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.
Address: 303 COLORADO STREET
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78701
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.
Address: Multiple Locations*
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.
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
Address: 440 West. 2nd St. Austin, TX 78701
5.) Carolines / Upstairs at Carolines
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
Address: 621 Congress Ave Suite 201, Austin, TX 78701
6.) Emmer and Rye
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’
Address: SkyHouse, 51 Rainey St #110, Austin, TX 78701
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!
Address: 2115 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
8.) Joanns Austin
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
Address: 1224 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
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
Address: 111 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701
10.) Arlo Gray
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
Address: 111 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701