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First time in Austin - for 5 days? Where to dine?

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Looking for suggestions for the best and most cultural places to eat! Please suggest - and tell me where and why! Cheers!

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  1. I am sure that everyone is in a holiday stupor right now - or you should of received some replies already. Question: where are you coming from? That would make a difference in suggestions....

    1. Many restaurants that are unique to Austin are concentrated in a patch of road along South Lamar street between the river (Lake Lady Bird) and stretching a dozen blocks south from there. The busiest section is the Barton Springs road between Lamar and Zilker park. There are a few other concentrations in other sections of the city.

      1. BBQ: Sam's BBQ @ 12th & Lamar; or, if you have time, Black's, Smitty's or Kreuz's BBQ in Lockhart, half hour south of Austin on 183
        Cheap Mexican: La Michoacana, E. 7th (grocery store with taco stand inside, pay for how many tacos you want at cash register first)
        Upscale Mexican: Fonda San Miguel
        Upscale Sushi [and arguably best restaurant in Austin]: Uchi

        3 Replies
        1. re: taliesin15

          That's not Sams BBQ, that sounds like House Park BBQ. Sams is 30 blocks east of there.

          I kinda like Iron Works, Artz Rib House, Cannoli Joe's, and of course most everything in Chinatown and chopping center at Research and Peyton Gin.

          1. re: sqwertz

            yeah, you're right--typo--I meant 12th and Chicon...and definitely DO NOT recommend House Park BBQ, I can think of probably 20 other BBQ places in town I'd recommend before that place--Iron Works is definitely better than House Park, not sure I'd agree with Artz--Lamberts has better ribs

            1. re: sqwertz

              Has Cannoli Joe's gotten better? We went soon after it opened, and liked a couple items ok, but it didn't seem like some place I'd send an out-of-towner.

          2. Austin culture "icons" (not a definitive list or necessarily an endorsement of the food) include Maria's Taco Express, Magnolia Cafe or Kerby Lane, Matt's El Rancho, Chuy's, Salt Lick BBQ, Guero's Taco Bar, Z Tejas, Austin's Pizza, Maudie's, Shady Grove, Romeo's, Freddie's (get the onion rings), Hudson's on the Bend, and the Oasis.

            Good, good food is to be had at El Azteca (classic Tex Mex, great table salsa, try the Combo #1), Habanero (fajitas, mole), El Chile on Manor, and Zocalo, Chinese BBQ at Din Ho (get the bbq pork and duck), Thai at Titaya's, Thai Kitchen and Thai Tara, and Sunflower, American fare at Galaxy Cafe and Hyde Park Grill, sushi at Musashino or Kenobi, Italian at Siena and Vespaio, steaks at Austin Land and Cattle Company or Mesa Ranch.

            Opinions vary, of course. You can search the board for discussion on most of the places I have named.

            1. Restaurants reflecting Austin's vibe: Chuy's for Tex-Mex; Curra's for Mexican food; Salt Lick for BBQ; Hut's for burgers; Kerby Lane for breakfast; Eastside Cafe for eclectic; Oasis for the view and Romeo's for Italian. These may not be the best restaurants in town but reflect the places were I was taken 13 years ago when I move into town.