- Gabby Shacknai
The very up-and-coming city of Austin, Texas, is home to some of the most delicious food in the country. As a result, it can sometimes be overwhelming when choosing a destination. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 favorite restaurant’s on Austin’s East Side to make things a little simpler for you.
Franklin Barbecue is quite arguably the best barbecue in all of Austin, and Austin is regarded as the barbecue capital of Texas, so deductive reasoning would tell us that Franklin is the best barbecue in Texas. In all seriousness, this place is hugely popular among locals and visitors alike and attracts a massive line that often forces visitors to wait up to two hours (starting at 8AM) before getting some of Franklin’s famous fatty brisket and ribs. For many, though, that wait is worth it for the delicious meat, with regulars claiming that it simply falls right off the bone.
900 E 11th St, Austin, TX, USA, +1 (512) 653 1187
A nice break from the often casual joints that are so often found in Austin, guests can expect a true white tablecloth experience with finely executed dishes and masterful wine pairings from Congress. Chef David Bull serves both a multi-course a la carte menu and a seven-course tasting menu, which both utilise the freshest ingredients around and focus on being as local and sustainable as possible. Those looking for a less upscale experience can stop off at Bar Congress, a sophisticated cocktail lounge and wine bar, for a different vibe and delicious drinks designed by nationally-acclaimed bartender Jason Stevens.
200 Congress Ave, Austin, TX, USA, +1 (512) 827 2760
Uchi, Austin’s source of contemporary Japanese dining, is unlike any sushi experience you’ve had before. This stylish restaurant serves up not only some of the best sushi around but also creative hot and cold dishes, all falling within the philosophy of combining local seasonal ingredients with a truly infinite reach of seafood from around the world. At Chef Tyson Cole’s adventurous spot, diners are encouraged to explore their gastronomic boundaries by pairing traditional Japanese choices with modern and unusual flavors.
801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX, USA, +1 (512) 916 4808
Perrys Steakhouse & Grille
Known for its upscale setting and swanky live jazz, Perry’s fully embodies what a proper steakhouse should be. For those looking for a great tasting, flavorful, finger-licking-good steak, deliciously prepared seafood, well-paired wine, and yummy sides, this restaurant is the place to be. Perry’s is also perfect for private dining, whether business or personal, and offers options to accommodate large parties anywhere from six to eighty people in its various dining rooms, each designed with a different mood. In addition to Perry’s scrumptious entrées and sides, it is famous for its desserts, especially its signature flaming ones, which include Bananas Foster and Nutty d’Angelo, a combination of crushed pecans flambéed with brown sugar and brandy, vanilla ice cream, white chocolate, and toasted almonds.
114 W 7th St, Austin, TX, USA, +1 (512) 474 6300
In a state like Texas, Mexican food isn’t such a rarity, but no restaurant comes close to serving the scrumptious modern Mexican cuisine that has Takoba’s diners raving. This uber stylish and reasonably priced joint is known not only for its hip vibe and spacious outdoor patio but also its specialty, family-recipe carnitas and “margaritas and micheladas.” The creative cocktail list, particularly Takoba’s contemporary (and fruity) takes on the traditional margarita, makes this spot the go-to for Austinites and visitors alike.
1411 E 7th St, Austin, TX, USA, +1 (512) 628 4466
Located in the hub of downtown Austin, La Traviata is a small, intimate restaurant that serves up some of the best Italian food in the city and parallels its grub with great hospitality. While Italian has become a familiar cuisine to many Americans, La Traviata and Chef Gillcrest have created something new. This restaurant’s gastronomic creativity shines through its pasta dishes and is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. La Traviata’s outstanding menu is offered alongside a truly amazing wine list, that offers vino both by the bottle and by the glass. Tables at this place are lain out between a vast limestone wall and a long wooden bar, giving diners a cozy and welcoming vibe.
314 Congress Ave, Austin, TX, USA, +1 (512) 479 8131
Counter Culture, the home of “Austin’s finest vegan comfort food,” was born in July 2009 as a food trailer, serving internationally vegan comfort food. The restaurant’s target diners were, of course, vegetarians and vegans but has been hugely popular with even the omnivores among Austin’s residents and visitors. The menu features meatless, dairy-free, and raw foods, all made from scratch on the premises, and prides itself on its affordable prices. Counter Culture uses organic, fair trade, and locally grown food whenever possible and offers daily specials that are sure to capture the hearts (and stomachs) of all its customers.
2337 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, USA, +1 (512) 524 1540
Barlata Tapas, a source of Spanish nostalgia for its many visitors, is the creation of husband and wife team Daniel Olivella and Vanessa Jerez. The modern hotspot specialises in tapas, or shared appetisers as well as some larger places, an impressive selection of paella, and a meticulously curated list of Spanish wine and sangria. In collaboration with architect Michael Hsu, the Catalan-born restaurateurs have created a modern space with playful references to Spanish culture mixed in. The seating options, a vibrant bar and both communal and private dinner tables, is intended to take any diners who have spent time in Spain right back to those experiences.
1500 S Lamar Blvd, #150, Austin, TX, USA, +1 (512) 473 2211
The best pizza spot in Austin, Bufalina Pizza, with its traditional Neapolitan pies and extensive Italian wine list, is surely worth a visit from locals and tourists. This hip joint boasts an open kitchen, where its straight-out-of-Naples Ferrara wood-fired pizza oven produces the authentic ‘za that Bufalina is known for, and an über casual setting that features large, communal tables. The fantastic food is paralleled by the restaurant’s great service, and with the exception of the flour, tomatoes, and olive oil, everything offered on Bufalina’s compact but delicious menu is made from all domestically sourced ingredients. The wine list, which is composed of “global, whatever is delicious and refreshing” vino, and the six local beers on tap were all chosen with the environment (and the weather) in mind. Bufalina Pizza, although often very busy, is certainly well worth the wait.
1519 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, USA, +1 (512) 524 2523
With its cozy and welcoming atmosphere, it is no surprise that Eastside Café has become such a favorite among locals since its opening back in 1988. With its scrumptious takes on classic American dishes, from fresh vegetables that are grown in the garden out back, to delicious mashed sweet potatoes, this charming bungalow-type restaurant offers a comfortable setting that is the perfect spot for both family meals at the end of a long week and for a romantic date night. Friendly service only further enhances this place, making it the ultimate go-to any time of the day.
2113 Manor Rd, Austin, TX, USA, +1 (512) 476 5858