If you love food — and who doesn't love food? — living in the South Lamar neighborhood might be your best bet. The roughly three miles of Lamar, from Barton Springs Road to Ben White Boulevard, is arguably the most restaurant-packed and diverse foodie paradise in Austin. And while South Congress and South First have gotten pretty crowded, South Lamar has plenty of room to roam (and park).
It's a choose-your-own-adventure zone for dedicated diners, and here are some delicious reasons why:
The super chefs
You can never go wrong with Tyson Cole's Uchi, named the "best sushi this side of Japan" by The Wall Street Journal. Anchoring the South Lamar strip long before it became trendy, Uchi is the place to go when you want a "wow" evening with no limits.
If you haven’t heard about Loro already, you're in for a treat. Perhaps Austin's buzziest restaurant opening of 2018, this Asian smokehouse is brought to you by Uchi's Cole and Aaron Franklin (yes, that Aaron Franklin). Come for the smoked prime bavette with shishito salsa verde and stay for the chance to hang out on one of the most chill patios in town.
Chef Daniel Olivella and his wife, Vanessa Jerez, bring the flavors and fun of Spain to Barlata Tapas Bar, which features mix-and-match house-made tapas cleverly served in small tins — a nod to the variety of delicious Spanish canned foods. (P.S.: The paella is top-notch too.)
Another longtime favorite, Odd Duck sits on the very same South Lamar lot where Bryce and Dylan Gilmore's original food trailer first debuted. This is your spot if you love farm-to-table comfort food — all local ingredients, please — with an imaginative twist and zero snobbery.
And speaking of comfort food, local chefs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto sling some of America's best ramen at their Ramen Tatsu-Ya location on South Lamar. With their hopefully soon-to-be-open tiki bar concept next door, your evening sip and slurp is all sorted.
Guaranteed to make you smile
Chef Marisela Godinez's food is so lovingly made, it'll transport you right to her mama's kitchen in Mexico City — or perhaps her husband's childhood home in Monterrey. Featuring scratch-made dishes from every region in Mexico, El Mesón Tequilería will make you smile with satisfaction.
The bright and cheery Crepe Crazy is the American dream of Russian immigrant Vladimir Giterman and his wife, Inna, who was born in Ukraine. The Gitermans prove you really can wrap anything in a crepe — from Scandinavian flavors to Mediterranean, Southwestern, and even campfire s'mores. It's food with a built-in hug.
Reigning over South Lamar is Austin's taco queen, Maria Corbalan, whose Taco Xpress is one of the first taco-truck-to-brick-and-mortar success stories. Don't miss Hippie Church — a decades-long tradition that combines soul-stirring tunes with tacos and margaritas. Hippie Church is every Sunday from 12-3 pm (South Austin brunch time), and it's the beating heart of weird, wonderful 78704.
But wait, there's more
If you think the clean-eating craze started on Instagram, you might be new to Austin. The natives know that Mr. Natural has been around since the late '80s, serving up some of the best healthy bites (and fresh juices) in town. Mr. Natural is nirvana for those with special diets — the O.G. of clean and green.
Finally, for the meatheads, don't miss Brown's BBQ trailer, parked outside Corner Bar. The brisket is seriously legit, and there's likely to be very few tourists driving up the wait.
If you lived here, you'd be home by now
Just around the bend from all of this foodie fun is Milam Grove, a new neighborhood dedicated to going your own way. Unlike other close-in neighborhoods like Tarrytown, Bouldin, and Travis Heights, Milam Grove gives you plenty of elbow room — with just 11 homes on a sizable plot dotted with heritage oak and pecan trees.
Each home is unique, and the floorplans are packed with special features, from guest quarters to home offices, playrooms, and more. If you're looking to live minutes from downtown, with some of Austin's best restaurants within walking or biking distance, Milam Grove is the perfect home base for any adventure you choose.