Austin, Texas – my home for 6 years. These are my favorite Austin restaurants that I dined in frequently.
219 west 219 west 4th st. 512.474.2194
219 West was my number one destination choice to go for happy hour back in 2007 because I went there every week for awhile. I LOVE their mini burgers especially the blackened ones/the “original” one, with blue cheese. The ham & cheese mini burgers are also a favorite of mine. I love their chicken lettuce wraps. I was sad to find out that they removed the tequila shrimp from their menu. The ceviche is good and so is the lump crab. Drinks are awesome during happy hour!! It gets really busy during happy hour so make sure to arrive there early or be aggressive at the bar tables.
the belmont 305 west 6th st. 512.457.0300
The Belmont has a great happy hour menu and cheap prices for drinks! You can talk to the bartender and ask them to make your drink strong and they will follow through! I also like their brunches on Sundays. I prefer sitting out in their patio area; it’s a great place to relax and eat with friends – inside is too dark and leathery.
chinatown restaurant 3407 greystone dr. 512.343.9307
I used to go to Chinatown Restaurant for dinner but got tired of their dishes. However, I go to Chinatown Restaurant mostly on weekends for dim sum! They make their dim sum really well and I always order the authentic Chinese ones; none of that new American stuff in coffee mugs tempting to trick non-Chinese people into ordering. The waiters and waitresses should know Connie and I already and stop pushing those “American” things to our table! This place is clean – not like most other Chinese places and you won’t be disappointed on the presentation and the interior design of the restaurant.
*note: the Mo-Pac location serves dim sum. The downtown one does not.
enoteca vespaio 1610 south congress 512.441.7672
Enoteca Vespaio is my number 1 FAVORITE restaurant in Austin. I love that place *so* much. I’ve been going there since 2005 – my first year, second semester at UT. They don’t have anything bad on their menu; everything tastes like heavenly goodness! I love starting with the Suppli. Then for lunch, my favorite thing to get is the Prosciutto pizza. For dinner, my favorite item is the Linguine Misto Mare! Their desserts are also really satisfying and very rich.
A much more detailed menu breakdown of my favorite items, click here.
This place is always packed during peak hours so make sure you come early or else you’ll be waiting 1+ hours. One time I waited for 2.5 hours! They don’t do reservations. I’m talking about the restaurant on the corner of the street; there are two restaurants and they’re owned by the same people.
sagra enoteca trattoria 1610 san antonio st. 512.535.5988
I like Sagra Enoteca Trattoria for two reasons.
- It took me 60 seconds to walk there from my apartment.
- Tuesdays: all you can eat mussels for $12. Mussels are $3.99/lb at Whole Foods so you just need to eat at least 3 plates to get your money’s worth.
I’ve tried their pastas and pizzas, just average, nothing special.
the steeping room 11410 century oaks terrace 512.977.8337
I used to work at the Domain and before my afternoon shifts, I would go into The Steeping Room for lunch every time. I love their cute, organic, small-portioned food. My favorites are the Pork Tenderloin Tea sandwich and the Lapsang Souchong Chicken Salad sandwich. Their tea menu is extensive and I never got the chance to try all of their teas. They also sell real Coca Cola bottles, with real sugar.
sushi zushi 1611 west 5th st. 512.474.7000
There are so many things I want to say for Sushi Zushi but I’ll try to say just the important points!
Happy Hour at SZ is great! Certain rolls are super cheap and the appetizers that I would have never paid full price for them are an excited deal to pay half-off for! Don’t get their signature drinks for $5, sounds tempting but there’s no ethanol!
Not during Happy Hour: their menu is like a book printed on one massive sheet of paper, double-sided. There are so many different things to choose and read from. I know a lot of people who don’t like their very extensive menu because they get confused on what to order. And then those same people complain in other places for not offering a variety. What do you want?! But I like the comprehensiveness of their menu. I don’t like the “American” ingredients in my sushi, like cream cheese and strawberries. I want my sushi authentic, using traditional ingredients. I go to the restaurants listed under SZ for all that fusion stuff.
Favorite rolls: LIR, Summer, Jen
Non-sushi related food: I love their udon noodle bowls
uchi 801 south lamar 512.916.4808
uchiko 4200 north lamar #140 512.916.4808
I’ve only been to Uchi; haven’t been to Uchiko yet because it opened when I was already in Hong Kong. But I’m definitely going to go to Uchiko whenever I go back to Austin. I’m sure that I’ll like both of them, Uchi + Uchiko. Uchi was pure fusion food. The food is P-H-E-N-O-N-M-E-N-A-L but pricy. You need to make reservations.