Austin = Good Food

I don't have to tell ATH readers that the 2010 South By Southwest music festival is upon us. Fellow audiophiles from around the world will be descending upon our fair city in their trendy jeans and faux-messy hair to pay homage to the rock gods and to damn the man in every sketchy dive from South Congress to North Lamar.

Whether you're drooling over Indie film screenings, nerding out at the Interactive festival, or squeezing into your skinny jeans for a show, SXSW doesn't disappoint.

If there's one thing I love more than good music, it's good food. I know, I know, grab the torches and pitchforks. But, in keeping with the independent spirit of the festival, I though it fitting that we recommend to noobs and visitors our best independently owned eateries that, as the locals say, keep Austin weird.

Brought to you by guest contributor Bonnie Walton


$ Taco Shack

@ 4002 North Lamar

Taco Shack serves up damn good tacos for a cheap B, L, D on weekdays until 9pm, and on Saturdays until 2:30pm. On the lighter side, at FoodHeads at 616 W. 34th they make fresh and grilled sandwiches, soup, and salads with locally baked bread. Killer. B, L, D.

$$ Trudy's Texas Star

@ 409 W. 30th

Trudy's Texas Star at 409 W. 30th has classic Tex-Mex, and I have one word for you: migas. Open pretty much all day every day. See site for specifics.

$$$ Asti

@ 408 C East 43rd Street

Asti at 408 C East 43rd Street makes excellent seasonal modern Italian food from locally sourced ingredients for L, D from Monday through Saturday, 11am to 10pm or so. No Saturday lunch.


$ Hut's Hamburgers

@ 807 W. 6th Street

Hut's Hamburgers, an Austin institution, has consistently offered the best burgers in Travis County, made from locally raised beef and bison. Two for One on Wed. from 6-10; they have sissy veggie burgers, too.

$$ Manuel's Mexican Restaurant

@ 310 Congress Avenue

Manuel's Mexican Restaurant is my #1 pick for Mexican food in town. Oh, and that goes for margaritas, too. And mole. L, D.

$$ Frank and Angie's Pizzeria

@ 508 West Avenue

Also, Frank and Angie's Pizzeria was a recommendation from one of my Italian professors at UT back in my tertiary education days, and with good reason: they're Sicilian. Need I say more?

$$$ Moonshine Grill

@ 303 Red River

Moonshine Grill is known for it's luscious take on American comfort food. This isn't your grandmother's mac and cheese. L,D from Monday through Saturday, with a Sunday Brunch and Dinner.

East Austin

$ Juan in a Million

@ 2300 Cesar Chavez

Juan in a Million has breakfast tacos (and other various authentic Mexican dishes) that will kick your ass. B,L every single day from 7am-3pm.

$$$ Primizie

@ 1000 East 11th Street

Primizie is a perfect example of the East Austin "renaissance" or whatever they're calling it. This is your friendly neighborhood foodie hangout, serving seasonal dishes, Weekdays 11am-10pm, Sat. and Sun. 5pm-9pm or 10ish. (Could be considered middle ground, but you're going to want to stick around keep ordering.)

$$$ The East Side Café

@ 2113 Manor Road

The East Side Café is similar to Primizie, but less of a trendy vibe and more focus on organic and locally grown ingredients, and they have Brunch.

Zilker & South Austin*

$ Homeslice Pizza

@ 1415 South Congress

Homeslice Pizza is one of my sister's all-time favorite Austin restaurants. NY style thin-crust, huge-slice, fold-it-in-half pizza that will make you slap your granny (so whatever you do, don't bring her here) it's so damn good. L, D every day but Tuesday. Open late.

$$ Zax Pints and Plates

@ the corner of Barton Springs and Riverside

Zax Pints and Plates offers great food for all tastes and an array of local libations. My go-to Austin restaurant with great happy hour deals. L, D from Monday to Saturday. Brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

$$$ Olivia

@ 2043 South Lamar

Olivia is probably one of my new favorite spots. Exquisite seasonal dishes crafted from local ingredients. Style runs the gamut from spaghetti and meatballs to oysters mignonette and fois gras. Do yourself a favor and make a reservation right now for Dinner every day beginning at 5pm, with a Sunday Brunch from 10:30 to 2:30.

*Before you get your panties in a wad because I didn't mention them, plan on skipping the regulars on Barton Springs, like Chuy's and Shady Grove, because we all know they'll be over-crowded. Let it go.


Who can blame you? Here are the best Austin institutions to begin the uphill battle back to sobriety:

Kerbey Lane Café

Kerbey Lane Café, our homegrown 24-hour Austin restaurant at 4 locations around town offers a host of locally derived options for the recovering, from breakfast all day (gingerbread pancakes!) to seasonal favorites like Duck and Jalapeno Sausage Gumbo if you're not into the whole breakfast thing. Coffee is nothing short of miraculous, as, when last I checked, it comes from fair traders Third Coast Coffee Roasting Company here in Austin. Word up, Joe Lozano.

Magnolia Café

Magnolia Café, at two locations--just south and just west of downtown--is another favorite local 24-hour standard, with similar fare and outrageously good diner food. Don't even think about going during brunch hours on Saturday or Sunday because you'll wait for a year before you eat.

Teo Espresso

Teo Espresso, Gelato and a few pastries at 1206 W. 38th. Not into the whole breakfast thing? If the espresso doesn't knock you back on your feet, nothing will. The gelato is hands down the best in Austin and will make you glad to be alive once more.