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Austin restaurants

Locals are proud of their city's food, but Austin's restaurant scene can be frustrating. Some of the city's better spots have been driven out recently by style-over-substance eateries. Thankfully, the innovative Japanese food at Uchi and the upmarket Texas cuisine at Lambert's has risen above the fray, and the city's trademark Tex-Mex and barbecue joints make for excellent stick-to-your-ribs fare.

Slow-smoked beef brisket and loosely packed Hill Country sausage are the centerpieces of the region's barbecue, and although their best examples are found in gritty grocery stores in dead-end towns, Austin establishments do a more-than-admirable job. The same goes for Tex-Mex. Don't be fooled by snooty foodies who complain about authenticity. Tex-Mex isn't trying to be Mexican; it's a brand of Southern comfort food that's uniquely Texan and uniquely delicious. Don't leave Austin without sampling chile con queso; cheese enchiladas with chile gravy; and a Mexican martini, Austin's tarter answer to a margarita, shaken and served straight up. For more traditional Mexican fare (called, somewhat inexplicably, "interior Mexican"), explore the bare-bones taquerías and food trucks that dot the city, most notably in East Austin.

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Threadgill's, Austin

In 1933, Kenneth Threadgill obtained the county's first post-Prohibition liquor license, converted an old Gulf gas station into a beer joint, and started...more

Editors' Pick
Salt Lick, Driftwood

If, in your mind, Texas + food = barbecue, the Salt Lick is the place for you. A hoppin' joint out in the middle of the Hill Country, a 30-minute drive...more

Editors' Pick
The Oasis, Austin

Like a zany tree house for adults, this restaurant is famous for its series of multilevel decks—more than 40—arranged some 450 feet above Lake Travis....more

Editors' Pick
Jeffrey's, Austin

A venerable neighborhood bistro that's a favorite among celebs and politicos, including a former Austin resident named George W. something-or-other. They come...more

Editors' Pick
Hudson's on the Bend, Austin

This stone cottage, about 20 miles west of town in the Hill Country near Lake Travis, offers the quintessential Austin experience: It's sophisticated, but not...more

Editors' Pick
Fonda San Miguel, Austin

The haciendalike Fonda San Miguel has been an Austin eating institution for over 30 years and is well worth the detour off South Congress. There may be more...more

Editors' Pick
Driskill Grill, Austin

Ornate chandeliers, dark-wood paneling, and etched-glass partitions make a trip to Driskill Grill feel a bit like traveling back to the days of Wild West...more

Editors' Pick
Chuy's, Austin

Velvet Elvises papering the walls and hubcaps on the ceiling set the mood; the Hatch green chile sauce provides a caliente kick to the enchiladas and burritos;...more

Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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