6/22/2012 12:49:00 PM

10 Best Restaurants in the Austin Area

The culinary scene in Austin and Hill Country is exciting and diverse, so coming up with a list of the town's Top 10 restaurants was no easy task. But that's just what thousands of surveyors did when they voted on their favorites - from barbecue shacks to Japanese gems to trendy New American joints. The below list is from our 2012 Texas Restaurants guide features the town's top spots for lunch, dinner and all meals in between (surely you can find other times during the day to stuff your face). Click through the slideshow to see who made the cut, and let us know about your favorites in the comments.


  1. i have heard about Congress and want to try it but my foodie friends say the service is lacking...too laid back and not not knowledgeable about fine dining. I'll try it and let you know.

  2. What about the Salt Lick in Driftwood?

    I agree, I cannot believe they did not mention the Salt Lick. Here are some folks that Like it...Sandra Bullock
    "My God, this food! It’s the best, I mean, the best!"
    Adam Richman, Host of Man v. Food - The Travel Channel
    "My never ending quest for barbeque bliss has lead me to the Salt Lick. Unbelievable! It melts in your mouth. One of the best things I have ever eaten! And the burnt ends of the brisket – a work of true, true poetry - crispy, creamy, chewy, salty, and sweet from the sauce. They were perfect!"
    Bobby Flay, The Best Thing I Ever Ate – The Food Network
    "Here is the real deal. I eat a ton of those Salt Lick beef ribs. They are fantastic! Lots of flavor! Salt lick makes their own barbeque rules. It is so good. Beef ribs are something I don’t usually cook. It is something I leave to the Salt Lick."
    Duff Goldman (Ace of Cakes), The Food Network
    "My favorite plate of barbecue is at The Salt Lick in Austin, Texas. It’s huge. Awesome! The flavor of the sausage is so intense. The brisket is super tender and really good."
    David Letterman
    "Paul and I were in Austin a year ago and if you want good, real actual BBQ, you got to go to Austin…Salt Lick, that's right, Salt Lick…tremendous. I bring this up because I'm hoping they'll send us some." (and we did!)
    Lance Armstrong
    "The best barbecue is at a place called The Salt Lick."
    Pat Green
    "My favorite barbeque restaurant is The Salt Lick in Austin, Texas. Man, it’s the sauce. I don’t know what they put in that stuff. I mean, a cow’s a cow. You put that stuff, that sauce, that they got on them cows...I don’t know. Maybe they feed them cows that sauce in the beginning. Maybe that’s the trick."
    Dennis Quaid
    "Ten miles out of town in the Hill Country there’s a great barbecue place called The Salt Lick that’s worth the drive.

    Bring cash, they do not accept credit cards!

    18300 FM 1826
    Driftwood, TX 78619

    Website: http://www.saltlickbbq.com/

    Driftwood Hours: Open every day 11am to 10pm

    Restaurant: 512-858-4959

  3. This ranking is pretty spot on. The Salt Lick downhome Texas experience is terrific and keeps one coming back but, the que isn't quite in the same league as Mueller's, Snow's, Franklin & Smitty's.

  4. They didn't mention Salt Lick because the good one is in Drift Wood. This is were the original is located. By far the best I had! Still need to try the barbque in Lockhart, TX! Heard it was great!

  5. I'll be in Austin in September (from Europe) and was looking forward to it. This Top 10 does not inspire me however ...

    And the Zagat headline "other times during the day to stuff your face" is not exactly what I expect to see on a restaurant review site. If you just want to fill your belly then you don't need reviews about what is good and what is not.

    1. If the food is not inspiring you might miss the entire landscape ?

  6. C'mon, Zagat people... if you are going to anoint the Zilker location of Uchi #1, at least do them the honor of showing the AUSTIN address (not the Houston outpost address).

  7. For Snow's, you provide this address info:

    516 Main St.

    You might want to point out that this is Main St. in LEXINGTON, 52 miles away from Austin.

    Foreign & Domestic would be a fine replacement on the list and is actually in Austin.

  8. HI!! Stonehouse Wood Fire Grill is Austin's newest outdoor dining concept with a wood fire inspired menu with Kabobs, Pitas, serving Delicious Burgers and Sandwiches. For fun we are hosting live music on our small stage, and we have yard games fun for the fam. We are also holding our Movies Under the Stars Events on most Saturdays at dusk: This sat at 9pm, we will be showing Cloverfield on our outdoor screen!! We are gettin nothing but amazing reviews, and people have asked us to look into entering some contests so we are trying to network with everyone and maybe get a review, or a story and get out there. Our movie night is free and all ages welcome. Thanks for reading and we Hope your week is great, cheers!! Eric D.

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