Jasper’s: Gourmet Cookout Cuisine

While the words “gourmet” and “cookout” aren’t normally used in the same sentence, they are at Jasper’s restaurant in Austin. This uniquely conceptual eatery is stylish and upscale, but its menu of so-called backyard cuisine is anything but pretentious.

Enter the sleek, modern dining room, with its dim lighting and artistic décor, and you’ll be met with a menu filled with Maytag bleu cheese potato chips, Texas gulf crab cakes, and Pimentón Rotisserie Chicken, as well as slow-smoked baby back ribs prepared just like they are in backyards all across Texas. Cast iron sides are the perfect accompaniments, and Jasper’s full bar churns out thoughtful cocktails, craft beers and premium wines to go along with the meal. For a gourmet spin on a taste that’s truly Texan, Jasper’s is one of the very best spots in town!

Reservations can be made online or by calling Jasper’s directly.

11506 Century Oaks
Austin, TX 78758
(512) 834-4111

Zed’s Restaurant: Enjoy Music With Your Meal

Austin is known for its numerous live music venues, and at places like Zed’s Restaurant, you can even enjoy the eclectic sounds of live music over a gourmet meal. This combination restaurant and venue has a modern, casual style and a scenic location that’s a bit off the beaten path, but its sunny patio areas and warm wooden interior make it feel like truly hip hotspot.

On Sundays, Zed’s Restaurant hosts a jazz brunch with the lively sounds of live jazz music accompanying egg dishes and morning libations, while dinner on the weekends usually features some of the best in local musical talent. With a menu filled with dishes like Ahi tuna steaks, pancetta cheeseburgers, and petite filets, a decadent dessert menu, and a long wine and beer list, Zed’s Restaurant is the perfect place to visit for an evening (or afternoon) out in Austin.

Zed’s Restaurant
501 Canyon Ridge Drive
Austin, TX 78753
(512) 339-9337

NeWorlDeli: Taste the Art of the Deli Sandwich

Everyone loves a good sandwich, and the folks behind Austin’s NeWorlDeli believe that a truly great sandwich doesn’t need to rely on trendy presentation or fancy fixings. This casual deli serves traditional sandwiches piled high with simple ingredients such as roasted meats, fresh cheeses, and freshly baked breads. Regulars love NeWorlDeli’s French Dip, Reuben, and the Avocado Veggie sandwiches, the latter being entirely meatless for vegetarian customers. The menu also comprises a variety of burgers and fresh salads, and the New York cheesecake provides a sweet finish to any meal.

The restaurant’s interior is beautifully decorated with warm shades of gold, blue, and red, and artwork lines every wall. Comfortable tables are comfortable for lunch with a friend, and the spacious counter makes it easy to order. With a cooler full of beers and wines and live music every Monday night, NeWorlDeli is a sandwich shop with with a whole lot more to offer.

4101 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 451-7170

Sonora Hot Dogs: Get the Frank Con Todo

Sonora Hot Dogs may look like a mere food truck at first glance—and that assessment isn't entirely wrong. But the Sonoran-style hot dogs, fully loaded burritos, and gooey quesadillas that come from its kitchen on wheels are a few notches above your typical fast food. The gourmet versions of American comfort food have won the acclaim of local publications like Eater Austin and even the food critics from nationwide restaurant encyclopedia Zagat.

Regulars highly recommend getting the Sonoran-style hot dog "con todo," topped with everything from mustard and mayo to crispy strips of bacon. Sonora also offers a meat-free veggie dog version zig-zagged with Vegenaise. You can also opt for an overstuffed carne asada burrito, which features not only the grilled steak, but also mashed avocado and freshly made pico de gallo. Get the carne asada as a quesadilla if you're craving cheese.

Sonora Hot Dogs
5715 Burnet Road
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 994-8982

Fork and Vine: New American Fare with Austin Flair

The "Austin-inspired" dishes at Fork and Vine are almost too pretty to eat—almost. Head chef Camden Stuerzenberger plates his New American cuisine beautifully, but it tastes even better than it looks. Case in point: the ptrtzel bread pudding. Smothered with mustard-caramel sauce and topped with a dollop of whipped cream, the pretzel bread pudding walks the line between dinner and dessert.

Before you indulge in something sweet, try one of Chef Camden's entrees or a few tapas. The small plates include PEI mussels in guajillo chile broth, wood-fired veggies with shrimp and Thai curry, or house-made chips with eclectic dips. Full entrees range from wild grouper with pickled shrimp to a massive 36-ounce cowboy ribeye steak, served with crunchy onions and bleu cheese butter. Any of the eats pair well with a pint from the expansive beer list or a glass from the equally impressive wine list.

