Major first round upsets mean 8 surprising contenders remain for Austin's best new restaurant award
Last week, we launched our third annual Tastemaker Tournament, where you, our trusted readers, have the power to determine Austin's best new restaurant.
The first round ended on April 22, with a few upsets and unexpected contenders rising to the top. Most notably, lauded restaurant Qui (everyone's favorite topic) was out-voted by Ramen Tatsu-Ya, while Searsucker overtook Jeffrey's (which made Bon Appetit's best new restaurant list) with an overwhelming 69 percent of the vote.
The Elite Eight are going head-to-head in the second round of the tournament, which ends April 28.
Who will prevail? Let's take a look at the match-ups before you vote.
Arro vs. Barlata
French cuisine takes on Spanish fare in this European-influenced match-up. Arro, helmed by Chef Andrew Curren of 24 Diner fame, is highly acclaimed for its refined take on French classics. South Lamar's Barlata spices things up with Spanish-inspired cuisine, including shareable tapas and delicious paellas.
No Va vs. Ramen Tatsu-Ya
Whose unique approach to comfort food will win? Rainey Street's No Va delights with a homespun approach to sophisticated classics like macaroni and cheese. Ramen Tatsu-Ya serves up the authentic soul food of Japan, which has become a staple of many Austin diners.
Searsucker vs. Salt & Time
Celebrity chef Brian Malarkey's downtown hot spot goes up against the much loved East Austin salumeria and butcher shop. At Searsucker, you'll nosh on plates made for sharing and sip on craft cocktails. Salt & Time offers easy grab-and-go lunches, or you can belly up to the bar for a beer and some house-made charcuterie.
Winebelly vs. Odd Duck
This match-up should be called the "Battle of South Austin." Both spots offer casual environments and interesting menus. Winebelly — from the owners of Vietnamese restaurant Hai-Ky — focuses on tapas and, of course, delectable wines. Odd Duck, the brick-and-mortar version of Chef Bryce Gilmore's famed trailer, revives the casual fare that put Gilmore on the map.
Ready to cast your vote? Click here to participate (you can vote once a day). Then, join us at the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards on May 7, when we reveal the winner.