The very opinionated Angela writes reviews on the restaurants of Austin, TX. She has lived in Austin since mid-1995, and she is a proclaimed food lover. This page offers you her opinions on Austin original restaurants or Austin originated food chains. Her opinions are not influenced by any large corporations or political interest groups (PIGs).
"I have begun this review page with my favorite restaurants, so all these reviews are good! Restaurants are in alphabetical order... for now."
Innovative and consistent, Chez Zee is one of my favorite restaurants in Austin. For starters, share a rich chicken gorgonzola pizza or eat bread with their herbed olive oil, then indulge in one of their many pasta dishes or in their devilishly good warm bacon dressing salad. You must also save room for a coffee drink and dessert: creme brulee, italian cream cake or their flourless Maida's cake. Stringed lights and colorful paintings create a fun atmosphere. On special occasions, a live pianist will play at the baby grand located in the center of the restaurant in front of the full bar. Go casual or go nice, but you must go with a good appetite.
Coco's Cafe is the place to go for "bubble tea", "pearl milk tea", "boba nai cha", or whatever you call tea or coffee with tea flavored tapioca balls. If you don't like the "pearls" then go for the selection of teas: green, almond milk, thai, milk tea and many many more. Coco's also serves Taiwanese style "xiao chi" dishes that make for a good snack or lunch. A must try is the pork bacon with rice if you're not afraid of a little pork fat. The ambience is decidedly Taiwanese kitsch complete with Taiwanese pop music and twisty bamboo plants.
One of many Austin's restaurants in a house. Eastside Cafe serves up excellent food (everything is good) with ingredients straight from their own garden. The setting is casual romantic. Each room holds only a few tables creating an intimate setting.
Hyde Park Bar and Grill
If you find a monster sized fork with a gigantic potato, eggplant or ice cream on Duval Road, then you've found Hyde Park Bar and Grill. Locals rave about this restaurant in a house located inside the historic Hyde Park neighborhood, but the food isn't all that spectacular. Most of the dishes are slightly bland, but you must try the lentil soup and the famous Hyde Park fries. These fries have a special batter and a special herby sauce; it's so good you won't want to share! The restaurant shows off hanging works of (excellent) art from local Austinites and it's centrally located full bar. Even though the waiters wear nice black and white uniforms, you can go in jeans, after all, this is Austin.
Pancakes anyone? When I first arrived in Austin as a college student at the University of Texas, everyone said, go to Kerby Lane. Kerby is know for 24 hours of big as your face pancakes and the bottomless coffee cup. Although, neither of those items are uniquely Kerby, this cafe is the college student dive. Kerby also serves Tex-mex meals along with it's 24 hour breakfasts. Yet another restaurant in a house, the original Kerby is located on Kerby Lane with a second location on North 183 and a third location on the Drag (Guadalupe Road near UT).
This is my ABSOLUTE favorite Austin restaurant. Much like Kerbey Lane Cafe, Magnolia Cafe serves 24 hour breakfast with big as your face pancakes and bottomless coffee cup, but the rest of is a different story; the food is a notch above. Magnolia's serves from an extensive menu that includes vegetarian approved dishes with the freshest veggies. They do have plenty for you meat-eaters out there including burgers that beat burger joints and chicken enchiladas that'll make your mama cry. Magnolia Cafe also serves the BEST fish tacos and the BEST lime cilantro salad dressing. The restaurant is completely casual with fun table prints. Good and cheap, what more could you ask for?
Saba Blue Water Cafe
As trendy as Austin gets, this tapas styled cafe does its best with an eclectic choice of dishes and drinks. Saba has its imitation of Jeffery's oysters with plantains which is not bad. For a refreshing drink, you must try the Mojito. Located in the warehouse district, Saba is the place to spy on Austin's trendy night scene.
I once told someone that Schlotzky's was my favorite fast food eaterie, and the person replied, "That's not really fast food." But it is! Schlotzky's serves up the best sandwiches made from their spongy sourdough bread. This Austin based food chain also bakes up some mean and innovative pizzas. If you're up for breakfast, then go to a Schlotzky's with a bakery for a yummy pastry and an invigorating double Americano.
So you want REAL Mexican food? Go to one of Taqueria Arandas five locations for the real thing. The clientele at Arandas is majority Mexican which proves their authenticity. (This method works for almost any ethnic restaurant.) At Arandas, you can order tacos al pastor, carne guisada, or even menudo. Oh, and did I mention that it's excruciatingly cheap, so you can even try a large cup of their refreshing rice milk drink!
Thai Noodles Etc. House
When I was in college, I rarely ate out, but I spent so many late hours on the UT campus during my last semester that I had to find a place to eat. My favorite restaurant during that semester was hidden behind a 7-11, Thai Noodles Etc House. Dry noodle bowls, soupy noodle bowls, or rice porridge, it's all good if you're looking for a satisfying and non-greasy meal. And after you're done, you'll have enough room to drink a tall glass of Thai iced tea. Eat inside or out, the atmosphere is college casual.
West Lynn Cafe
I once organized a group of friends to eat at West Lynn Cafe, but I forgot to tell them that it's an all vegetarian restaurant... oops. Even if you are a meat eater, you'll find West Lynn Cafe to be one of the best in town. Another everything is good restaurant, West Lynn (located conveniently on West Lynn Road) serves innovative Tex-Mex, Mediterranean, and more! Johnny always gets a glass of their fresh carrot juice. West Lynn's atmosphere is unique and contemporary; the high windows allow an abundance of natural light to enter the restaurant during the day. Go to West Lynn on a date or if you just want good food. (You must go if you're a vegetarian.)
World Beat Cafe
Review coming soon!!
If you are interested in more Austin restaurants, please go to Austin Citysearch, Austin360 or Foodline.com.