Austin’s local food scene is so robust now that you can enjoy farm fresh fare from diverse cuisines in almost every part of town. And, eating locally doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you are enjoying a sandwich at Easy Tiger, dinner at the Seedling Truck or breakfast from Dai Due at the farmers market, you can eat well on a budget while you support local farmers, ranchers and food artisans.
There have been some exciting new developments on the locally sourcing front this last year. Swift’s Attic moved into the renovated space that used to be Kyoto at on 3rd and Congress and brought us the culinary dream team of Executive Chef Mat Clouser, Sous Chef Zack Northcutt and Pastry Chef Callie Speer. These three are clearly having a good time in the kitchen as they put their playful spin on more traditional dishes. The BLT becomes a CLT with candied chicken skin instead of bacon, while the Popcorn & a Movie dessert melds the flavors from the movie concession stand into a sophisticated dessert with salty popcorn ice cream, a root beer glee and a chocolate candy. The food may be fun, but it’s composed from a serious foundation that makes it worth a visit.
CLT sandwich at Swift’s Attic
Salt & Time, who you may know as a vendor from the farmers markets, has opened their butcher shop in East Austin. I love watching them butcher and they always have new salumi and treats in the case. Their sandwiches and hot food are terrific and you can enjoy them at the bar with an ice cold beer, soda or some Cuvee coffee.
The Backspace, Shawn Cirkiel’s pizza joint behind Parkside off of 6th St., is now open for weekday lunch, a real boon for folks who work downtown. Cafe Josie is under new ownership with Chef Brandon Fuller, previously of Wink, at the helm bringing his thoughtful to a West Austin standard.
Most recently, Chef Larry Kocurek has made his way back to Austin proper from the Hyatt at Lost Pines and is the new head chef at TRACE at the W. I feel confident that we’ll some of his charcuterie artistry, he and his wife Lee Ann used to own Kocurek Family Charcuterie, emerge from the TRACE kitchen.
Soup of the day at Trace
Inevitably someone will ask me which are my favorite spots, an almost impossible task. We have so many amazing chefs in town now, it’s hard to play favorites. Having said that, I have a standing monthly dinner date at Lenoir and am always delighted to see what husband and wife team Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher have cooked up that month. I’m also a regular at Swift’s Attic as I have friends in the kitchen and love digging in to their latest creation – these guys are crazy in the tastiest of ways.
I recommend Uchi and Uchiko as well as Second Bar and Kitchen, Congress and Foreign and Domestic without hesitation to all who I ask. And, I may love nothing better than relaxing at Contigo or Easy Tiger over a lovely cocktail or beer while visiting with friends. I’ve been to Salt & Time often since they opened earlier this year, enjoying their sandwiches and fried chicken while stocking up on perfectly marbled meats. I love dinner under the trees at Olive & June and was seriously wowed by a recent Sunday night family dinner there.
See, I’m terrible at picking a favorite. There are just too many great places in Austin to narrow it down, so here’s my big list of recommendations organized by area of the city. You tell me your favorites.
If you are interested in other facets of Austin dining, be sure to check out the full Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide.
The Backspace, 507 San Jacinto, Antipasto and Neopolitan style pizza cooked in a brick oven imported from Italy, average pizza price $12.
Bess Bistro on Pecan, 500 W 6th St., standard bistro fare on the edge of downtown and a great place to satisfy your craving for Steak Frites, average dinner entree price, $20.
Chez Nous, 510 Neches, French Bistro, lunch and dinner, 3 course prix fixe menu $28.50, average dinner entree $25.
Congress, 200 Congress Ave., New American, Dinner only with 3 courses ($75) or chef tasting menu ($125.) Austin Woman profile
Easy Tiger, 709 E. Sixth St., Bakery and beer garden open breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night with artisan breads and meats available to go or in the beer garden, average entree $12.
La Condesa, 400 W. 2nd St., Interior Mexican and Mexican street fare, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, average dinner entree $26. Austin Woman profile
Lambert’s, 401 West 2nd Street, fancy barbecue, game and Southern dishes in a historic building across from city hall, average dinner entree $25. The Sunday brunch is a meat-lover’s paradise.
Manuel’s, 310 Congress Ave., Mexican, lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch, average dinner entree $20.
Parkside, 301 E. 6th, New American with an emphasis on oysters and seafood crudo, dinner, average dinner entree $23. Austin Farm to Table profile
Second Bar and Kitchen , 200 Congress Ave., New American. Lunch, dinner and late night, average dinner entree $22.
SFC Downtown Austin Farmers Market, 4th and Guadalupe at Republic Square, various vendors with prepared food, fresh produce, meats, cheeses and artisan food products, Dai Due butcher shop serves hot breakfast Saturdays 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Swift’s Attic, 315 Congress Ave., New American small plates with a playful, sometimes irreverent style, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch on the 1st Sunday of the month, average dish $15. Austin Woman profile
Trio, at the Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto, New American, breakfast, lunch, dinner, average dinner entree $25. One of the best Happy Hour deals in town. Austin Farm to Table profile
Trace at the W Hotel, 200 Lavaca St., New American, breakfast, lunch, dinner, prices vary widely between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Austin Woman profile
6th & Lamar/Clarksville
24 Diner, 600 N. Lamar, American diner fare, 24 hours, average dish $11.
Cafe Josie, 1200 W 6th, Neighborhood bistro featuring fresh, local ingredients, lunch and dinner, average entree $15.
