Top 10 Trendiest Restaurants in Austin, TX

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Over the past decade, the culinary scene in Austin Texas has exploded with amazing new food trucks, restaurants and popups.  New restaurants and bars fill the city and offer locals and visitors endless options for a great meal. Austin of course is known for insane BBQ, but that’s not the only good food that you can find. Tex-Mex, Seafood and Asian fusion are also some of the great choices that can be found across the city. As the food scene continues to grow it can be hard to make a decision on where the best place to eat is. I have created a list of my 15 favorite, trendy restaurants in the city.

1.) Red Ash Italia

 

This industrial Italian place is located in the center of downtown Austin and has some of the best Italian food you will ever have. In the mood for juicy meat or warm gnocchi… this is your place. Although it is on the expensive side, Red Ash also offers unbeatable happy hours from 4:30 to 6:30, Monday-Thursday with great prices on pasta and wine. This place is always packed (you will understand why after trying it) so make sure to make a reservation. Don’t leave without trying the crispy bread drenched in garlic butter.

Recommended Dishes: Hot & Crispy Country Italian Bread, Wood Roasted Meatballs, Thick Cut Bone-In Filet, Small Potato Gnocchi “Gratinata”, Rigatoni Alla Campagnola, Papparadelle alla Bolognese.

Website: http://www.redashgrill.com

Address: 303 COLORADO STREET
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78701

2.) Sway

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Trendy. Thai. Sway is located across the river in the south side of Austin, and serves up amazing Thai Cuisine. I recently visited Sway with a few friends and the meal blew us away. Cripsy chicken wings, spicy curry and mouthwatering bowls. The idea is to order a bunch of things, family style, and try a bit of everything. The outdoor patio offers great vibes so I highly suggest calling for a table out there.

Recommended Dishes: Tom khan gai, Peanut Curry, Pork Fried Rice, Son in Law, Brussel Sprouts.

Website: https://swaythai.com/

Address: Multiple Locations*

3.) Grizzeldas

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One word… Margaritas. Grizzeldas is easily one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, TX. Walking in feels like your walking into a  real-life dream because the decor is fabulous. The food is spectacular and the drinks are even better. Get there before 6:30 on weekdays and they have great deals on all their best drinks. Be prepared to spend a little because the meal can get pricy, but it is worth it. For sure worth trying if you are visting or live in Austin. (The chips and guacamole is to die for)

Recommended Dishes: Guacamole, Fajitas, Ceviche.

Website: https://grizzeldas.com

Address: 105 Tillery St, Austin, TX 78702

4.) She’s Not Here

 

She’s not here is located in downtown Austin and has a great selection of cocktails as well as sushi rolls. They just added on a super trendy front patio which is great for outdoor cocktails with friends. Monday through Thursday, Sway also has a pretty good happy menu with 7 dollar cocktails and deals on food. Recently this has been one of my go-to spots and should not be overlooked in the Austin food scene.

Recommended Dishes: Crab Butter Hand roll (pictured), Wagyu Rib Eye, Crab Salad

Website: https://www.snhaustin.com

Address: 440 West. 2nd St. Austin, TX 78701

5.) Carolines / Upstairs at Carolines

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Upstairs at Caroline’s not only offers food and drinks but an experience. This is one of the trendiest spots in town and is great for day drinking. Upstairs there is a fun outdoor bar, filled with spots to hangout and play games while downstairs you can get quality food. Great on a sunny day aswell as a rainy day since they have covering over the rooftop patio. Don’t miss this great location.

Recommended Dishes: Margaritas

Website: https://www.carolinerestaurant.com/upstairs-at-caroline

Address: 621 Congress Ave Suite 201, Austin, TX 78701

6.) Emmer and Rye

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This Rainey street gem is possibly one of my favorite restraunts of all time. Yes, it is that good.  From the brunch time pastry cart, to savory dim sum, you simply cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. AND, not only is the food remarkable, but the interior is straight out of a catalog. The chef focuses on healthy food and tastes from around the world and brings them back to us in Austin. The food is served dim sum style, meaning carts come around and you can see and chose what you want (its like a real life yelp) If you are visiting austin and are in the mood for a tasteful meal, I would 100% recommend this spot.

