Foreword By Hayden Walker
If you’ve been in a coma for the last few years, you’ve been missing out on Austin’s fascinating food explosion. In a city filled with some of the greatest cuisine in the nation, it seems like a new restaurant opens nearly every week. As Austin’s population continues to grow, the expectations for outstanding food is at an all time high. While 2013 was immensely successful for the birth of great new restaurants in our city, 2014 looks to be even more promising. There will be no shortage of trendy gastropubs, fine dining restaurants and food trailers to enjoy this year. If your New Year’s resolution is to eat less, you may have to readjust your plans after reading our picks of Where to Eat in 2014.
Garbo’s – Brick and Mortar Restaurant
Garbo’s who has been serving Austin fresh lobster rolls straight from the shore to your door is set to expand to their first brick and mortar location this spring. Garbo’s is promising relaxed, informal dining without any fuss. The new location with feature local craft beers and offer a variety of New England favorites such as fried fish sandwiches, New England steamers (clams), fried whole belly clams, and of course, that succulently steamed lobster that made Garbo’s one of our favorites. Owner Heidi Garbo’s inspiration came from the many seafood shacks that line the east coast she’s visited over the years. Amongst all of the new restaurant openings in 2014, we’re particularly excited to see what Austin’s first seafood shack has in store.
Garbo’s Fresh Maine Lobster/ 14735 Bratton Ln in Wells Branch. Opening May.
By Nancy Marr
Photo By Courtney Pierce
House Burrata | Congress
Burrata means “buttered” in Italian. It’s that rich. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream that is luxe appetizer for the holidays. With poached pears, figs, smoked pecan butter, arugula and radicchio.
Photo By – Jane Ko
Ol’ Skool Ramen | Ramen Tatsuya
The Tokyo style chicken based shoyu ramen with chashu, ajitama, menma, nori, white and green onions is the perfect soul food this fall in Austin.
Photo By – Jane Ko
Arros Negre | Barlata
Black rice smothered with a rich broth made from sepia squid ink, squid, clams, and fish. Topped with mortar allioli. Words cannot describe how amazing this dish is.
Photo By – Jane Ko
Award-winning chef Bryce Gilmore’s former Odd Duck trailer officially reopened as a brick and mortar restaurant in Austin’s South Lamar neighborhood on Thursday, December 12. After closing the trailer in 2011, Odd Duck is back and better than ever. Gilmore, along with his fellow partners and long-time friends, Sam Hellman-Mass, Jason James, Mark Buley and Dylan Gilmore, have resurrected one of Austin’s favorite and dearly missed eateries. A free-standing building adjacent to the Gibson Flats Apartments, just down the street from Gilmore’s first restaurant, Barley Swine, Odd Duck is focused on using local ingredients and supporting the local farmers.
Photo courtesy – Jodi Horton
In the middle of the night, from their war-torn village, a family of ultimately 17 from Kosovo fled their country and were welcomed as refugees to Austin, Texas in and around 1999. They brought with them their expertise in European cooking and opened an authentic Italian cafe in an unlikely area just west of MoPac on Southwest Parkway. Their cuisine is as authentic as it gets. There is really no other place like it in Austin, Texas. Since they do not have a beer and wine license you get to bring your own and they do not charge a corkage fee. The chef owner walks around and greets the customers when he can and no one would be suspicious of the challenges this family has faced in their past. The decor is modern European, the food is Old World and the owners and their family staff are very pleased to serve up some of the best Italian and European fare around.
By Trish Wesevich
After almost two years in the making, The Hightower has finally opened its doors to the public from the minds of co-owners, Chad Dolezal and Victor Farnsworth. The burgeoning Austin neighborhood restaurant brings chef-driven cuisine with an affordable menu and high-quality service.
The easy to navigate menu leaves much of the dining experience up to the individual. Dolezal chose a very straightforward approach to the menu making all the dishes traditional entrée size. This deliberate choice was made so guests could choose their own adventure of sorts. Share a dish, or don’t; order one, then maybe a couple more if hunger still pangs. Dolezal’s philosophy is to make affordable ingredients and dishes equally, if not more delicious, than it’s expensive counter parts. Instead of using a dry-aged rib eye, Dolezal uses all-natural skirt steak, and instead of pork belly (once a cheaper cut) he uses pork jowl—which he believes is even more flavorful and flexible for presentation regardless of price.
