Austin’s food game has been known to impress, now, more than ever, restaurants inside posh hotels are bringing all the flavor along with unparalleled dining experiences. Here are the top hotel restaurants that provide incredible food and the Austin personality we all know and love.
Trace at W Austin
If you haven’t paid a visit to Austin’s swankiest corner, now is the time to do so. Located on Second and Lavaca streets in the heart of downtown, Trace is the ideal spot for a romantic dinner for two or a celebration of 20. Trace is also one of the city's restaurants making the switch to offer healthier options.
Under the guidance of Executive Chef Thomas Riordan, the restaurant offers mostly gluten-free dishes, mindful portion sizes, and socially responsible food. Previously at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, Riordan brings his high-end hotel restaurant experience to Trace, reinforcing the mission to only utilize quality ingredients that are locally sourced and sustainable. The result is an ever-changing menu, infused with exotic flavors and vibrant Texas charisma.
The Driskill Grill and 1886 Cafe & Bakery at The Driskill Hotel
The Driskill Grill never ceases to impress. Under the creative direction of Executive Chef Troy Knapp, the formal dining atmosphere lends itself to some of the most graceful dishes in the city. Chef Knapp's menu is heavily influenced by what his food vendors have at the moment. The Driskill Grill also dry ages its Texas beef in-house, bringing out the best flavors in different cuts while keeping the meat tender. The Grill updates its menu about eight times a year, following seasons and availability from Texas farms.
Italy-born Tony Sansalone is the executive pastry chef of 1886 Cafe & Bakery, The Driskill Hotel's more casual and easily accessible restaurant. 1886’s menu is infused with Texas originals but also includes signature dishes served since the birth of the hotel. One staple is the honey-glazed fried chicken served in a porcelain bucket. A great deal of preparation goes into the dish: The process takes three days, but the reinvented result is nothing short of divinity.
Goodall’s Kitchen at Hotel Ella
Tucked away in this small campus-area boutique hotel, Goodall’s Kitchen features classic American bistro food and handcrafted cocktails. Executive Chef Michael Paley creates seasonal menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a weekend brunch made for the Austin food lover. The renovated dining rooms' architecture maintains the sense of history that Hotel Ella is known for but shows the hotel’s appreciation of modern decor.
The culinary team takes pride in Goodall's simplicity, creating clean but bold flavors that please both the food connoisseur and the everyday man. A favorite is the Goodall’s Blunderbluss, a tasty, handcrafted rosemary-lemon gin cocktail paired with the burger, a staple that comes with the ever-necessary Goodall's fries. Goodall’s Kitchen is the perfect place to impress on a wedding anniversary, or to grab a quick cocktail before taking an Uber downtown.
The Preserve Kitchen and Bar at Travaasa Austin
Led by Executive Chef Benjamin Baker, Travaasa focuses on providing dishes composed of fresh and organic ingredients and creating a sense of comfort and community. The friendly personnel will make you feel at home from the moment you walk in, suggesting expert recommendations from the locally sourced menu so that even the decision-making process is made simple.
Travaasa, recently honored in the Top 100 Reader's Choice Awards by Condé Nast for best hotels in the world, is all about relaxation and luxury. Its brilliant-yet-unpretentious cuisine will be one of the highlights of your visit. Favorites include the orange-achiote chicken, which happens to be one of the only items to hold real estate on the menu year-round, as well as the fall cocktails currently featured.
Sage Hill Inn Above Onion Creek
The atmosphere at this top-rated restaurant is one of casual comfort. Sage Hill provides as close to a 100-percent farm-to-table dining experience as possible by growing vegetables in its own garden. Executive Chef Ryan Castille designs the weekly rotating menus so that the kitchen utilizes the freshest ingredients available.
Your Hill Country vacation at Sage Hill will include a breakfast of fresh eggs, local fruits, and gourmet pancakes, and a three-course dinner with wine pairings, but the dining room is also open to the public with a reservation. Sage Hill Inn prides itself in being a luxury destination for Austinites and tourists alike, while keeping its quaint Southern charm.
Osteria Pronto, Corner, and Burger Bar at JW Marriott
JW Marriott gives you three restaurants to choose from, and each has its own signature culture. Osteria Pronto brings you elegant Italian food packed with flavor and technique. Corner focuses on filling comfort food and locally sourced dishes and drinks, while Burger Bar provides the convenience of gourmet fast food as you order a juicy, Texas-sized burger window-side.
Must-try dishes include the sea scallops at Osteria and the fall pumpkin cake at Corner. Sip a signature cocktail on the Congress Avenue patio, and you will have officially experienced the best of Austin.
Lake Austin Spa Resort
One of the greatest things about eating at Lake Austin Spa Resort is that the food doesn't just taste good, it makes you feel good as well. Staying at Lake Austin Spa Resort gives overnight guests access to the dining room where all meals are included and guaranteed to leave you feeling renewed. Under Executive Chef Stephane Beaucamp, the menu includes vegetables and fruits grown in Lake Austin Spa Resort's garden overlooking the Colorado River. Portion sizes are smaller than usual, but with so much nutritional value you won’t even notice and, even better, you won’t feel guilty either.
Aster Cafe, located in the spa, also offers healthy options to guests. If you are visiting the spa you can enjoy a gourmet lunch and spend the afternoon lounging in a cozy robe sipping Champagne.
Stella San Jac at Westin Austin Downtown
Stella San Jac is located inside the newest Westin Austin Downtown, which opened in September. Led by Chef Michael Cerrie, Stella offers Southern-style food in a casual yet polished atmosphere. Stella features an open kitchen and outdoor seating, as well as a bar that hosts local musicians on a weekly basis and serves infused cocktails, local beer, and wine.
Whether you want to grab a quick drink after work or people watch on a Saturday night, Stella offers a variety of dishes that will keep you coming back.