Austin’s 5 best restaurants for 2022 rise to the top of the food chain

Never before have Austin restaurants faced such profound challenges. As the height of the pandemic has caused local restaurants to distinguish between keeping staff safe and providing an essential service to the community, supply chain shortages, staff shortages and escalating food and commodity costs have only compounded the problem.

Yet amid such tumultuous opposition, Austin’s restaurant scene has remained resilient, with restaurateurs perpetually pivoting and developing new ways of doing business, caring for employees and feeding this growing metropolis. growth with serenity and a cool approach that is truly inspiring.

That’s why more than ever, these heroes of Austin’s restaurant industry deserve recognition and acclaim for their adaptability, determination and courage.

We will be celebrating these loyal local epicureans at our next CultureMap Tastemaker Awardwhich honors the best of Austin’s food scene.

We’re less than a week away from the big event, so it’s time to toast the Tastemaker nominees for Restaurant of the Year. Read about them below, then join us in commemorating these Austin restaurants at our tasting event and awards program on Thursday, April 28 at the Fair Market. Tickets are available now!

Cuantos Tacos
There are few things Austinites treasure more than just a delicious taco — and this eye-catching yellow food truck parked on the east side definitely delivers the goods. With a mouth-watering menu of Mexico-style street tacos (the perfect size to wolf down in two or three bites), Cuantos Tacos doesn’t hold back when it comes to seasoning, meaty ingredients, and classic Mexican flavors. Popular favorites like barbacoa, brisket, and carnitas tacos are a must, but many local taco connoisseurs have found themselves drawn to the perhaps unfamiliar but mouth-watering tacos of Cuantos Tacos, featuring specialties like pork stomach (buche) , Mexican chorizo ​​(longaniza), and beef cheek (stash), and rightly so. Every dish on this small but delicious menu (which also includes excellent quesadillas and traditional nixtamalized corn tortillas) is worth devouring.

Any foodie who’s been living in Austin for more than a minute is likely familiar with the ubiquitous Emmer & Rye restaurant group, which includes concepts ranging from farm-to-table cuisine and wellness cuisine to street food. Israeli, with Caribbean dishes and Chow with Basque influences. At Hestia, the Greek goddess of the hearth presides over all high-fire dishes, which are prepared over an impressive, custom-built 20-foot hearth by chefs who are obviously passionate about how fire can transform food. From irresistible snacks (milhojas with goat brie, chives, kaluga caviar) and small plates (tunchokes with velouté of Jerusalem artichoke and kombu) to a fiery selection of entrees (the 8-ounce dry-aged New York wagyu Texas strip with honeyed squash, ash-aged goat cheese and life-changing fig agrodolce), and a dessert menu worth saving space, Hestia consistently cooks food with wit. A visit wouldn’t be complete without a few sips from Hestia’s extensive 250-bottle wine list.

In Austin’s pantheon of Italian restaurants, locals have been spoiled with excellent options, but there’s always room for another cherished spot, especially one that takes sustainability and farm-to-table cuisine seriously. Table. Austin natives and highly skilled chef-owners Ian Thurwachter and Krystal Craig named their perfectly whimsical and enchanting restaurant Intero, located on East Cesar Chavez Street in a converted motorcycle shop, after the snout’s cuisine at tail. Translating to “whole” in Italian, Intero emphasizes whole, local ingredients, traditional Italian techniques, and innovative dishes aimed at captivating Austin’s palates. Although the menu changes regularly to highlight seasonal ingredients, you can always count on great small plates and snacks, handmade pastas, Texas meat and fish dishes, and a wonderful selection of wines. Pro tip: Dessert is non-negotiable here, as pastry chef Craig’s sweet treats are quite transformative. And just because you’re dining on a divine dessert doesn’t mean you can’t grab some homemade chocolate truffles for later. Nothing!

Amid the meteoric rise of Austin’s restaurant scene, this local darling has stayed true to its soulful Southern roots, even as acclaimed owner and executive chef Michael Fojtasek has continued to expand his food empire with new concepts. . While Olamaie’s fare is nothing short of comforting, its offerings are a far cry from the greasy, fried bites often associated with Southern cuisine. Here, tradition rubs shoulders with contemporary culinary techniques in a dance that produces astonishing dishes that seduce the eyes as much as the taste buds. Dig into turnips and ham, then follow up with braised beef cheeks or the grilled pork chop and sweet potatoes with heavenly brown butter. Before diving headfirst into Executive Pastry Chef Jules Stoddart’s sublime desserts, sip an incredibly satisfying craft cocktail and sample some of these exquisite must-have salted honey butter cookies for a true Olamaie experience.

For four delicious years, Austin has had the good fortune to dine at this beloved east side restaurant that specializes in blending traditional Mexican cuisine with Texas ingredients and is powered by a passion for masa, that Mexican ingredient. Very important. And with Executive Chef Fermin Nunez — a Food & Wine Best New Chef 2021 – at the helm, Suerte goes above and beyond with his fine offerings, from surprising choices of fries and dips to an enticing selection of cold and raw dishes (the ceviche is incredibly good) to all things masa, heartier dishes like goat barbacoa and wagyu New York strip prepared Mexican-style, and a tiny but intriguing menu of vegetables that are so flavorful they could make their own delicious meal. Indeed, Suerte is the place to go when you want your taste buds in luck. Drop by for happy hour, aka lucky hour, for wonderful deals on cocktails, beer, wine, and spirits like sotol and mezcal, and check out brunch for a delicious Suerte experience and some of the best chilaquiles from the city.

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