If you haven’t had Via 313 Detroit-style pizza yet, then I feel sorry for you suggest you high-tail it to either location pronto. This deep-dish style pie is baked in square pans, letting the cheese melt and crisp up along the edges. You’ll be in burnt cheese heaven. Try the natural casing pepperoni to make it perfect.
By Michelle Llaguno
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
After six other successful locations, Gus’s Fried Chicken has opened its first and only Texas location in Downtown Austin! With a simple menu that consists of all of the southern culinary staples, Gus’s had a steady flow of customers on its opening day.
The chicken manages to be perfectly crispy and spicy on the outside, but succulent on the inside with great flavor all around. The menu is home to many sides, including a deliciously creamy macaroni and cheese, seasoned french fries, slaw, baked beans and more. A main reason to return to Gus’s would be the phenomenal fried green tomato appetizer. Served with ranch, the perfectly crispy fried tomatoes offer a full flavor worthy of a bit of travel. Not to be disregarded, the pie is a must. We tried both the chess and pecan pies and were far from unhappy with these sweet and tasty country desserts.
By Taylor Butler
Dolce Neve Italian Gelato
At this tiny new spot nestled along ultra-cool bustling S. 1st Street, gelato is made from scratch using a mixing and freezing technique called “mantecazione verticale” rather than an industrial method. It takes a little longer, but the vertical batch freezer (this particular one was invented in the 1930’s) incorporates air in a natural way, which creates a creamier consistency. Every morning seasonal fruit, water, and sugar are combined, and every afternoon, those mixtures are put in the batch freezer to make extremely fresh gelato.
Photo Courtesy – Paula Biehler PR
This authentic Italian eatery boasts the freshest ingredients and traditional family recipes on their website, http://andiamoitaliano.com. Owner Daniela Marcone did not disappoint! With her thick Italian accent, she visited our table several times throughout the night, explaining what each dish was and where the recipe came from. As she brought out the hot homemade artisan bread, I melted. Infused with spinach and cheeses, the soft bread was perfecto to kick off this little visit to Italy.
By Markia Flatt
The Peached Tortilla – Brick and Mortar
Eric Silverstein’s Peached Tortilla is officially putting down roots. Silverstein announced today The Peached Tortilla’s first full service brick and mortar concept is slated to open fall of 2014 in Central Austin.
The concept will focus on serving urban Asian and Southern comfort food with a modern twist. The restaurant will expand on the flavors from the existing food truck and catering company, serving some of their greatest hits in addition to new items such as unique rice bowls and savory noodle dishes. While the restaurant is under construction, the company will continue to use their pop-up dinners as a test kitchen to solicit feedback from diners. The next installment of the popular series is set for late February 2014.
Chavez – Restaurant
For restaurateur Shawn Cirkiel, one of the city’s most coveted chefs and the talent behind parkside, Austin’s first gastropub, it’s all about what he likes to eat. So when he created the menu for his new restaurant at the recently renovated downtown Radisson, he went back to his roots.
The menu will be built around shareable plates and sides, from homemade tamales and folded enchiladas to grilled cowboy steak and roasted hen. Cirkiel will be sourcing meats, fish, and produce from local farms and ranches and combining them with the flavors he grew up with to create true Texas fare, from fresh fish simply finished to homemade tortillas and biscuits made to order with a little bit of bone marrow,whipped butter, and sea salt.
The restaurant will be serving breakfast (everything from classic migas and huevos rancheros to steak and eggs grilled over an oak fire), lunch (featuring five to six kinds of tortas, from hamburger to black bean and avocado), and dinner (everything from a raw bar with ceviche to fried oyster gorditos and lamb en mole) and desserts, which are made in-house by Cirkiel’s talented pastry team.
Photo By – Becky Kittleman