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Austin City Guide: New Restaurants

25 February 2013 23,703 views 28 Comments

According to Forbes, Austin is the fastest growing city in America. Even more impressively, Austin has held on to the number one spot on this list for three years in a row.

afb_city_guide_2013_logo

It’s my honor to share with you a list of some of the restaurants to make a splash in our fair city over the past year for The Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s 2013 Austin City Guide. I sourced the list from my own research as well as by combing through posts from Addie Broyles Openings/Closings category in Relish Austin and Andrea Grimes Opening Alert category in Eater Austin.

Below is a list of restaurants that have opened since March 2012, with my current favorite spots in bold. Those I’ve heard some great buzz about, but haven’t yet had a chance to visit are italicized.

400 Rabbits (S. Austin), a restaurant and tequila bar inside the Alamo on Slaughter Lane that is open starting at 4 p.m. on weekdays and at 10 a.m. on weekends, opened in March 2012.

400 rabbits

Austin Daily Press (E. Austin), the brick-and-mortar restaurant on MLK and Chicon, from the team that runs the popular sandwich food truck, opened in November 2012.

Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden (downtown), a bar and music venue with an extensive beer list that includes an off-leash dog park, opened on Rainey Street in July 2012.

bangers

Bar Mirabeau (downtown), located next door to its upscale sibling, Restaurant Jezebel, has served breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week in the new Cirrus Logic building on 6th and West Ave since September 2012.

Blenders and Bowls (downtown), has served juice and acai bowls inside of the Wanderlust Life yoga studio and music venue since April 2012. They also run a food truck, located at 26th and Rio Grande.

The Bonneville (downtown) has been open for happy hour and dinner every day of the week since January 2013, offering “New American” dishes and a fun list of cocktails.

Cenote (E. Austin), a serious coffee shop that also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, opened on Cesar Chavez just East of I-35, in March 2012.

cenote

Cherry Street (downtown) an Italian restaurant with fresh mozzarella, $8 pizzas at lunch, and great cocktails, opened at 16th and Lavaca in September 2012.

Chicago House (downtown), a bar and restaurant that specializes in craft beer and Chicago hot dogs, burgers, and other bar snacks, opened in January 2013.

Clark’s Oyster Bar (downtown), the newest restaurant from Chef Larry McGuire and his restaurant group, opened in October 2012. Perla’s “little brother,” Clark’s menu includes oysters, a seafood cold-bar, caviar, and an extensive menu of seafood specialties.

Counter Culture (E. Austin), the brick-and-mortar location of what was formerly a vegan food trailer, opened in May 2012 offering “vegan comfort food.”

Daisies Cafe (Rosedale), open for breakfast and lunch every day but Sunday since September 2012, is a tiny cafe that offers Mexican and Middle Eastern specialties, as well as traditional diner fare.

East 12th Kafe (E. Austin) opened in December 2012 to offer Southern, Soul, and Cajun dishes in a comfortable, family-owned environment.

East Side King at Hole in the Wall (UT campus) is the first brick-and-mortar location of the popular Asian-fusion street food trailers co-owned by Top Chef winner Paul Qui. Open for lunch and dinner on weekdays and dinner only on Saturdays, ESK at Hole in the Wall opened in December 2012. They serve popular favorites from the trailers as well as ramen.

east side king specialties

El Naranjo (downtown) is the brick-and-mortar restaurant that Oaxacan chef Iliana de la Vega and her husband have been building for two years while serving their Mexican delicacies, including salsas and moles and house-made bread and tortillas out of the food truck parked in the driveway. They were finally able to open their Rainey Street restaurant in May 2012.

Molotes Veracruzanos

Molotes Veracruzanos

Epicerie Cafe & Grocery(Rosedale), a hybrid specialty market, restaurant, and coffee shop with a French and Cajun-inspired menu, opened in January 2013. Epicerie offers a delicious cheese and charcuterie selection, as well as soups, salads, and sandwiches. However, the highlights for me are the baked goods, particularly the wonderful beignets.

epicerie

Freedmen’s Bar (UT campus) is both a BBQ joint and a bar, and the building is historical — it was built in 1869. It opened in December 2012.

Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon (downtown) is a to-go/pick-up charcoal grilled chicken joint from Larry McGuire’s restaurant group (the team behind Lambert’s). Fresa’s offers locally and humanely raised chickens along with tortillas, sides, salads, and more. It’s basically a Yuppie-friendly Pollo Rico, and it opened in April 2012.

The Goodnight (N. Austin) is a large bar/restaurant with a bowling alley and lots of bar games that opened in November 2012. The timing of its opening coincided nicely with the sad closing of The Highball’s temporary closing that same month. I can vouch for their desserts.

Gourdough’s Public House (S. Austin) is another food trailer expansion to a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Opening in October 2012, GPH has an extensive specialty cocktail list and serves donut burgers, entrees, desserts, and even salads.

Habesha (N. Austin) offers authentic Ethiopian cuisine in a nicely decorated environment in a strip mall off I-35. The service includes a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Hanabi (N. Austin) is a Japanese restaurant with an extensive menu that is open for lunch and dinner. Adam and I went recently and were impressed with the quality, presentation and price. It opened in November 2012 and is a welcome addition to our dinner rotation.

One of the fish specials was served with real wasabi

One of the fish specials was served with real wasabi

Henri’s Cheese and Wine (S. Austin) is a cheese and wine spot that also serves sandwiches and salads. They have been open since April 2012 and are a great place to hang out while you wait for a table to open up at Barley Swine, or for a bite and a drink before heading straight over to Lick for a sweet treat.

Hillside Farmacy (E. Austin) is a beautifully-designed restaurant from the team behind East Side Show Room that opened in March 2012. Chef Sonya Coté created a varied menu that includes charcuterie and cheese plates, oysters, comfort food, and many of Coté’s favorite dishes from growing up in New England. Hillside is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, happy hour and even afternoon tea.

brunch

brunch

In.gredients (E. Austin) is an eco-friendly, mostly package-free grocery store that also sells beer, wine, and snacks for those that want to visit with friends on their front patio. It opened in August 2012.

Restaurant Jezebel (downtown) re-opened in a new location in October 2012, after a fire burned down the old location on Congress. The new Jezebel offers only prix fixe meals for $85-$125 per-person in a fine dining atmosphere (jackets only for the men), and will be “a three to four hour experience.”

Josephine House (downtown) opened at West Lynn and 12th in February 2013 for lunch, and snacks/drinks. Located next door to Jeffrey’s, which will also be reopened soon. Both Josephine House and Jeffrey’s are owned by Larry McGuire’s restaurant group.

Lucky Robot (S. Austin) opened in October 2012 after being remodeled from Zen, the fast-casual Japanese restaurant, into a new concept that focuses on a modern twist to Japanese street food and cuisine. Lucky Robot is getting buzz around town for their weekend brunches.

Michi Ramen (N. Austin) is another food trailer success story, opening their brick-and-mortar location in January 2013. Offering four kinds of ramen, including a veggie version, and three grades of broth, Michi is giving Ramen Tatsu-Ya a run for its money.

Pelons (downtown) restaurant opened in the old Jaime’s Spanish Village space at 8th and Red River, across the street from Stubb’s in May 2013. Pelons is an upscale Tex-Mex spot, and is a nice addition to the neighborhood.

Pieous (SW Austin) is a pizza restaurant in the Hill Country that opened in February 2013. The owner makes his own bread, crust, mozzarella, and cures his own pastrami. The delicious desserts include huge chocolate chip cookies, slices of pie, and tiramisu.

Photo Credit: Adam Holzband

Photo Credit: Adam Holzband

Pinthouse Pizza (Rosedale) is a “craft brewpub” that opened in October 2012 and serves appetizers, salads, pizzas and desserts for both lunch and dinner.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya (N. Austin) specializes in traditional ramen and is open every day but Monday for dinner. Don’t be scared if there’s a line out the door, it moves quickly and you’ll be sitting and eating (and then up again) in no-time at this fast-casual restaurant.

