Dozens of restaurants open (and close…) every year in Austin. Some of them are awesome, and some are complete garbage, but because of the high density of restaurant in my city, I sometimes forget about my favorites!
I’m sharing my top 5 favorite Restaurants of the moment… These are the places I’m kinda/sorta obsessed with right now! My favorite restaurants change with the season, my mood, the temperatures, and based on what stays open. (For instance, Olivia was one of my brunch favorites until it closed last fall….Nate and I seriously talk all the time about how we wish it was still in business!! *waaah*).
But if you were to ask me right now, in October 2017, what my favorite restaurants in Austin are, this would be my answer:
5 Restaurants in Austin I’m Loving Right Now:
I almost didn’t give this place a chance, and here’s why: I hate their logo! Ahhhh , that’s such a petty and shallow reason to not give it a try! But I just don’t like it. I think it looks cheap and a little tacky, like they didn’t really put much effort into it. (That’s surprising to me, considering the restaurant is owned by Winebelly, which has a lovely design! )
But my in-laws came in town last Thursday, and we needed a lunch spot after picking them up from the airport. Phoebe’s happens to be walking distance from our house, so we stopped by for a quick bite around 2 pm.
Umm, everyone needs to give this place a try. For starters, you don’t have much to lose; entrees have diner prices, so you can get a big plate of food for $8-10.
Despite the questionable design choices in their logo, the interior is darling with a laid-back, 1950’s diner theme. It has a retro feel with checkered floor tiles, a long counter for seating, and cushioned four-seater booths.
The Diner Burger is everything I could have hoped for in a burger with that name: two thin patties with a fried, crunchy rim are hugged with melted American cheese, a soft bun, house pickles, and a smothering of “special sauce” to make the whole thing messy, moist, and flavorful.
Phoebe’s: I‘m sorry. I judged too quickly, and I LOVE YOU.
I’ve had wine and apps at the Domain location, and I’ve stopped by the new airport location….but I had never tried lunch at this popular New American restaurant in Austin. So afriend and I set a lunch date at the original downtown location so I could try it out.
This is a seasoned restaurant, which means that everything is beautifully executed. The design of the 2nd street patio is lovely, and the indoor bar area is equally aesthetically pleasing, so I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to sit indoors or out. (I ended up choosing outside because #naturallight, but inside is pretty for evening dates).
I guess it’s because Second Bar and Kitchen has been around for so long, but I forget about it sometimes! Since I just ate there and it’s fresh in my mind, I’m adding it to this list right now! I need to remember to recommend this place to more people who are looking for lunch/brunch options downtown. It’s an oldie and a goldie.
I’m not claiming to be a BBQ afficianato. I enjoy it, but I don’t eat it too often because it makes me too full and sleepy. But I’m slowly, slowly checking off all of the Austin hot spots off my to-eat list! Last month I made the trip down south to Valentina’s, and this month I went to Mickelthawait Craft meats. It’s a food truck in East Austin with a bunch of picnic tables set up under a makeshift tent. And it’s good.
The wait was around and hour-and-a-half, but part of that could be due to the fact that Franklin BBQ is still closed from their fire last month, and those customers need to go somewhere. (Other Austin foodie friends tell me the wait is normally much shorter, especially if you go on a weekday.) Regardless of the wait (or maybe because of it?), Mickelthwait fulfilled all of my smoked meat dreams. This is a BBQ spot that every Austinite and visitor should try!
Houndstooth is still king in Austin, in my opinion. Dozens of good (sometimes even great!) coffee shops have been opening, but Houndstooth still does it best. They source great roasters, train their baristas well, and really create that perfect atmosphere for a work meeting, a friend date, or a few minutes alone. You won’t have a bad coffee drink here.
I can’t wait for their third Austin location to open in the east side soon!
5. Kerbey Lane
I’m guilty of thinking “Kerbey Lane = college days, late nights, and every flavor of pancakes. Plus really good queso.”
And Kerbey Lane does mean all those things to me, but even though they’re known for being a 24-hour diner with family-friendly menus, Kerbey Lane does a really great job at creating seasonal items!
I was sampling their fall menu last month and though, oh yeah….they have a lot of great stuff here! The Acorn Squash Gratin (pictured above) is every essence of fall in a single platter. And their pumpkin cream pasta is just something that everyone should taste at least once this season before the fall menu disappears!
And I’m not dissing their French toast and pancakes at all. I love ‘em. I just needed a reminder that they actually have a lot of great stuff on their menu besides those comforting breakfast items.
Ok y’all, that’s my list! Limiting it to 5 is a challenge, because there are a lot of great restaurants in Austin at any one moment. But those are the ones I’ve been thinking about recently.
What about you? Any favorite restaurants in your city? Whether you live in Austin or not, I love hearing about your foodie favorites!
Hope your Monday is just swell!