Our favorite of 2021: Restaurants and Other Places to Eat
It’s no secret that Austin, Texas is known for outstanding food, exciting live music venues, and access to scenic outdoor activities. Out of the many things to do in Austin the choices of where you’d like to eat are endless. The day I moved here I was overwhelmed with all of the delicious eateries to choose from. Here are just a few of my restaurants that I have tried and have found myself visiting again.
Jinya Ramen Bar
Unlike most people who find themselves craving a burger or a slice of pizza, I am someone who will willingly eat a bowl of ramen any day I can. I find myself visiting Jinya Ramen Bar located in The Domain. I enjoy their rich broth which has been slowly simmered for more than twenty hours and handmade noodles, both combined to make this authentic Japanese dish.
The modern interior and comfortable seating arrangements make this dining experience one to remember. Whether you prefer high-top or low-top tables, Jinya has you covered. You’ll definitely want to take a picture of your food and even the background to show off the lovely interior.
To start off, I ordered the Vegan Bun (plant-base bun, pea protein patty, guacamole, and cucumber with vegan mayonnaise) and Takoyaki (battered octopus over egg tartar topped with kewpie mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, fresh cut green onion, and smoked bonito flakes). Both of these small plates did not disappoint. My favorite ramen dish to order is the Sprouting Up Ramen which consists of rich pork and chicken broth, tender pork chashu, crispy brussels sprouts, thick noodles, and other delicious essentials. Next time you’re shopping at The Domain, take a lunch break and visit Jinya Ramen Bar!
Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon
Located at their South First location is the tasty Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon which offers dine-in seating, a full bar, a to-go window, and onsite events. I was fortunate enough to experience their beautiful outdoor patio filled with string lights, good music, and heat lamps.
Before jumping into what food I would want to order, my roommates and I immediately requested the delectable Frozen Avocado Margaritas. I know what you’re thinking but I want you to erase whatever judgment you have and give this one a go. This frozen drink has a subtle lime flavor along with a creamy avocado addition and a classic salt rim that quenches any thirst.
I then ordered the El Rey taco which included beef brisket, cabbage, pickled jalapeno, chipotle mayo, and fire-roasted salsa filled inside a flour tortilla. But, that wasn’t enough to satisfy my hunger which is why I also got the El Santo taco filled with agave-lime chicken, avocado, jicama, carrot, jalapeno, chipotle mayo, and avocado Verde salsa wrapped in a corn tortilla. Go enjoy some tacos and any of their frozen drinks on their outdoor patio to ensure a safe and yummy experience.
Lucy’s Fried Chicken
Up next is the scrumptious and filling Lucy’s Fried Chicken located at their Burnet Road spot. After studying for hours at Monkey Nest Coffee, dinner time began to approach and the lit-up sign in front of this welcoming eatery caught my attention. It’s a good thing I had such a huge appetite!
Right away I knew I was going to order the Chicken N’ Waffles which consisted of Belgian style waffles, chicken breast, and thigh, topped with blackberries and honey butter and syrup on the side. I have visited this place three times now and this is still the only item on the menu that I order. It fits perfectly for any time of the day whether I want it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But, it is definitely on my bucket list to branch out and order something new on their wide variety menu.
Through thick and thin and a whole 42 years later…Magnolia Cafe has stood its ground and remains open and ready to serve both new and life-long committed customers. Open every day of the week from 8 A.M. to 10 P.M. it gives a chance for anyone to come and enjoy their range of food options such as breakfast, Tex-Mex, burgers, sandwiches, and more. Luckily, I’ve tasted items from both the brunch and Tex-Mex sections of the menu.
The Royal Toast menu item comes with four triangles of french toast, two eggs any style you want, and your choice of fruit, bacon, or ham. A classic breakfast choice that gives you all of the necessary nutrients your body craves. I also got to order the Tex-Mex Enchiladas which have corn tortillas stuffed with cheddar and jack cheese, topped with chili con carne sauce, diced onions, cilantro, and a side of Spanish rice and black beans.
And, let’s not forget my on-the-house Magnolia Brownie that I received graciously from my server. This homemade rich chocolate brownie served with pecans, whip cream, and vanilla ice cream made my meal even more special. You also have the choice to enjoy your food indoor, outdoor, or pick-up curbside!
Can you picture a restaurant that has everything pink? Pink interior, pink seating, pink drinks, even pink tacos! That is the perfect and only description for Taquero Mucho founded by Gabriela Bucio who had the vision to create a place for women to feel empowered and celebrated. This taqueria has become Austin’s hot spot for Instagram-worthy pics and feminine-themed drinks and meals.