Recommended Dishes: Blue Crab, Pork Belly, Blue Beard Durhum Spaghetti ‘Cacio E Pepe’

Website: https://emmerandrye.com

Address: SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St #110, Austin, TX 78701

7.) Loro

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If you’re looking for a cool outdoor patio to have drinks with friends, I 100% recommend Loro. This restaurant is located down congress and has the best outdoor seating of any place in Austin. This “Asian smokehouse” offers great drinks and even better food. Although they are known for great meat, everything on the menu will impress. The atmosphere is fun and exciting, and is perfect to go grab drinks and hangout for a while.

Recommended Dishes: Crunchy sweet corn fritters, Garlic Rice noodles, Pork Belly Rice bowl, and the margaritas!

Website: https://loroaustin.com

Address: 2115 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

8.) Joanns Austin

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I mean seriously, who doesn’t love a classic diner meal? Down on south congress you will find a new poppin restaraunt that is designed as a local, neighborhood diner. Joanns Austin offers classic Tex-Mex food as well as healthy California style healthy plates. (I mean was this place desgined for me??) Have an afternoon drink at their poolside bar, and even catch great deals during happy hour (weekdays 4-6). Also, make sure to check out their instagram to find out about fun events they have going on.

Recommended Dishes: TBD

Website: https://joannsaustin.com

Address: 1224 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

9.) P6

 

LA meets New York meets Austin. This luxury rooftop lounge is the hottest new place in Austin, and is the definition of trendy. They offer great cocktails and Mediterain style small plates. Due to its prime location and river view, you are going to be paying a bit on the upper end. The place can get pretty busy so call and make a reservation before. (See if they will save you a spot outside)

Recommended Dishes: Tuna Crudo, Warm Gougères, Toasted Almond Mai Tai

Website: https://www.thelinehotel.com/austin/food-drink/#p6

Address: 111 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701

 

10.) Arlo Gray

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If you’re in the mood for a upscale, more intimate meal, Arlo Gray is all the rave in downtown Austin. The luxury menu offers a diverse drinks menu, with a huge wine selection. They are known to have a wonderful brunch set up, beautiful settings and a damn good burger. Along with the great food, the restaurant has some of the best lake views and is a perfect location for sunset.

Recommended Dishes: Burger, Bloody Mary, Prawn Agnolotti

Website: https://www.thelinehotel.com/austin/food-drink/

Address: 111 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701

 

Whole30 College Edition

 

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After an entire summer of traveling Europe, trying every kind of food possible and not doing much working out, I came back to school and needed a major cleanse. My mom and sister had done whole30 over the summer and looked freaking amazing. So the day I got back from Hawaii, I started the 30 days. Now that I have finished I thought I would recap on my struggles, give recommendations for college students and just share some of my thoughts on the experience.

What is Whole30?

Well to start, Whole30 is a 30-day restrictive dietary program that aims to eliminate all potential inflammatory foods and beverages. This means no added sugars, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy products, beans, soy products, as well as ANY processed foods. So say goodbye to pasta, bread, sushi etc. So you must be thinking, WTF can I eat?

– Proteins, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats.

First Week of Whole30 in College

The thing about this diet is you can’t half-ass it. You go all in or it simply won’t work. Lemme tell you… this is really hard when you’re in college and there is alcohol everywhere. The first three or four days were for sure the hardest. Your body is not used to the diet yet so you still have intense cravings for unhealthy snacks. I had to constantly make myself busy and avoid going near the kitchen. After the 4th day, my body honestly stopped craving food. I am SUCH a foodie so I never thought this would be possible. I started eating meals for energy, not because I wanted food. Whole30 calls it, “taming your sugar dragon” and I swear it works.