Cipollina, 1213 West Lynn, Bistro menu, specializing in pizza, lunch and dinner, average dinner entree $15. Austin Farm to Table profile
Clark’s Oyster Bar, 1200 W 6th St, Seafood, lunch, dinner and brunch, average dinner entree $25.
Counter Cafe, 626 N. Lamar, American, breakfast and lunch, average entree $10. Austin Farm to Table profile
Fabi & Rosi, 509 Hearn St., New American, dinner and Sunday brunch, average entree $20.
Fresa’s, 915 North Lamar Blvd., grilled chicken with sides, sandwiches and tacos, breakfast, lunch and dinner – all to go. Whole chicken meal is $26 and serves 4; tortas and salads average $8.
Wink, 1014 N. Lamar, New American, dinner, average entree $25 (the wine bar has a separate less expensive menu). Austin Farm to Table profile
Barley Swine, 2024 S. Lamar Blvd., New American, dinner, average dish $14.
Elizabeth St. Cafe, 1501 South First St., Bakery and Vietnamese cafe, breakfast, lunch and dinner, average entree $15.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen, 7720 W. Hwy 71 (this place is a jaunt from downtown, but worth the drive), casual Texas cuisine, lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch, average entree $13. Austin Farm to Table profile
Lenoir, 1807 South First St., New American, dinner, prix fixe only with 3 dishes for $35, extra dish for $10.Olivia, 2043 S. Lamar, New American, lunch (Friday & Saturday only), dinner and Sunday brunch, average dinner entree $30. Austin Farm to Table profile
Perla’s, 1400 S. Congress, Seafood, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, average dinner entree $25.
Snack Bar, 1224 S. Congress Ave., diner and lounge, daily brunch, lunch, dinner and late night, average dish price $9. Austin Farm to Table profile
Taco Deli, 1500 Spyglass, Tex Mex, breakfast and lunch, average taco price is $3.
Thai Fresh, 909 W. Mary, Thai, lunch and dinner, average dinner entree $10. Austin Farm to Table profile
Uchi, 801 S. Lamar, Contemporary Japanese cuisine + sushi, dinner, average small plate $15, average roll price $12.
Whip-In Parlour Cafe & Market, 1950 S. IH-35, Indian, breakfast, lunch and dinner, average dinner entree $11.
ASTI Trattoria, 408-C E. 43rd St., Italian, lunch and dinner, average dinner entree $20. Starting March 1st, ASTI is offering a happy hour from 4-6 pm, Monday-Friday featuring a $5 selection of wines and small bites.
Black Star Coop, 7020 Easy Wind Dr, Brewpub with “Texas Pub Fare” featuring beer-friendly sandwiches and entrees, average item $8.
FINO, 2905 San Gabriel, Mediterranean/Spanish, lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch, average dinner entree $22. Austin Farm to Table profile
Foreign+Domestic, 306 E. 53rd St., New American, dinner, average entree $19. Austin Farm to Table profile
Kome, 4917 Airport Blvd., Japanese, lunch and dinner, average dish $9.
Olive & June, 3411 Glenview Ave., Italian, dinner, average pasta dish $16, average entree $27.
Taco Deli, 4200 N. Lamar, Tex Mex, breakfast and lunch, average taco price is $3.
Uchiko, 4200 N. Lamar, Japanese farmhouse dishes and sushi, dinner, average small plate $15, average roll $13. Austin Farm to Table profile
Vino Vino, 4119 Guadalupe, New American, dinner, average dinner entree $18.
Blue Dahlia Bistro, 1115 E. 11th St., French Bistro, breakfast, lunch and dinner, average dinner entree $11. Austin Farm to Table profile
Contigo, 2027 Anchor Ln., New American, dinner and Sunday brunch, average entree, $15.
East Side Show Room, 1100 E. 6th St., Bistro, dinner, average dinner entree $20. Austin Farm to Table profile
Eastside Pies, 1401B Rosewood Ave., Pizza, lunch and dinner, large pizza averages $20. Try a slice of their Farm to Table pizza – it’s my favorite (naturally). Also at 1809 – 1 W Anderson Lane and 5312 Airport Blvd., Suite G.
Hillside Farmacy, 1209 E 11th St, Cafe/Bistro in a renovated pharmacy building, breakfast, lunch and dinner, average dinner entree $15.
Salt & Time Butcher Shop, 1912 E 7th St, Butcher shop serving daily selection of sandwiches and/or hot food that can be enjoyed at their bar, lunch and early dinner (closes at 7:00 pm), average price $8.
Regal Ravioli, 504 W Oltorf St, handmade ravioli and sauces often featuring local ingredients, average dish $9.
The Seedling Truck, roving food truck, New American, check their schedule online for brunch, lunch, dinner locations, average dish $6.
Thunderheart Bison Trailer, 201 W. 5th Street, American/Southern, dinner and late night, average dish $6.