Fork and Vine
3010 W. Anderson Lane
Austin, TX 78757
(512) 489-7000

Beluga Modern Japanese Cuisine: From the Sushi Bar to the Sake Bar

Beluga Modern Japanese Cuisine offers a creative, inventive take on classic Japanese cuisine, blending the best of both old and new culinary techniques.

For lunch and dinner, you’ll find delicious sashimi options, unique maki rolls, and even rice-free sushi dishes for those who are cutting carbs, and each one is almost to pretty to eat! (Because Beluga encourages a “shared table” style of dining, guests are encouraged to order a number of small plates to share amongst the table in order to experience every dish.) Beluga also features a full bar of wines, beers, and spirits, as well as traditional Japanese sake to make your experience feel truly authentic.

Visit Beluga for the two-for-one weekday sushi lunch special, then return for the post-work happy hour discounts!

Beluga Modern Japanese Cuisine
661 Louis Henna Blvd
Round Rock, TX 78664
(512) 255-6454

Have You Tried the Chile Relleno at Mesa Rosa Mexican Restaurant?

There are ample opportunities to enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine in Austin, but Mesa Rosa Mexican Restaurant is a local favorite that’s certainly worth checking out. This casual eatery offers sizzling fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos made with high quality meats, cheeses, and vegetables, and they come in a variety of different styles. If you’re looking for something more filling, you might enjoy the combination platters or a traditional entree (don't skip the chile relleno!), or if you’re feeling a bit less adventurous, opt for a juicy hamburger or chicken tender platter.

Mesa Rosa offers large portions for reasonable prices, and the daily lunch specials make it even more affordable. Pair your meal with an icy margarita or the famous Austin Iced Tea, and be sure to stop by during the festive weekday happy hour.

Mesa Rosa Mexican Restaurant
10700 Anderson Mill Road
Austin, TX 78750
(512) 335-3335

Savor Sweet Corn Sorbet at Uchiko

The gourmet Japanese creations that Uchiko's chefs craft for dessert almost outshine the inventive fare they serve for the main course, at least according to online reviews. Fans rave about the sweet corn sorbet, an entirely unique sweet that comes with polenta custard, caramel salt, and just a dash of lemon. The fried milk garners wide acclaim, too, a mix of chocolate milk, toasted milk, and iced milk sherbet. Olive gelato, tobacco cream, and seasonal sorbets round out the selection of treats.

Before you get to the sweets, though, you should indulge in an entree or a few small plates. They're inspired by Japanese cuisine, but feature farm-fresh fare. Try the cook-it-yourself Wagyu beef or Atlantic salmon served with dinosaur kale, Asian pear, and yuzu. Uchiko also dishes out inventive sushi and maki rolls, like the Ham and Eggs makimono with katsu pork belly, yolk custard, and espelette.

4200 N. Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 916-4808

Mother’s Cafe: Sink Your Teeth Into a Bueno Burger

Long before vegetarianism and veganism went mainstream, Mother's Cafe was already on board. It opened in Austin back in 1980 with a completely meat-free menu. Plant-based eating may be commonplace today, but back then, this eatery was blazing a new trail.

Perhaps that's why it's continued to thrive in the years since; vegetarians and vegans know that they can count on a fresh, carefully prepared meal here. Even if you're a meat-eater, you'll still be able to appreciate the fact that Mother's uses healthy ingredients such as non-GMO canola oil and offers purified water (which chefs also use when cooking). Locals suggest you try the Bueno burger, which showcases a patty made of veggies, grains, seeds, and tofu tucked inside a vegan whole-wheat sesame bun with tomato, pickle, red onion, and lettuce. Add vegan cheese or guacamole for some extra flavor. The artichoke enchiladas are a big hit, too, so opt for these if you're craving something spicy.

Mother's Cafe
4215 Duval Street
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 451-3994

Julio’s Cafe: Don’t Miss the Breakfast Tacos

From its green enchiladas to the breakfast tacos, the authentic Mexican fare dished out by Julio's Cafe has been impressing Austin eaters since 1983. Thanks to that fresh, carefully crafted fare, one really seems to mind that this laid-back eatery is cash only. Patrons are more than happy to make an extra stop at the ATM if it means they can slurp up a bowl of Julio's chicken soup for dinner.

The soup features roasted chicken, one of the menu's mainstays, mixed with fresh, colorful veggies. You can also get the chicken all on its own by the quarter, half, or whole. Enjoy it with a smorgasbord of accouterments, including pinto beans, Spanish rice, tomatoes, lettuce, and salsa. If you come by a little earlier in the day (before 11:30 a.m.), you can dig into one of the popular breakfast tacos. Pick your own ingredients from a list that includes eggs, bacon, Mexican sausage, pinto beans, cheese, and rice. Migas, huevos rancheros, and even French toast are also on the morning menu.

Julio's Cafe
4230 Duval Street
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 452-1040

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