In a city typically known for incredible dining out options, COVID certainly made things weirder than usual in Austin. Sadly, some long-standing ATX institutions, like North by Northwest and the 87-year-old Threadgills, shuttered for good amid the pandemic. On the plus side, a few newcomers emerged – and they’re darn good. Here are our three favorites.
One of the most popular taco trucks in town is all grown up. A few months ago, Asador opened a brick-and-mortar location on Rainey Street. The indoor space may be small, but there’s plenty of outdoor seating to accommodate you and your amigos. Stop by during brunch to try their brisket and grits, or come by any other time to swoon over their famous tacos. Choose from carnitas, barbacoa, red chile adobo chicken, chorizo cauliflower, brisket, or castacán. Tell your regular taco shop we said, “Lo siento.” You probably won’t be going anywhere else once you try this spot.
Location: 88 1/2 Rainey Street, Austin
Hours: Dinner on Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays 5 PM - 1 AM, brunch on Saturdays & Sundays 12-5 PM
Upscale Mediterranean fare with a chic ambiance that could be described the same way, Simi Estiatorio is worth the splurge. Don’t skip the scallops appetizer, and fill up on the fresh-as-it-gets raw bar. If you need help choosing a main, Yelpers recommend the bronzino. Ask your server for a wine recommendation, or try out one of their creative cocktails, like “Athenian Nights” – Kastra Elion vodka, orange bitters, dry vermouth, lemon, salt, and EVOO. When in Greece (or pretending to be)!
Location: 601 Congress Ave., Austin
Hours: Monday through Saturday 5-11 PM, Sunday 5-10 PM
Breakfast, lunch, dinner – or our favorite, brunch – 1417 does everything right. The banana bread with Nutella buttercream is what dreams are made of, and the charcuterie is always a crowd-pleaser. But the real MVPs of the menu are the sandwiches. It’s difficult to choose a favorite, but if you twisted our arm, we’d say it’s a tie between the prime rib and the burger. 1417’s drink menu delivers, too, with an extensive selection of wines, cocktails, craft beer, and hard kombucha. Did we mention the banana bread with Nutella buttercream? Just double-checking.
Location: 1417 S First Street, Austin
Hours: Breakfast Tuesday through Sunday 8 AM - 3 PM, dinner Tuesday through Sunday 4-10 PM, brunch Saturdays & Sundays 8 AM - 3 PM
Some Austin restaurants have recently reinstated masks and social distancing policies. Check with your chosen establishment beforehand so you know before you go. For more great eats, drinks, events, and adventures in and around Buda, Texas, head over to the Carrington Oaks blog.