Even reading the menu gives customers a fun experience where they are able to scout out which aesthetically pleasing item they are craving. I got to order the Fresa Frosé which is a strawberry frozen rosé served in a fun pouch with a pink straw. To share for the table, I enjoyed the Taquitos de papa con queso, lightly fried corn tortillas filled with soft potatoes, queso fresco, cabbage, Mexican crema, cotija cheese, and guacamole.
For my main entree, I got two Carnitas tacos served with hot pink corn tortillas, rice, beans, and topped with pico de gallo and tomatillo salsa. Needless to say, I walked away with a full tummy and an urge to go back very soon.
Snooze A.M. Eatery
Every now and then I get the sudden urge to treat myself and order brunch (it doesn’t help when my roommates are just as easily persuaded to do the same thing). I never had heard of Snooze A.M. Eatery until very recently when I decided to go after my morning Zoom class. We masked up and were led to an orange-colored booth away from other customers.
Now what I ordered was probably the most filling breakfast item I’ve ever had, and it even resulted in me taking home leftovers. The Spuds Deluxe is an option that serves a big portion of hash browns, covered with melted cheddar and jack cheese, scallions, two cage-free eggs however style you’d like, and your choice of two enhancements. Your choice of enhancements (26 different options) ranges from veggie, savory sauces, seafood, meats, faux meat, and cheese categories.
There are three different locations in Austin so you surely will be able to find the one most convenient to you and indulge in some hearty breakfast dishes. Your choice of dine-in, ordering online, or even catering are all options readily available.
This Asian smokehouse and bar has done nothing but satisfy my hunger whenever I want something light but also fill me up at the same time. I have only experienced Loro by ordering their food through Uber Eats and having it delivered. It tends to be a great late-night meal that I end up wanting about every weekend.
The only things I have ordered from their menu are the rice bowls which are filled with coconut rice, seasonal pickles, and Thai herbs. My go-to’s are the Oak Smoked Salmon rice bowl and the Malaysian Curry Chicken rice bowl. There is something about the coconut rice and the incorporation of the salmon or chicken with the seasonal pickles that make my tastebuds devour these bowls.
Elizabeth Street Cafe
Serving as both a Vietnamese cafe and French bakery, Elizabeth Street Cafe is a unique neighborhood restaurant found in South Austin. The aesthetic of the place gives off tea room vibes and an elegant garden patio to complete the theme. Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner makes it simple for people to come and go as they please.
I went with the classic Grilled Marinated Pork Bánh Mì. Served on a house-baked baguette with homemade mayonnaise, cucumber, daikon, carrot, sambal, cilantro, and jalapeno…who wouldn’t want to taste this? I have yet to try the Pho noodle soup and grab some French macarons from the bakery. You can see that you get the best of both worlds within this eatery so stop by and prepare to enjoy!
Home Slice Pizza
If you’re ever in the mood for some authentic NY-style pizza by the slice or pie, Home Slice Pizza is the place for you. These homemade and hand-tossed pies will leave your stomach content whether you choose to dine-in or carry out. The friendly service and authentic pizza kitchen atmosphere will make you want to order again and again.
During a romantic dinner date, I was able to request the Antipasto which was a generous plate of Italian meats and cheeses such as salamis, capicola, Provolone, imported Parmigiano Reggiano, mixed olives, house-roasted red peppers, and marinated artichoke hearts. What more could you ask for? For the main event, I got to enjoy the classic Pepperoni & Mushroom pizza, a simple yet mouthwatering choice.
From salads and antipasti to calzones and pizzas, this pizzeria has you covered with whatever Italian craving you have. Alcoholic beverages, desserts, and cold subs are also available and ready to order. I was able to place my order via phone and pick it up at a time convenient for me so I was able to enjoy my meal while sitting outdoors at Auditorium Shores.
A big bowl of pho noodle soup sounds delightful during any time of the day, rain or shine. This healthy Vietnamese cuisine and bakery located in West Campus attracts the eyes and stomachs of many UT students. And it just so happens that UTea Pho is a five-minute walk away from my apartment…how convenient!
I normally find myself ordering one of their starters such as the Shrimp Spring Roll, Veggie Pot Stickers, or my favorite Crab Rangoons. Each starter comes with the perfect amount of food in order to make sure you have room for a hearty bowl of pho. The Brisket Pho is my favorite one to order because of the combination of rice noodles in beef broth, fresh bean sprouts, basil leaves, lime, and jalapeno. I also love to dip my brisket in a generous amount of Hoison sauce and Siracha.
Let’s not forget the freshly baked handmade Cream Puff filled with vanilla whipped cream and strawberries and covered with a chocolate drizzle. The cream puff flavor possibilities are endless along with their smoothies, teas, and slushes. And don’t worry, if you’re not in the pho mood you can always choose from their rice plates, vermicelli, pad thai, and sandwiches!