 Meals

Because I no longer live in the dorms, I have access to a kitchen, which let me tell you is a GAME CHANGER. The best part of me starting this diet was that I was forced to learn how to cook. Before this, I only really knew the basics. After this month I expanded my options and became quite the chef. Here are some yummy meal choices that I used over the past month.

 

Breakfast:

  • Poached eggs on half an avocado
  • Egg hash (Eggs, Spinach, onion, whole30 sausage)
  • Sweet Potato Toasts
  • Sunnyside up eggs with Whole30 bacon

Lunch:

  • Spaghetti Squash with ground turkey meat and whole30 marina sauce (sugar-free)
  • Teriyaki Chicken bowl (coconut amino)
  • Salads
  • Chicken and vegetable meal prepped container

Dinner:

  • Everything but bagel chicken wings with green beans
  • Burgers in lettuce (bun) with primal kitchen ketchup and sweet potato fries
  • Chicken lettuce wraps
  • Zucchini noodles with grilled shrimp

 

Week Two and Three

 By the second and third week, your body is used to eating clean. I no longer craved sweets, I was able to be around food that I couldn’t eat, and it honestly did not phase me. The one struggle I had, as any college kid probably would, was not drinking. Syllabus week was tough, but if you say strict I promise it’s worth it. What I did however notice was by week 3 I was not as excited to spend the night cooking meals. I began running out of groceries and didn’t have as much time to cook. This meant that meal prepping was super key.

 

Week Four

So close… but still so far. By week four I was used to the diet and I still did not have cravings, but I did start realizing how close I was to having a margarita & chips and guacamole. I had to really stay focused on making it to day 30. My school also had their first football game that weekend, so holding back from drinking was really hard. But I was determined.

Finally after 30 days of no sugar, no carbs, no drinks… I did it. And it feels so good.

 The Positives

Now that I am officially done with whole30 I can recap on everything I enjoyed over the past month.

  • After I hit the two-week mark my skin was glowing. I don’t know if it was because I stopped eating dairy, but my skin was insanely clear.
  • You stop craving bad food. This might have been the most shocking part for me. In the span of 30 days, you eliminate the need to constantly eat.
  • You feel energized throughout the day.
  • You learn how to cook and get creative with food.
  • You lose a ton of weight.

The Negatives

  • You quickly learn how to function without certain foods so it can be hard on your body when you start incorporating them back into your diet. (blog coming soon)
  • You realize how much sugar is in everything you eat, so it never sounds quite as appetizing.
  • After you start eating normally, your cravings come back.

Eating out

Try having a D1 athlete as your boyfriend who is trying to GAIN weight. This makes it very difficult when I’m trying to eat super clean and he is carb loading. What I found was on this diet it’s kind of hard to eat out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s doable but you WILL be that annoying girl at a restaurant who makes a million requests and substitutes all sides for salad (with no dressing.) The easiest way to get through these 30 days is to simply cook for yourself. You know exactly what is going into each dish, which eliminates hidden ingredients.

Workouts

My weekly routine typically consists of 5 to 6 workouts a week. Yes, I know this is more than most college kids, but after being a D1 athlete it was just a routine that my body was used to.

However, the first week I started whole30 I had just gotten a Brazilian blowout and a new tattoo, which means no sweating for 5 days. So, for the first week, I did not work out once. And guess what…I saw insane results. Usually, after burning 600 calories, I am constantly hungry throughout the day. This made it very easy for me to cut down on food and I noticed my legs got super slim. Within the first two weeks, I shed 6lbs. Once I began Orange Theory again I needed more food throughout the day.

 The Scale

I have a very bad habit of relying on the scale to give me results. At the start of this diet, I weighed myself every few days. During whole30 you are supposed to stay away from the scale, but I honestly couldn’t help it. However, throughout the 30 days, I stopped getting the urge to do so. By the end, I felt so amazing and didn’t need a number to reassure me.

