I called upon the help of my foodie friends and fellow food bloggers for this one, and they did not disappoint! Consider this my own list of favorites as well as places I will be trying ASAP.
Bullfight - A new tapas restaurant on Airport Blvd, right next to the theater I perform at regularly. I recently visited Bullfight during Happy Hour and was impressed with the offerings: half off liquor and snacks! I ordered an El Torero (Bulleit rye, apple liqueur, lemon, vino tinto) and had to stop myself from ordering three more. The cocktail was balanced and expertly prepared. The calamari was fresh and perfectly crisp. The bacon wrapped stuffed dates were also incredible, as was everything we sampled (definitely try the duck meatballs--not on the HH menu). Plus at Happy Hour they come in adorable little cones!
4807 Airport Boulevard
Austin, TX 78751
Jenna's Asian Kitchen - Jenna's touts "Modern Asian Comfort Food" which is described as "Korean/Chinese Infusion" and definitely delivers with a reasonably priced menu, solid wine and sake offerings, and even a handful of kid-friendly portions (as well as vegan and gluten free!). Not to mention a solid happy hour menu Monday through Friday from 3pm-6pm. It's hard to find a disappointing review of this place, which means even the most ornery Yelpers find something to love here.
Jenna's Asian Kitchen
12300 Ranch Rd 620 N
Austin, TX 78750
|Photo courtesy of The Dishtance
Wu Chow - One of 2015's most anticipated openings, Wu Chow burst onto the scene and did not disappoint. Coming from the team that brought you Swift's Attic, was there really any doubt? According to the website, Wu Chow "Wu Chow offers dishes representative of all eight styles of Chinese cuisine as well as dim sum service on Saturdays and Sundays"--I've heard rave reviews on the dim sum, it's all my foodie friends will talk about. I hear the soup dumplings are not to be missed.
IBC Bank Plaza
500 W 5th St #168
Austin, TX 78701
Pacific Rim Sushi & Yakitori Lounge - I'm always on a search for delicious sushi in Texas and Pacific Rim definitely fits the bill. The sushi is fresh, and the variety of other offerings is unique and flavorful. We recently had an Austin Food Blogger Alliance Happy Hour here, and I was blown away by every item we sampled. Don't miss the Sake Mac and Cheese, whatever you do! They just unveiled a new menu concept, hot rock, where you can cook your own items on a mini grill made from a hot stone. It's more than worth the trek to North Austin, and a great treat for everyone who makes their home up here (like me!) too.
Pacific Rim Sushi & Yakitori Lounge
9070 Research Blvd #305
Austin, TX 78758
|Photo courtesy of The Dishtance
Laundrette - This place has everything an Austin foodie could wish for: trendy location (it's housed in a former East Austin laundromat), multiple cuisine inspirations (duck confit, charred octopus, and beef carpaccio are a few of the menu items), brunch (weekends, 11:00-2:30) local beer (as well as unique cocktails and a decent wine list), and locally-famous chefs (Sway and La Condesa are on their resume). They don't take reservations for small parties, and the small space fills up quickly, so be sure to plan accordingly.
2115 Holly St
Austin, TX 78702
|Image courtesy of The Dishtance
Emmer + Rye - Rainey's food scene seems to be getting better with every new opening. Emmer + Rye boasts a "farmer's haul" menu that changes daily. Using local ingredients, they pickle and preserve produce when it's at its peak--so anything pickled is a do-not-miss here. But what's really unique is the dim-sum style service. Guests can browse rotating carts for a variety of small plates, taking about an hour for the full menu to make its way through.
Emmer + Rye
51 Rainey St, Suite 110
Austin, TX 78701
Vox Table - This is, without question, my new favorite restaurant in Austin. The cocktails are perfection (there's an Old Fashioned menu! be still my heart!), and each and every menu item is thoughtfully put together and absolutely delicious. I adored the calamari noodles and the tongue and cheek bun, and the potato churros were HEAVENLY. Next time you want to catch a flick at Alamo, come early and get your grub on at Vox beforehand.
1100 S. Lamar Blvd
Austin TX 78704
Juliet - A foodie friend once lamented that there wasn't much for good Italian in Austin. Thankfully, Juliet has stepped up to the plate for innovative Italian. Dine out on the gorgeous patio if the night is clear, or enjoy a cozy evening inside near the marble-topped bar while the smokey woodfire smell fills the air. Enjoy pastas, pizzas, or their happy hour specials at this Barton Spring's Italian hotspot.
1500 Barton Springs
Bonus! Brick and Mortars: Via 313/Chi'lantro/Peached Tortilla. All three of these awesome food trucks got brick and mortar restaurants this year. Now instead of chasing your favorite truck, you can stop by for happy hour!