If you are like most Austin foodies, you have a running list of restaurants to try someday. But since your lottery numbers haven’t come up yet, it seems impossible to budget for that much dining out. Fortunately, Austin Restaurant Weeks is coming August 16-September 3 with the solution.
The new celebration of Austin dining will feel familiar to years past. Although not affiliated with the original Austin Restaurant Week, the promotion follows a similar format of enlisting eateries from across the city to offer prix fixe meals at a discounted cost.
A portion of each meal or drink ordered goes to the Central Texas Food Bank to help end local food insecurity. The local nonprofit says that it is able to convert each dollar earned into four meals for neighbors in need, so visit as many of the participating restaurants as you can.
Lunch pricing begins at $25 for two or three courses. Dinner pricing is available in $35 and $45 options, and include three or four courses, depending on the restaurant, and details of the menus are revealed closer to the launch of Restaurant Weeks.
In anticipation of one of the city's hottest food events, here are the must-try spots for Austin Restaurant Weeks 2018.
One of the hottest tickets in town, The Line Austin’s signature restaurant comes from celebrity chef Kristen Kish. Expect a menu that blends the Top Chef winner’s expertise in French and Italian cuisine created using only the freshest Central Texas ingredients. As a bonus, the stylish eatery has gorgeous views of Lady Bird Lake and plenty of cushy banquettes, making it the perfect place for a tête-à-tête.
Buenos Aires Cafe
Live la vie bohème at this East Sixth Street eatery clad with colorful walls adorned with even more colorful art. Mother and daughter team Reina Morris and Paola MG Smith capture the spirit of Argentina with warm hospitality and a lively menu that offers some of the country’s greatest dishes. For drinks, try a pisco sour or the house sangria. And don’t leave without ordering the addictive empanadas.
While New Waterloo hospitality group’s newer projects (Le Politique, Il Brutto) seem to grab all the headlines, we’ve always had a soft spot for the company’s charming bistro inside Hotel Ella. With bentwood chairs and an eclectic mix of art, the dining room is effortlessly chic. And the bistro menu is approachable without bowing down to pressure to be the same old same old. Best of all, Goodall’s hasn’t been Instagrammed to death, so it still feels like a little secret.
Chef Chad Dolezal may have returned to Dallas to open a spin-off of this East Seventh Street hangout, but his creative menu lives on. The space is a little divey, with only a few slivers of natural light poking in, but you’ll be focusing on the brightness of the food anyhow. Although not quite fusion, the menu heavily plays with a clash of Southwestern flavors with international forms. The cocktails follow suit showcasing tequila, mezcal, and sotol.
This adorable restaurant near Clarksville started off as a place for a cocktail and dessert but has grown into a neighborhood hot spot thanks to its easy menu of gastropub fare like juicy burgers served with dauphine potatoes, hearty roasted chicken breast, and simple grilled hanger steak with horseradish. But don’t worry, the drinks are still something to celebrate and the pastry program guarantees a sweet ending to your meal.
Olive & June
Embrace the carbs at this Italian mainstay from Parkside Projects, still one of the best places to get pasta in the Capital City. If Austin is lucky enough to get a break from the godforsaken heat, sit on the patio underneath the canopy of a 300-year-old oak tree. Wherever you sit, be sure to order a bottle of wine. Olive & June’s all-Italian list is a stunner.
This unassuming restaurant, tucked in Bouldin just off South Lamar Boulevard, is an oasis from the tourist-y hubbub that can sometimes overtake the nearby strip. Chef and owner Jam Sanitchat takes the culinary traditions of her native Thailand and fuses it with her sharp commitment to sourcing from local farms for meals that more than live up to the restaurant’s name. The vibrant flavors and just-picked produce are especially welcome in this blistering summer heat.