 Tips

To sum it up, here are a few tips that will help you survive whole30

  • Keep Lara bars on you at ALL times
  • Learn to love eggs
  • Meal prep on Sundays
  • Pay the extra money for primal kitchen condiments
  • Constantly look at labels, even if you assume there is no sugar, there usually is!
  • Choose a month that you are not super busy (& not during football season)

Healthy Grocery List for College Students

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As much as I love burgers, mac and cheese, and dining hall pizza; my body just can’t function on that kind of food. This is why I started cooking for myself in college. Many college students, like me, want to live a healthy lifestyle but don’t know how to do that when their only option is dining hall. For those of you who have a kitchen, here is a simple grocery list that allows for quick on the go snacks as well as healthy main meals.

 

Fridge Food

  • Eggs
  • Sliced turkey meat
  • Yogurt
  • Almond milk
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chicken breast
  • Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Fruit
  • Tortillas (Siete brand)
  • Spinach
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Avocados
  • Dates
  • Salsa/ guacamole

 

Freezer Food

  • Trader Joes Frozen Meals
  • Frozen Fruit (for smoothies)
  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Halo Top Ice –cream
  • Riced Cauliflower
  • Frozen Turkey Meatballs

 

Pantry Foods

  • Granola
  • Wheat Bread
  • Quinoa
  • Banza Pasta
  • Canned Beans
  • Sweet Potatoes

 

Snacks

  • Peanut (almond) butter
  • Trail Mix
  • Dried Fruit
  • Skinny Pop
  • Low- Sugar Cereal or instant oatmeal
  • Protein Bars
  • Rice Cakes
  • Hummus and Veggie Pack

 

With just these items you will be able to grab quick healthy snacks on your way to class or if you have more time, you can cook up a yummy meal.

Some of these meals could be:

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Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

Avocado Toast with poached eggs

Chicken Quesadilla (Siete tortillas)

Avocado Chicken Salad

Yogurt Parfait

Sweet potato/ spinach Hash

Turkey Meatball Salad

Healthy spaghetti and meatballs

Fruit Smoothies

 

My Daily College Routine

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After playing a division one sport, I was used to being on a very strict daily routine. I found that I personally get more down when my day has structure. Of course there are days that I am super lazy and do not follow this at all, but for the most part this these are how my days look while I am in college.

Waking up

I unlike many college students love waking up early. I like to wake up and get my day started. My alarm goes off every morning at 7/ 7:30. Sometimes if I am doing an early workout I get to see the sunrise. This helps me get a lot more down and I feel more energized throughout the day. I do realize this is not for everyone so plan your day according to what your body prefers.

Workout

I typically work out every day except for Friday, and I occasionally take Saturday off. I will write a separate post about my workouts more in depth but her is the gist. My main three workouts are Orangetheory, Barre class and running. Three days a week I double up and take OT and Barre, back to back. The rest of the week I will either go to OT or just run on the treadmill depending on how I am feeling. I typically will workout in the mornings before my classes so that I get it out of the way. Now that my classes start a bit earlier then last year I might have to switch it up. I still plan on doing at least one workout before class because this gives me energy throughout the day.

 

Class

This year I set up my classes so that I am free in the mornings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which allows me time for an internship that I am trying to get. I am taking 15 hours this fall, which is 5 classes. However, one of those classes is online. In the past I have always taken 12 hours but because I am going abroad in the Spring I wanted to get ahead a class. Here is a schedule of my classes each day.

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After class

After my day of classes I head home and make lunch. Sometimes I’ll just have a smoothie, or something quick depending on how hungry I am. At around 5 I go to a study room and get work done. I am one of those people that CANNOT study when it’s loud, so I either go to the library or in the study rooms in my apartment. I’ve never been the type of person who can sit in bed and do homework so this is why I go somewhere. If I don’t have any work I will skip this for the day and just hangout.

Evenings

Because my diet is so specific I make dinner for myself every night. Many times I will meal prep at the beginning of the week, which makes is a lot easier on busy days. After dinner I use this time to just chill. My boyfriend ends baseball practice around 7 so I usually spend this time with him. We try to be in bed by no later than 1:00 but it really just depends on the night.