Best new restaurants in Austin
Suerte just opened but it's already drawing raves for its thoughtful menu and gorgeous design. At the east side spot, chef Fermin Nunez uses local heirloom corn to craft his dishes, which include goat rib barbacoa with handmade tortillas and tetela al carbon. A sizeable mescal and tequila menu are available, and you'll find both spirits in Suerte's specialty cocktails: the Saturday Sun, with mezcal, lemon, curaçao, maraschino liqueur, lavender bitters, and lavender flower and sugar, is particularly refreshing.
Austin's first food hall, Fareground, made waves when it opened in January; those who haven't explored it yet should take advantage of its six individual dining concepts (plus a bar!). Antonelli's Cheese Shop, Easy Tiger, Henbit, Dai Due Taqueria, Ni-Komé and Contigo cater to both the lunch and dinner crowd, especially when it's a nice day outside (the outdoor patio is a winner). Some highlights: Dai Due's fantastic tacos, Henbit's monster cookie and pretty much anything in the Antonelli's display case. Stay tuned for Fareground's second bar that'll open later this spring.
Started by the Wright Bros. Brew & Brew folks, Better Half gave Clarksville another stellar breakfast spot. Here, breakfast sandwiches, grain bowls and burgers are served, along with heftier items like chicken fried steak, pickle brined fried chicken and Texas redfish from chef Rich Reimbolt. You'll find biscuits with Tasso ham, house preserves, and honey and jalapeño butter, as well as sides that include hushpuppies, cauliflower tots and fries. And for dessert? Beignets, buttermilk pie and s'mores cake are all available for a sweet ending, courtesy of pastry chef Jennifer Tucker.
Seafood is the focus at Guild, a bright, spacious dining room on North Lamar that puts the raw bar front and center. If you're an oyster fan, the bivalves here are some of the best ones in the city, and sourced from both the West and East coasts. Chef Sterling Ridings has mastered a halibut dish that comes with the skin perfectly crisped, but the best entrée just might be the sunflower porridge, an unlikely winner featuring creamy braised sunchoke and pan roasted prawns. For dessert, the dense chess pie harkens back to a childhood treat that's been given an upgrade and topped off with a heavenly buttermilk gelato.
From the creators of Veggie Haven comes Yoshi Ramen, a—you guessed it—ramen-focused restaurant where bowls of the good stuff include pork tonkotsu, classic shoyu and miso bases. Not feeling like straight-up ramen? They also serve the ultimate 21st-century mashup—a ramen burger, where buns are made with ramen noodles and nothing is as it seems.
Loro's Southeast Asian cuisine comes to us from Austin vets Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin, with many of the dishes exhibiting a Texas BBQ influence. Most of the options are small plates or snacks that are meant to be shared, but a dinner menu provides larger portions; it's also where you'll see more of Franklin's influence coming through—there's a smoked beef brisket, for example, that's been marinated with Vietnamese nuoc mam and Thai chili gastrique. The airy space, designed by Michael Hsu, is an ode to traditional Texas dance halls, with plenty of light and exposed wood beams. Communal tables and spacious booths populate the restaurant, while outside, a patio offers a more casual setting.
Helmed by executive chef Erind Halilaj and executive pastry chef Amanda Rockman, Il Brutto's menu isn't specific to a particular region of Italy, so you'll find coastal dishes like squid ink tagliolini with fresh clams, mussels, sweet tomatoes and marjoram; along with slow-cooked beef tenderloin and classic Neapolitan pizza. The space features a wood-burning brick oven and an exposed dough room, as well as a full bar—be sure to check out their amaro and vermouth menu, plus cocktails like the Limoncello Settanta Cinque (housemade limoncello, bubbles) and the Pompelmo Rosa (tequila, fresh ruby grapefruit, Topo Chico).
The Fairmont Austin has been a long time in the making, but it finally made its debut in March—and with it came a number of restaurants (and bars) that shouldn't be overlooked. At Fulton, the lobby bar, you'll find a solid cocktail list (plus ramen deviled eggs for snacking); inside Revue, dishes from Italy, Asia and a raw bar include delicate pastas, seafood towers and one of the best roast chickens in town. Head up to Rules & Regs for a cocktail with a view—and maybe a cowboy cookie to cap off the night.
Your first order of business at Yuyo (after snapping photos of the vibrant decor, of course): Choose from a long list of made-to-order dishes from the ceviche bar, such as the Japanese-influenced tiradito nikkei with kanpachi to the causa, made with potato puree and crab filling. The seafood here is a refreshing starter before moving on to bites of ridiculously tender lomo saltado (beef stir-fry) and the lucuma (a Peruvian fruit) sundae with umami-rich sesame brittle. So why doesn't Austin have more Peruvian restaurants, again? Order another pisco sour and chalk it up to our landlocked location.
Yes, another Italian restaurant has catapulted into Austin's dining scene, but Intero takes a more contemporary approach. Husband-and-wife team Ian Thurwachter (chef) and Krystal Craig (chocolatier) have created a dreamy date-night destination where diners share plates of house-made pumpkin tortelloni and rabbit loin before ending the meal with luxurious chocolates—including the liquid variety.