In case Richard Armitage is in Austin and has time for one more restaurant meal


I’ve been gone six years now, and one thing that’s clear about Austin trend restaurants — like the city itself, the scene changes constantly. But I still think about the restaurants there, one of the few things I miss about the city. These are my favorites, not in order, but in terms of type of restaurant. I’m not a serious foodie (could never afford to compete with what the tech people could afford to pay), so this list reflects not what’s on the top ten list now, but rather my quirky preferences, my mid-range budget, and to some extent the neighborhoods where I lived (south, south Congress, edge of Hyde Park / North Campus).

Sushi: Uchi. I was only there twice because it’s so expensive, but it’s the best sushi I’ve ever tasted. And that in a land-locked city. And keep in mind I haven’t been in Japan. But it’s fantastic. Keeping in mind Richard Armitage’s preferences.

Fresh and trendy: Wink. This was actually the first restaurant I ate in, in Austin in 2001. And the place I tried ostrich and felt guilty about kashrut but did it anyway.

Most like a German restaurant experience: Fabi + Rosi. Although I think they’re Swiss. Eating here always made me feel like all’s right with the world.

Best late night Austin-specific hippie diner meal: The Magnolia Café. I usually went to the one near campus or on South Congress. I recommend: Mag mud queso, the pancakes, and whatever their special is.

Best “interior” Mexican: Fonda San Miguel. This was the original in town, and there are other choices, but this is Mexican food a la méxicana (not Tex-Mex) and delicately and deliciously prepared. The originators cooperated on several cookbooks that stress authentic ingredients and preparations.

Barbecue in town: Franklin Barbecue. Although I went to it when it was a food truck. I hear now that it’s a store, the wait times are egregious. It’s excellent.

Barbecue out of town: The Salt Lick. This is kind of a nostalgic favorite, as I used to drive out with friends and watch the sun go down while we waited for a table.

Breakfast tacos — because it is an Austin specialty. Or maybe a San Antonio specialty: La Méxicana. Best bought at 2 a.m. I prefer to buy from a source run by immigrants or their descendants (here’s another favorite) but it’s hard to find a horrible breakfast taco in Austin. My favorite casual Mexican place, Las Manitas on Congress, got developed out of its space while I still lived there and I spent the remainder of my time in mourning. I replaced it with Julio‘s in Hyde Park (cash only).

Best hole-in-the-wall Thai place: Madam Mam’s. It was also convenient to my office. I see from the website that it seems to be gentrifying.

Steaks, Texas style: Austin Land and Cattle. This wasn’t on my frequent list but ex-SO loved this place.

Beer: Black Star Coop. My beer drinking mojo didn’t really take off until I left Austin, so this may not be a great tip, but I loved this place and I loved that everyone there was paid a living wage.

Wine: Vino Vino. This was my neighborhood wine place, the last two years.

Place you shouldn’t miss: Whole Foods “Mothership.” Although the NYC store is pretty excellent itself, so if you’ve been there, you could skip this.

Coffee: if near campus, Medici. If south and Michelle Forbes is with you, Bouldin Creek. If central, Flight Path or Quack’s (I graded a lot of papers there).

Best restaurant in a movie theater: Alamo Drafthouse. I loved this place. I saw all the LOTR movies at the Village.

~ by Servetus on July 25, 2017.

6 Responses to “In case Richard Armitage is in Austin and has time for one more restaurant meal”

  1. I was just coincidentally in Austin visiting friends and hit three of these: Whole Foods, Magnolia Cafe, Salt Lick.


    • You have good taste!

      I tend to like the staples as opposed to the super trendy places. Although Jeffrey’s is often considered the best restaurant in Austin and I never went, and it’s an old favorite.

      Like the Salt Lick — I don’t know that it’s the best barbecue ever but for the whole experience, none of the newer places can really challenge it.


      • Re barbecue: I prefer Goode Company in Houston and Sonny Bryan’s (original) in Dallas, but Salt Lick is really good. All have a certain kind of Texan ambience.


        • It’s not really a cuisine I know much about because I was observing a delimited kosher practice during that phase of my life, so I always had either chicken or brisket, while I feel that true barbecue lovers prefer pork ribs or sausage.


          • More on barbecue, which I have had a lot of in my life: In Texas, smoked brisket is the main thing, with sausage a distant second. Pulled pork barbecue is more popular in the Southeast, and the sauce is more vinegary, less spicy.


            • I sort of vaguely remember that about the sugar / vinegary thing. But I didn’t know that beef was the preference in TX and I lived there for 14 years, lol!

              I just saw that the Salt Lick we’re talking about is the most referred to restaurant in TX on FB. So I guess it’s a fairly safe recommendation 🙂


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