For our July edition of Where to Eat, we turned to Austin's top foodies. From food editors and bloggers to premier local chefs, we consulted with some of the city’s most frequent diners — the people who are the most tapped into the Austin restaurant scene — to determine which Austin spots are worth their salt.
Put these 10 red-hot restaurants on your summer must-visit list:
Marla Camp: Lenoir Wine Garden
It’s the dead of summer, but that doesn’t stop Austinites from enjoying a meal al fresco. Lenoir’s Wine Garden is the perfect place to unwind after a long day offering small and shareable plates from the eatery’s outdoor kitchen. Marla Camp, owner and publisher of Edible Austin, praises the relaxed destination for its lovely tree-shaded backyard and farm-to-table dishes. “I recommend the Portuguese vinho verde rosé with anything on their current summer menu.” No reservations are required in the Wine Garden, and there’s a killer happy hour Tuesday through Sunday from 8 to 10 pm.
Jane Ko: Charm Korean BBQ
For an interactive dining experience, head to far North Austin for Charm Korean BBQ. The restaurant opened earlier this year and serves authentic Korean dishes like bibimbob, noodles, and stews. A Taste of Koko blogger Jane Ko suggests Charm for the all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue, starting at $25, with its variety of meats, sides, kimchi soup, and more. And what’s more fun than drinking soju and grilling your own meat at the table?
Tim Love: Wu Chow
The highly anticipated modern Chinese restaurant from C.K. Chin (also of Swift’s Attic) opened in December much to diners’ delight. Part-time Austinite Tim Love, curator of ACL Music Fest’s food court, co-founder of the Austin Food & Wine Festival, and owner of Lonesome Dove Bistro, enjoys exploring the city’s many delectable options. Wu Chow in particular stands out to the celebrity chef. "Wu Chow on a Sunday provides something delicious and different for Austin — Sunday dim sum,” says Love. “Be sure to get the beans and load 'em with chili sauce! Hangover cured!”
Camille Styles: Gelateria Gemelli
When sweet tooth cravings strike, look no further than East Sixth Street’s Gelateria Gemelli. The gelato shop serves authentic Italian desserts with unique flavors complemented by a full bar. Foodie and lifestyle blogger Camille Styles raves about this must-visit spot. “Gelateria Gemelli is my newest addiction — any time I find myself on the east side these days, I can’t resist swinging by for a scoop of the peach bourbon or Vietnamese coffee gelato, or one of their classic Italian cocktails served up in the cool minimalist space.”
Natalie Paramore: Coast Bar and Kitchen
Drawing inspiration from the beaches of Mexico and California, Coast's menu ranges from elevated entrees (think scallops and pork belly) to laid-back fare like barbecue shrimp and fish tacos. The freshly opened seafood spot, helmed by Chef Ruston Richardson, is local food and travel writer Natalie Paramore’s top pick for where to eat this summer. "I am so excited for more seafood in Austin and Coast is on the top of my list. I love the mix of Gulf Coast and Southern California flavors."
Hayden Walker: La Barbecue
Summers evoke visions of meats grilling in a backyard barbecue, which makes this season the best time to wrap your hands around our city’s outstanding barbecue offerings. If you have not made a point to try La Barbecue, you’ve lost your right to weigh in on who in town makes the best ‘cue. You may have to wait in a bit of a line, but one bite of this food trailer’s smoked meats is all it takes to be convinced. Hayden Walker, editor of Austin Food Magazine, says the wait is well worth it. “I'm always enjoying my favorite barbecue spots during the summer, but my go-to spot is La Barbecue, not only because of their amazing brisket, monstrous beef ribs, and hot guts sausage, but also because you'll get free beer while you wait in line for 45 minutes.”
Karen Reinsberg and Gavin Booth: Odd Duck
"Odd Duck is one of our top date night picks in Austin,” say Couple in the Kitchen bloggers Karen Reinsberg and Gavin Booth. “Both the cocktails and food are inventive and the ingredients that they use are unique.” Bryce Gilmore keeps things interesting at this stylish space so that it never feels stagnant or confined. “Every time we dine there it feels like a new experience because Odd Duck changes their menu constantly. As an added fun bonus, they also put on special theme dinners, which creates a one-of-a-kind dining experience. We had a blast at their brunch-faced dinner and can't wait for future events."
Jacob Weaver: Musashino
Musashino relocated to West Campus in early June and has not disappointed since. The sushi hot spot has a massive menu of innovative rolls, authentic specials, and handcrafted entrees. Juliet executive chef Jacob Weaver recently visited the new outpost and was blown away. “I don't know how, but their sushi has gotten even better in their new location. The traditional roll Shinko Maki with pickled burdock and daikon was the most surprising, and one of my favorite bites."
Amy Kritzer: Vox Table
Diners at Vox Table enjoy innovative offerings from Executive Chef Joe Anguiano in a stylish interior. From raw clams and oysters to foi gras and poutine, the New American eatery serves a killer Sunday brunch and a unique cocktail program. Author and blogger Amy Kritzer of What Jew Wanna Eat and the forthcoming Sweet Noshings cookbook never tires of visiting Vox. “Chef Joe does a great job creating a menu that is inventive but not pretentious. I always crave those smoked hamachi pipettes. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the bourbon selection is on point.”
Veronica Meewes: Boiler Nine Bar + Grill
Seaholm’s hottest new restaurant is at the top of Zagat Austin editor Veronica Meewes’ must-visit list. With four levels and three separate concepts, Boiler Nine Bar + Grill is the summer’s most anticipated opening. Meewes touts the space’s “Hill Country Observation Deck complete with coin viewfinders,” the “subterranean cocktail lounge featuring creative libations by Jason Stevens,” and Jason Stude’s “refined grill-based” dishes. “It really exudes what Austin is all about right now: high-quality cuisine in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.”