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Austin Food and Drink Recommendations

13 January 2014 45,152 views No Comment

Tonight I was invited to speak at the monthly meeting of the Austin Concierge and Guest Services Association. The event was held at the Hotel Ella with a delicious family-style meal provided by their on-site restaurant – Goodall’s.

I’m a huge fan of concierges – in fact, before I had an iPhone, I had the Four Seasons concierge desk on speed dial for those times when I was away from a computer and needed a recommendation. There was limited time to talk about food and drink in Austin during the meeting, so I promised to post all of my information on the blog.

I started by sharing some of the ways I do my research to learn what’s happening in the Austin food and drink scene. The best resource for breaking news these days is Eater Austin, with the Statesman and the Chronicle getting the scoop on pretty much everything else. I also try to “Like” the Facebook pages of the food businesses I’m interested in keeping up with — many folks these days post news first on their social media channels and that’s the best way to find out about specials, closings, etc. I share food news regularly in the Tasty Touring Facebook group. Another great resource is the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been one of the ambassadors for the Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau True Austin program. As the food and drink “expert” for the program, it’s my job to answer questions from visitors about where they should go to consume the best of what Austin has to offer. If you are planning a visit to Austin and have a question for one of the experts, you can email us, post a question on Facebook, or tag @VisitAustinTX or #TrueAustin in a tweet and someone will try to help.

In my talk to the group, I started by talking about some spots that have very recently opened in Austin – some that I have tried – like Gus’s Fried Chicken, Odd Duck, and East Side King on S. Lamar – and some that I haven’t – like Dolce Neve gelato and Due Forni.

And somehow, my time was up before I could share some of my other favorite spots. Without further ado, here are some of my recommendations:

Food Trucks

la Barbecue, Chi’Lantro, Cow Tipping Creamery, East Side King at the Liberty, Flip Happy Crepes (when open), Lulu B’s, Llama’s Peruvian, Melvin’s Deli Comfort, Micklethwait Craft Meats, El Primo, Tapas Bravas, Three Little Pigs, Veracruz All Natural, VIA 313


CU-29, Bar Congress, Drink.Well., East Side Show Room, Jeffrey’s, Malverde, Midnight Cowboy, Peche, The Tigress, Weather Up

A Special Date 

The Carillon, La Condesa, Congress, Driskill Grill, Jezebel, Lenoir, Odd Duck, TRIO at the Four Seasons, Qui, Uchi, Uchiko, TRIO at the Four Seasons, Wink

A Nice Date

Cafe Josie, Chez Nous, Fabi & Rosi, Foreign & Domestic, Justine’s, El Naranjo, Parkside, Sway, La Traviata

In-town BBQ

la Barbecue, Franklin*, Freedmen’s, Micklethwait Craft Meats, Stiles Switch BBQ

*It is recommended that you arrive by 8 am on a weekend – earlier on busy weekends like SXSW and F1 – to get in line for BBQ at Franklin. They open at 11. You can also call your order in and pick it up when they open without the wait, but for that option, you need to call in your order at least a month in advance.


Caffe Medici, Cenote, Frank, Houndstooth, Once Over Coffee, Patika


24 Diner, Arro, Contigo, Enoteca Vespaio, Eastside Cafe, Fonda San Miguel, Lambert’s, Mulberry, Salt & Time, Steeping Room, Tacodeli, Taco Xpress, Takoba


Bouldin Creek, Beets Cafe, Casa de Luz, Juiceland, Mother’s, Snap Kitchen, Soup Peddler, Steeping Room, Whole Foods


24 Diner, Contigo, Galaxy Cafe, Homeslice Pizza, Hopdoddy, Jack Allens, Pieous, Phil’s Ice House, Taco Xpress

Happy Hours

Lenoir, Olive & June, Paggi House, Parkside, Peche, TRIO at the Four Seasons


Check out Taco Journalism for their recommendations. I like Tacodeli, Veracruz All Natural, El Primo, and Papalote, among others.


Polvos, El Naranjo. Fonda San Miguel, La Condesa, Sazon and Azul Tequila

Last, but not least, here’s my list of Austin’s Most Overrated Restaurants from 2010 (still relevant!).

I hope that this list was helpful to you – I’d love to know what you what add or remove (please be up front about any bias, if applicable). And if you need a specific recommendation, please feel free to leave a comment here and I’ll be more than happy to help you find the perfect spot.

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