Tsukemen (Dipping Noodles) with Sauce

Tsukemen (Dipping Noodles) with Sauce

The Russian House (downtown) is a hilariously campy Russian bar-slash-club-slash-restaurant that opened in October 2012. They serve every Russian specialty under the sun, including caviar, blini, pickled cabbage, borscht, and dozens of infused vodkas.

Russian House

Welcome dish of bread, salt, and radishes

Sagra (E. Austin) lost their lease last year, but reopened in February 2013 in a new location on E. 11th Street serving rustic Italian dishes featuring wood-fired pizzas, house-made mozzarella, meats, and pastas.

Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria (E. Austin) opened its first brick-and-mortar meat shop and cafe in February 2013. Salt & Time had been selling their products at the HOPE Market, at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, and by wholesale to local restaurants, and it was always in their business plan to open up their own deli. Cuvee Coffee Roasters opened up their first cafe inside Salt & Time in March.

Salty Sow (E. Austin) is the newest restaurant from the team behind Z’Tejas, Roaring Fork, Eddie V’s and Hopdoddy. Opened in May 2012, Salty Sow specializes in nose to tail cooking with sustainable ingredients, rich presentation, and signature cocktails.

salty sow

Shinjuku Sushi Bar and Ramen (N. Austin) opened in February 2013 and serves sushi and ramen for lunch and dinner.

SPIN Modern Thai Cuisine (N. Austin) opened in April 2012 and serves Thai dishes with a “spin.”

Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza (SW Austin) has been open on Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. since November 2012. It’s the perfect snack after a day spent at the tasting room in Jester King Brewery, with whom it shares property.

stanleys

Sway (S. Austin) is an upscale Thai restaurant from the team behind La Condesa that opened in December 2012. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and the menu includes small plates that are meant to be ordered family style and shared.

son in law

Swift’s Attic (downtown) was opened in April by Austin chefs with experience at Uchi, Jeffrey’s, Mulberry, Haddington’s, and Parkside and has been serving creative small plates and an interesting cocktail menu since April 2012.

Tuk Tuk Thai Cafe (S. Austin) is a new Thai restaurant opened in the same location as previous Thai restaurants in February 2013.

Vintage Heart Coffee (E. Austin) is a coffee shop that opened in June 2012. It serves pastries from Russell’s Bakery and Red Rabbit Cooperative (yum!), and coffee from Third Coast Roasting Company.

Winflo Osteria (downtown) is an Italian restaurant with a gorgeous patio that opened in January 2013. The menu features handmade pastas, an all-Italian wine menu, and a nice cocktail list.

Other restaurants that have opened within the last few years are included in my City Guide post from last year. Two other members will be writing about new bars, and new food trailers respectively, for the City Guide, and I’ll link to them here when they’re live.

Related (Note: These will be hyper linked as they are posted):

What are your favorite restaurants that have opened in Austin since March 2012?

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  • http://Marcos.Kirsch.com.mx/ Marcos

    This is extremely useful. I plan on trying several that I haven't been to yet.

  • jodibart

    I'm so glad to hear that, Marcos. I spent many MANY hours pulling it together, so hope it's helpful to at least a few folks!

  • http://Marcos.Kirsch.com.mx/ Marcos

    This is extremely useful. I plan on trying several that I haven't been to yet.

  • jodibart

    I'm so glad to hear that, Marcos. I spent many MANY hours pulling it together, so hope it's helpful to at least a few folks!

  • Lisa

    Great list! I still need to check out so many of these.

  • Rebecca Fitch

    Pinthouse pizza & brewhouse on Burnet at 45th is also a new place worth checking out. Thanks for compiling this list. Great reference when looking for a new place to try.

  • jodibart

    Me too, Lisa!

  • jodibart

    Thanks, Rebecca. I haven't been to Pinthouse yet and look forward to checking it out!

