Vote Now - Top Austin Restaurant/Food from 2010 - Voting open until Dec. 15th.
Borrowing a thread from the Los Angeles board where they've been doing a year- end vote for the past eight years:
Vote for your top Austin restaurant and/or food experiences from this past year.
Two categories - vote for 5 in each category: Under $25 per person and Over $25 per person (food only not including drinks).
I'll get things started so here you go;
Odd Duck Farm to Trailer
801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Under $25, best meal this year, it was a three taco breakfast at El Meson where they hit on all cylinders. Nothing in the world was wrong with the corn tortilla, the early al pastor, the perfectly cooked migas, the chorizo that they get from some vendor but still blows out almost every other chori in Austin, the whole piece of unbroken, perfectly-crisped bacon (not bacon bits!), the potatoes griddled in butter and fresh, chopped peppers. Even the homemade sauces (which they're very proud of, but often are just eh) were on fire that day, with a beautiful, scorchy green goddess reminiscent of Mi Ranchito's and a more mellow, slow burn pumpkin seed sauce with some mystery lipid. El Meson on Burleson can be erratic, this I know. That magical morning, everything was perfect.
(P.S. I think they've changed chorizo vendors since that historic day. My last couple chorimigas have been good, but something has been different. That perfect visit preceded the launch of their Lamar location, so possibly they've overextended themselves and been looking to cut costs. I'm not sure.)
Over $25, Parkside, no doubt. I've written about that decadent night already.
5808 Burleson Rd, Austin, TX 78744
I live in Ohio, but am in Austin this week for work. I have not had extensive dining experiences in Austin, though I have visited more than once. Anyway, I am a barbecue lover, have eaten it many places in many states, and cook a lot of it myself. I hope that qualifies me to cast one vote....
Was there for lunch today, and the stuff I sampled was all good, but the brisket was amazing! I can't wait to return.
Parkside's good, but I've had undercooked sweetbreads (gross) and terrible service within the past year. The mac and cheese is great. Uchiko.
F & D is spotty (to be fair, most seasonal restaurants are), and the parking and decor are atrocious (and you don't want to hear the industry rumblings about the chef, though I could care less). I'll vote Din Ho: not super-clean, but comfortable, with amazing barbecue pork and Peking duck, and a BYOB policy.
Fabi & Rosi
Cipollina (new menu/chef, delicious)
Oh hey now, I'll happily vote right along with you on Din Ho on the merits of their duck and char siu -- no contest, my favorite Chinese restaurant in Austin. But Din Ho's service is the most erratic of any place I visit regularly; some days apathetic, some days rude, some days nondescript, some days dismissive, some days really quite nice. Factor in the coin flip's chance that your silverware is dirty or that your glass has a lipstick stain, and this place isn't in the same orbit as an Uchi or a Parkside. (Though it'll cost less than half as much.)
In a dozen visits, Parkside has given me clumsy service, but never flippant, dismissive, or rude.
This brings up an interesting non-chow subject: best service in Austin? I'd probably say Wink.
801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
hmmm, some of these restaurants straddle that $25 borderline, could go either way some times...
well, here are my votes, if leaning towards more expensive items on the menu...
Odd Duck - prolly the best quality food out of a trailer
Simplicity - great quality food for such a cheap price
Le Soleil - Big. Fried. Fish., though this item is family style so needs to be split to be <$25pp
G'Raj Mahal - best indian food in town, which is hard to come by
Asia Cafe - so many options and so close to home...
Wink - will always be my favorite restaurant
El Arbol - LOVE this place, best octopus in town
Hudson's on the Bend - never lets me down, usually has bold enough flavors for my palate
Jeffrey's - really love this place since Deegan McClung took over as chef, best sardines Ever...
Parkside - always been a fan of Shawn Cirkiel's food, bone marrow--need i say more?...
- Osaka Mansun (if nothing else, go for the escolar and jalapeno sashimi appetizer. Game changer)
I'll throw La Sombra into the mix. I don't know exactly which of the two categories it would fit into, since you pretty much have to get a couple of their great cocktails. Went there last night and had an excellent empanada trio and a ceviche trio. Wonderfully prepared.
We went for lunch based on your above comment, and had some very interesting and fresh rolls... but it was NOT under $25 (we ordered three rolls and some tea).
I would have to say, Mikado is as good, closer to my house and about the same price range, but I could see returning if it were the closer location.l
oh bummer. maybe it is only certain dishes during specific times?
i used to get a good $8 sushi bento from them but haven't had lunch there in at least 2 years.
the other night i went for happy hour and got a crapload of discounted nigiri and rolls for $20.
if you don't mind driving a little further, momiji has some great lunch and dinner sushi deals.
you can get 3 (select) rolls and miso for something like $11 at lunch.
mikado is a self-professed northern japanese style place (or at least some of their dishes take on this focus).
their rolls are a little more traditional or less americanized if you will.
plus it's a little more upscale with higher price-points.
momiji and osaka mansun have a lot of tempura/fruit/mayo/sauce type fusion rolls in addition to the more traditional offerings.
osaka mansun even moreso, as they have a book of rolls. it's huge.
Under $25 for me is a toss between Odd Duck and Franklin's...birds of a different feather, but both excellent. I'd also put in a strong second for Simplicity.
I'd put Lambert's in the over $25 for the Sunday brunch. Uchiko would be my big vote though for the over $25.
Oh, and if there's and under $10, Red's Porch.