Texas Monthly editor Patricia Sharpe has published her list of Texas' Best New Restaurants in 2023. Numbered one to 10, it’s open to establishments that opened between December 1, 2021 and December 1, 2022, and it must be a restaurant's first Texas location.
Notably, it’s Texas Monthly’s first ranked list of best new restaurants since 2020. Due to the challenges restaurants faced in 2021 and 2022, the magazine shared a longer list of favorite dishes and drinks from restaurants across the state. Now, the article has returned to its familiar format.
After riffing on a few topics, including the rise of shareable dishes — she calls out shared desserts where restaurants “hand you a spoon as if it were a five-year-old’s birthday party” — diners dressing casually at all styles of restaurants, and ever-earlier happy hours, Sharpe finds the overall state of Texas restaurants to be pretty strong.
“This relaxed approach to dining works well with the trend toward creative, mix-and-match cooking, which has been gaining ground for years,” she writes. After describing the various culinary traditions represented on this year’s list — including four French-influenced restaurants — she concludes with an observation, “Cross-cultural cooking used to be dismissed as ‘confusion cuisine.’ Now it’s business as usual.”
Two Austin establishments make Sharpe's top 10: Diner Bar(No. 2), a Southern-inspired restaurant from James Beard Award winner Mashama Bailey, and Maie Day (No. 9), a casual steakhouse from Olamaie chef-owner Michael Fojtasek. Suerte's sister concept,Este, makes the honorable mentions.
Sharpe praises Diner Bar as a "bastion of unpredictability," citing Bailey's seared lobe of duck liver on Texas heirloom grits topped with a dab of sweet strawberry mostarda. "But it's the experiments that dazzle," she write, "like savory-sweet roasted young carrots and dates with an Ethiopian spice mix on a bed of barley and farro. No wonder Bailey won the 2022 James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef."
Meanwhile, at Maie Day — which Sharpe says "might be the most unexpected steakhouse in town" — Michael Fojstasek's most exciting dishes are those with a novel twist, such as the ham plate appetizer with buttery cornbread muffins; "What the Fluke" flounder crudo with pickled blueberries and fresh seasonal fruit; and the "far-from-predictable cheesecake."
San Antonio also gets two restaurants on the list — French-influenced Southern spot Restaurant Claudine (No. 4) and French bistro Cullum’s Attaboy (No. 10). Italian restaurant Allora and Mediterranean restaurant Ladino (from Austin's Emmer & Rye group) receive honorable mentions.
Otherwise, Houston restaurants lead the way with three in the top 10. They are seafood restaurant Navy Blue (No. 1), modern Israeli restaurant Hamsa (No. 3), and Pacha Nikkei (No. 6), a restaurant serving Japanese-Peruvian fusion. Southern comfort food restaurant Gatlin’s Fins and Feathers and Mexican-inspired Flora earn honorable mentions.
Up north, two Dallas restaurants make the top 10: Revolver Taco Lounge Gastro Cantina (No. 5) and Au Troisième (No. 8), the French bistro in Preston Center. Chef Nick Badovinus' prime rib restaurant Brass Ram earns an honorable mention. Fort Worth's Don Artemio, the upscale Mexican restaurant in the Museum District, also make the top ten (No.7), while Tim Love’s Italian restaurant Caterina’s and the revamped Paris Coffee Shop make the list of honorable mentions.
In terms of notable omissions, three of the four Texas restaurants that earned James Beard Award
semifinalist nominations for America’s Best New Restaurant do not appear on Texas Monthly’s list. They are: Houston Mexican restaurant Tatemó, Dallas sushi restaurant Tatsu, and Restaurant Beatrice, a Cajun restaurant in Dallas.
The full list in order is as follows:
- Navy Blue, seafood restaurant in Houston (No. 1)
- Diner Bar, Southern restaurant in Austin (No. 2)
- Hamsa, modern Israeli restaurant in Houston (No. 3)
- Claudine, French-influenced Southern restaurant in San Antonio (No.4)
- Revolver Taco Lounge Gastro Cantina, Mexican in Dallas (No. 5)
- Pacha Nikkei, Japanese-Peruvian fusion in Houston (No. 6)
- Don Artemio, Mexican restaurant in Fort Worth (No. 7)
- Au Troisième, French bistro in Dallas (No. 8)
- Maie Day, casual steakhouse in Austin (No. 9)
- Attaboy, French bistro in San Antonio (No. 10)
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