  • jodibart

    Me too, Lisa!

  • jodibart

    Thanks, Rebecca. I haven't been to Pinthouse yet and look forward to checking it out!

  • http://None None

    ❤ this list! so many exciting places to discover

  • http://twitter.com/StellaCooks Stella Cooks

    Thanks for reminding me of all the places I still need to visit! I especially want to try Banger's and Freedmen's!

  • http://bootlings.tumblr.com/ Rachel @ boots in the oven

    Wow, Jodi, this is a great list! We've added Hanabi to our regular rotation, too, since it's right near the house.

    I am sad to report, though, that we had a horrible experience at Shinjuku for lunch yesterday. Didn't try the sushi, but Logan got the ramen and I tried their oyakodon, and both were awful. Every component of my dish was screwed up, from burnt chicken to dried-out, clumpy rice, and Logan's ramen… well, the broth was OK, but the pork was way dry and overcooked, the egg was over-boiled, and the noodles tasted pretty much instant. Plus, lots of suspicious 5-star yelp reviews. I have no idea what's going on up there, but ugh.

  • RLReevesJr

    Why no love for Habesha? You got a beef with Rastafari? Might want to rethink your position JB. http://www.scrumptiouschef.com… don't skip the lamb

  • jodibart

    Good to know re: Shinjuku, Rachel. Sounds pretty terrible! I'll keep an eye on it and push it down a bit lower on my growing “to try” list.

  • jodibart

    Thanks, RL. I don't know how I missed Habesha since it's actually a place I've been. Got takeout from there but it seems like a place ya gotta eat-in to truly enjoy. I've added it now.

  • jodibart

    Good to know re: Shinjuku, Rachel. Sounds pretty terrible! I'll keep an eye on it and push it down a bit lower on my growing “to try” list.

  • jodibart

    Thanks, RL. I don't know how I missed Habesha since it's actually a place I've been. Got takeout from there but it seems like a place ya gotta eat-in to truly enjoy. I've added it now.

  • Linda Bart

    Fantastic list. I am going to have to return to Austin soon to try some of them.

  • Linda Bart

    Fantastic list. I am going to have to return to Austin soon to try some of them.

  • Pingback: Tasty Touring » Blog Archive » 25 Recommended Downtown Austin Restaurants

  • Mike S

    Thanks Jodi! Very useful, but also very overwhelming (in a good way). One quasi-new restaurant that I happened to stumble across is Turf n' Surf Po Boy. They've moved from their downtown trailer to a permanent spot at 4th & La Vaca, where Hog Island Deli used to be. Mmmmm pork tacos (and I've never been disappointed by their seafood, either.)

  • jodibart

    Hi Mike – This list was only meant to cover new brick-and-mortar restaurants, so there are no trailers on the list. For new trailers, check out: http://blog.mikegalante.com/20…. There's also a list of downtown trailers (not necessarily new): http://austinfoodcarts.com/aus

  • Mike S

    Thanks Jodi! Very useful, but also very overwhelming (in a good way). One quasi-new restaurant that I happened to stumble across is Turf n' Surf Po Boy. They've moved from their downtown trailer to a permanent spot at 4th & La Vaca, where Hog Island Deli used to be. Mmmmm pork tacos (and I've never been disappointed by their seafood, either.)

  • jodibart

    Hi Mike – This list was only meant to cover new brick-and-mortar restaurants, so there are no trailers on the list. For new trailers, check out: http://blog.mikegalante.com/20…. There's also a list of downtown trailers (not necessarily new): http://austinfoodcarts.com/aus

  • Ilyse

    EEEEEEKS! Why did it take me so long to look at this????? Very handy guide! Thank you Tasty Touring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ilyse

    EEEEEEKS! Why did it take me so long to look at this????? Very handy guide! Thank you Tasty Touring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ilyse

    EEEEEEKS! Why did it take me so long to look at this????? Very handy guide! Thank you Tasty Touring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!