Food crawl

7 hidden gems sparkling on North Austin's original restaurant row

7 hidden gems sparkling on North Austin's original restaurant row

Eldorado Cafe
Eldorado Cafe has become a neighborhood favorite for its bright, Mexican-inspired cuisine. Eldorado Cafe/Facebook

Between the Domain and the many new restaurants popping up on Burnet Road, it’s easy to forget that West Anderson Lane was North Austin's original restaurant row. Not only is the strip teeming with household names — Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Madam Mam’s, and Jack Allen’s Kitchen, to name a few — but plenty of other restaurants that deserve to be just as famous.

District Kitchen + Cocktails
The second location of this Circle C favorite only opened in May, but it has quickly established itself as a neighborhood go-to in Allandale. The dinner menu features delectable items like seared scallops with creamed corn risotto; Texas wagyu steak with chimichurri; and a full raw bar swimming with poke, aguachile, and ceviche. Guests will also find a nice selection of wine, cocktails, and craft beer. Kickoff the evening with a quality happy hour from 3-6 pm on weekdays and 4-6 pm on Sundays, featuring $6 frosé to help battle the sweltering summer heat.

Eldorado Cafe
Tucked into a nondescript strip center where West Anderson Lane runs into Mopac, this cantina serves up Mexican-inspired comfort food with a contemporary twist. Diners can’t seem to get enough of the diverse salsa sampler or the Puzchkas (fried dumplings loaded with bacon, mashed potatoes, and caramelized onions), so don’t be surprised if there’s a wait. Avoid the crowds by visiting in the morning for delicious breakfast tacos. The Big Papas is a real winner.

Enchiladas Y Mas
This Tex-Mex hole in the wall has one of the best (and strongest) frozen margaritas in all of Austin, but that’s just one of its charms. The family owned eatery also can brag about a spicy house salsa that lends a nice balance to a sizzling plate of beef fajitas. As the restaurant’s name promises, the enchiladas also pack a punch. Try the vegetarian cheese enchiladas slathered in ranchero sauce.

Hi Wings
This casual Korean fried chicken spot keeps its fryer busy with a lengthy menu that includes half or whole birds, tenders, and wings, plus sides like garlic parmesan fries, mozzarella sticks, and fried macaroni. If that doesn’t get the stomach rumbling, there’s also a dozen sauce options ranging from sriracha barbecue to honey ginger — and a sweet surprise from a pair of rustic tarts for dessert.

Korea House
If you’ve never noticed Korea House, that’s because it’s hidden in the heart of the Village Shopping Center. Fortunately, it’s worth a little on-foot wandering to find the peaceful koi pond and one of the most engaging dining experiences in town. Have a blast while searing marinated squid, duck, and beef ribs on the table side grills. Or, if cooking your own dinner sounds like a chore, order the vibrant bibimbap.

Pho Thaison
It might be tempting to file this one away for when the heat dissipates enough to enjoy the more than 20 steaming pho options, but this noodle shop doesn’t just offer soup. Cool down with a vermicelli bowl topped with mixed herbs or a heaping dish of spicy pork belly fried rice — and don’t skip the tangy freshly squeezed lemonade. Once the air conditioning kicks in, the complimentary hot cup of tea and a rolled wafer served with every meal hits the spot.

San Francisco Bakery & Cafe
Open until 6 pm on weekdays and 3 pm on Saturdays, this tiny cafe excels at sandwiches for both breakfast and lunch. Start the day with a ham and cheese croissant and go back for specialties like grilled eggplant on Parmesan focaccia or Italian ham and Genoa salami on a baguette. The salads are as impressive as they are filling.