Tastemakers Austin 2017
Best New Restaurants

16 best new restaurants in Austin compete for Tastemaker title

16 best new restaurants in Austin compete for Tastemaker title

Irene's Austin
Irene's will satisfy your breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and happy hour cravings. Photo by Melody Fury
The Beer Plant vegan gastropub restaurant bar
The Beer Plant boasts a vegan menu that even meat-eaters will enjoy. The Beer Plant/Instagram
Eberly study restaurant Austin
Eberly is a stunning addition to South Lamar Boulevard. Photo by Merrick Ales
Sophia's restaurant Austin interior
Sophia's is the upscale Italian eatery in the former Bess Bistro space. Photo courtesy of Sophia's
Old Thousand restaurant clay pot
Old Thousand offers delicious Chinese food with a side of craft cocktails and funky music. Photo by Kristin Vrana
Irene's Austin
The Beer Plant vegan gastropub restaurant bar
Eberly study restaurant Austin
Sophia's restaurant Austin interior
Old Thousand restaurant clay pot

Austin has no shortage of awesome new restaurants, and we're celebrating them in our 2017 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards. Sixteen of the top new restaurants in Austin will go head to head in our annual tournament, powered by Whole Foods Market, where you decide who will be crowned the Best New Restaurant of 2017.

Vote for your favorites in the bracket-style elimination challenge now through April 18. You can vote once a day, every day, but first, meet all of the nominees:

827Ray's Kitchen + Cellar
827Ray's doubles as neighborhood spot for far West Austin and a dining destination for those outside the area. There's a lot to love about the elevated American menu, including the baked goat cheese appetizer. The wine list is extensive and varied, and chef/owner Wayne Brooks and his staff will happily provide a recommendation. 

The Beer Plant
This Tarrytown spot marries craft beer, wine, and cocktails with a 100-percent plant-based menu. While the food selection caters to vegans and veggie-lovers, it has been designed to appeal to all of Austin. The gastropub also features 40 taps, with options from local breweries and a well-rounded lineup of sours, farmhouse ales, and prairie ales.

Cane Rosso
Cane Rosso has earned international acclaim for its authentic Neapolitan-style pizza, which was approved by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. The Dallas-based pizza restaurant's first Austin outpost took over the South Austin building previously home to St. Philip in August 2016.

Cannon + Belle
The new restaurant at the Hilton Austin downtown made a big splash when it opened in November. The former Finn & Porter space has completely transformed into a fresh, bright eatery offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails. Chef Peter Maffei still leads the kitchen. 

Citizen Eatery
Citizen Eatery serves up scratch-made vegetarian and vegan cuisine on Burnet Road for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu of locally sourced, mostly plant-based cuisine pairs well with what the team calls "Citizen Smart Spirits," cocktails prepared with ingredients that add a biological benefit to the booze. 

Culinary Dropout
This Domain Northside hot spot, which also has locations outside of Texas, boasts an airy patio and spacious dining room with live music five nights a week. Expect tasty bar snacks, hearty dishes, and a ton of craft beer options.

Delicious stays true to its name with large portions, affordable prices, and a varied menu of hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. In addition to dining, you can also shop fresh grocery items from the quaint market in Lamar Union. 

Another big hit on the scene, Eberly offers a beautiful, midcentury setting courtesy of co-founders Eddy Patterson and John Scott, former owners of Stubb's Bar-B-Que. The Cedar Tavern, a gorgeous bar with legendary New York City ties, has a separate bar menu with high-end drinks.

This upscale Mexican concept from the team behind Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile serves beautiful dishes with both Mexican and Tex-Mex influences in an impeccably decorated environment. Tequila and mezcal star in several drinks, from traditional margaritas to creative concoctions.

From the same team that brought us Italic, 24 Diner, and Easy Tiger. The large West Avenue space features chef Andrew Curren's all-day menu of soups, sandwiches, and comfort favorites. The robust bar program curated by sommelier Craig Collins ranges from rosé to craft cocktails.

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya
The Ramen Tatsu-Ya team branched out from noodles with Kemuri, a Texas take on an izakaya inspired by chef Tatsu Aikawa's experience as a Japanese native growing up in the Lone Star State. The menu focuses on shareable plates — including smoked meats, yakitori, and chinmi — while the beverage list emphasizes sake, whiskey, and beer.

In what was perhaps the most high-profile closure of 2016, chef Paul Qui pulled the plug on his namesake restaurant. Kuneho, an Asian-inspired eatery, is its replacement. Modeled after a Japanese sushi bar, Kuneho’s culinary offerings also include Thai, Filipino, and Korean influences. In addition to a main dining room, there is an outdoor patio and a cocktail lounge called The Borough.

Old Thousand
Old Thousand is becoming a go-to spot for Chinese food on the east side by serving up a mix of dine-in and takeout options with a side of cocktails and funky music. The concept is the first from new restaurant group SMGB. Uchi alums and Rising Star Chef of the Year nominees James Dumapit and David Baek helm the kitchen. 

Red Ash Italia
Prolific restaurateurs Larry Foles, Guy Villavaso, and executive chef John Carver opened this modern Italian eatery in the Colorado Tower downtown in October. The ground-floor bar and lounge area are outfitted with cozy leather booths, while a mezzanine dining room is perfect for noshing on dishes like handmade noodles, fresh seafood, and wood-grilled meats.

Salt Traders Coastal Cooking
Round Rock hooked this new concept from famed Austin chef Jack Gilmore. Heavily seafood-centric, the ample menu includes options for all tastes, with salads, soups, and even a steak from the oak-fired grill. The craft cocktail lineup reflects the coastal vibe too.

This upscale Italian eatery took over Sandra Bullock's Bess Bistro space on West Sixth Street. Complementing Sophia's classic entrees and pasta plates is an extensive wine list and cocktails with special emphasis on barrel-aged creations, Amaro, and house-made vermouth.


Buy tickets now to the Tastemaker Awards on April 19 at Bullock Texas State History Museum. Learn more about the event here.