQ upstart in East Austin is “giving the big names a run for their money” with some of the “finest brisket in the entire state of Texas” plus pulled pork and other “exceptional”, “simple smoked meats”; the modest space opens at 11 AM and closes whenever the eats run out, which is usually early.

    900 E. 11th St.; 512-653-1187

  • No. 5: The Carillon

    Food: 28
    Decor: 25
    Service: 26
    Cost: $55

    “Top-drawer for Austin”, this “beautiful”, “special-occasion” Campus-area New American in the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center is where chef Josh Watkins “moves Texas-native materials into haute cuisine territory”, yielding “exceptional” dishes; considering such “superior” quality and service, many find the prices quite “reasonable”; P.S. the lounge features a separate bar menu with small plates.

    1900 University Ave.; 512-404-3655

  • Photo by: Flickr/Amanderson2

    No. 4: Snow's BBQ

    Food: 28
    Decor: 15
    Service: 22
    Cost: $18

    It’s “only open on Saturday mornings” so diehards “show up at dawn and stand in line” for “melt-in-your-mouth” brisket and “tender, meaty” ribs at this Lexington smokehouse called “as close to heaven as meat eaters can get”; its “no-pretensions”, “far-off-the-path” locale “down a back alley in a forgotten town” is definitely “part of the charm”, and so is the “friendly” hospitality.

    516 Main St.; 979-773-4640

  • Photo by: Spencer Selvidge

    No. 3: Barley Swine

    Food: 28
    Decor: 19
    Service: 25
    Cost: $47

    One of the “hottest” places in town, this “amazing” “locavore” American in South Lamar from chef Bryce Gilmore (of the now-defunct Odd Duck trailer) provides “truly memorable” small plates all made for sharing and enjoying alongside an impressive list of beers; it’s “foodie central”, but the space is “hopelessly small”, so “arrive early or be prepared to wait for an eternity.”

    2024 S. Lamar Blvd.; 512-394-8150

  • No. 2: Louie Mueller BBQ

    Food: 29
    Decor: 16
    Service: 21
    Cost: $21

    The dining room itself is “charred with years of accumulating smoke” at this “real-deal” circa-1949 Taylor BBQer declared “one of the best in Texas” thanks to its “simply divine”, “thickly crusted”, “flavorful” brisket that “passes the doesn’t-need-sauce test”; service is “cafeteria-style” and “neon beer signs” are the only decor, but it’s “well worth the drive”; P.S. it “closes when they run out of food”, so “get there early.”

    206 W. Second St.; 512-352-6206

  • No. 1: Uchi  

    Food: 29
    Decor: 25
    Service: 27
    Cost: $56

    “Heaven” for sushiphiles, this Zilker jewel box presents the “finest in forward-thinking Japanese” cuisine via chef Tyson Cole - from “delish” raw fare and the signature deep-fried shag roll to “incredible” fusion plates that “make you cry tears of joy” - earning it Austin’s No. 1 for Food rating and tying it for Most Popular; a “sophisticated” vibe, “outstanding” service and a “great-looking clientele” mean it “surpasses expectations” for most, just “take another hit of sake before you look at the bill”; P.S. a Houston outpost is now open.

    801 S. Lamar Blvd.; 512-916-4808

Places Mentioned

Uchi Restaurant

Bouldin Creek
Food29 Decor27 Service27 Cost$73

Uchiko

JapaneseRosedale
Food28 Decor27 Service27 Cost$78

Barley Swine

AmericanSouth Lamar
Food27 Decor23 Service26 Cost$67

Snow's BBQ

BarbecueLexington
Food26 Decor15 Service22 Cost$10

The Carillon

AmericanCampus
Food24 Decor21 Service22 Cost$68

Franklin Barbecue

BarbecueEast Austin
Food28 Decor20 Service23 Cost$23

Congress

AmericanDowntown
Food25 Decor24 Service24 Cost$66

Smitty's Market

BarbecueLockhart
Food26 Decor16 Service20 Cost$15

Hudson's on the Bend

Fine DiningAustin
Food27 Decor24 Service26 Cost$62

Recommended on Zagat

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