Feature

The 10 Hottest Restaurants in Austin Right Now

By Megan Giller | March 2, 2015 By Megan Giller  |  March 2, 2015
Photo by: Jenny Sathngam

When it comes to restaurant openings, Austin’s pace never ceases to amaze. From Ramen Tatsu-Ya's new spot on South Lamar to a fresh take on classic Southern cuisine, here are our favorites right now. And bonus: peek inside a few of these tables up close and personal in our video below.

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  • Photo by: Jenny Sathngam

    Launderette  

    Why It’s Hot: Austin has been waiting with bated breath for the highly anticipated next step from beloved chefs Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki (formerly of La Condesa and Sway).

    Must-Order: Labneh with beet hummus and millet crunch, served with everything crackers.

    Insider Tip: Check out the kitschy statues behind the bar, which may just remind you of your great-grandmother’s living room.

    2115 Holly St.; 512-382-1599

  • Ramen Tatsu-Ya, South Lamar

    Why It’s Hot: We’ve been hiking up to North 183 to stand in line for chef Tatsu Aikawa’s killer ramen for a few years now, and it’s finally come down south!

    Must-Order: The Mi-So-Hot ramen bowl.

    Insider Tip: This place is always slammed, so come right when it opens for lunch or dinner and expect to wait longer than it will take you to slurp your noodles.

    1234 S. Lamar Blvd.

  • Fixe  

    Why It’s Hot: The Downtown restaurant from Eddie V’s alums breathes new life into Southern food.

    Must-Order: The red beans and rice dessert, with a sweet red bean fritter (think beignet) dusted with yogurt powder, sided with toasted rice ice cream, caramelized white chocolate mousse and puffed rice.

    Insider Tip: The vibe is classic and classy here, which means you may want to wear full-length pants instead of the usual cargo shorts and flip-flops.

    500 W. Fifth St.; 512-888-9133

  • Peached Tortilla

    Why It’s Hot: Chef Eric Silverstein’s food truck by the same name has long been making us swoon over Asian fusion, and his restaurant does the same.

    Must-Order: Summer Fun noodle dish, with tender brisket.

    Insider Tip: Sit at the bar and chat with the bartenders over some fine, strong drinks.

    5520 Burnet Rd.; 512-330-4439

  • Gardner  

    Why It’s Hot: Chef Andrew Wiseheart kept things meaty at Contigo, but he turns to produce at this new vegetable-focused restaurant.

    Must-Order: Gnudi with ricotta, smoked mushrooms and arugula.

    Insider Tip: Check out the beautiful bar area, with a separate, shareable snacks menu.

    1914 E. Sixth St.; 512-354-1480

  • Photo by: Erica Wilkins

    St. Philip  

    Why It’s Hot: Uchi’s new casual concept, with pizza, sandwiches and pastries, will make you rethink everything else you’ve ever eaten.

    Must-Order: S’mores pancakes with graham-cracker pancakes, toasted marshmallows and chocolate “gravy” for brunch.

    Insider Tip: Check out the bakeshop next to the restaurant for mouthwatering treats like cornflake-chocolate Pop-Tarts.

    4715 S. Lamar Blvd.; 512-358-7445

  • Olamaie  

    Why It’s Hot: Chefs Grae Nonas and Michael Fojtasek create light, complex Southern-inspired dishes that go beyond the standard fried chicken.

    Must-Order: Chilled blue crab with gold rice, kuri squash pudding, popped sorghum and Tabasco sauce.

    Insider Tip: Ask for the biscuits! They’re not on the menu, but they are divine.

    1610 San Antonio St.; 512-474-2796

  • 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.

    1201 S. Lamar Blvd.; 512-433-6521

  • Dai Due  

    Why It’s Hot: Chef Jesse Griffiths has long wooed Austin at the farmer’s market using 100% local products, from meat to salt, and his new brick-and-mortar restaurant ups his (wild) game.

    Must-Order: Venison ceviche tostada with nopales, herbs and ancho chile.

    Insider Tip: Griffiths is also an avid hunter and fisher, and his book, Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game, was nominated for a James Beard Award.

    2406 Manor Rd.; 512-524-0688

  • 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.

    1501 E. Seventh St.; 512-391-1888

Places Mentioned

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Odd Duck

Zilker
Food25 Decor25 Service25 Cost$52
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Barley Swine

AmericanSouth Lamar
Food27 Decor23 Service26 Cost$67
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laV

FrenchEast Austin
Food24 Decor26 Service24 Cost$101
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Dai Due

AmericanCherrywood
Food- Decor- Service- CostE
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Olamaie

Southern AmericanDowntown
Food- Decor- Service- CostE
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Gardner

AmericanEast Austin
Food- Decor- Service- CostE
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Contigo

AmericanMueller
Food23 Decor24 Service21 Cost$31
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Fixe

Southern AmericanDowntown
Food- Decor- Service- CostE
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Ramen Tatsu-Ya

Noodle ShopZilker
Food27 Decor22 Service22 Cost$16
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Ramen Tatsu-ya

JapaneseNorth Austin
Food27 Decor22 Service22 Cost$16
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Sway

ThaiBouldin Creek
Food27 Decor24 Service25 Cost$50
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La Condesa

Mexican2nd Street District
Food24 Decor25 Service22 Cost$37

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