Hi, I'll be visiting your great town in a few weeks and wanted to get a recommendation on tacos. I'm looking for simple "authentic" tacos. I used to live in Dallas and loved the tacos at Fuel city 2. The tacos were just simple, straight forward, great meat, onion, cilantro and whatever sauce you choose. Living in california, I can't seem to find anything like this, everything is way too busy with tons of guacamole stuffed into it along with pico de gallo. Could you point me in the right direction? As far as meats, I like the standard, carnitas, barbacoa, lengua etc.
Also, any other must try autsin recs for tex-mex? We already have plans to go to uchiko, btw, what's the difference between uchiko and uchi? For bbq, either franklin's or salt lick.
Thanks everyone for the great feed back! Lots to choose from, we definitely won't be going hungry. From what I'm gathering, Salt lick seems to be the sonny bryans or dickeys of austin? Not necessarily a bad thing, just not the best. If you think those are bad, you should taste the abominations they call bbq out here. Since this is pretty much a food destination trip(although I'm not sure if my girlfriend realizes this), we'll wait in line for franklin's. I'm assuming the specialty of the house is the brisket? Are the lines bad on friday as well? If we go at 10:30 or closer to 11, will we have to wait a long time, or do you recommend getting in line by 10, even on a friday? Also, not sure we'll have room for breakfast, but can you give us a suggestion? I've been to kerbey ln in my younger days and loved the pancakes, any places that stick out? thanks again!
Hands down my vote for the best tacos in town has been inspired from Scrumtiouschef's championing of La Fruta Feliz on Manor just a block east of the intersection with Airport Rd. On his blog he calls this the best taqueria going in Austin right now. I agree wholeheartedly. The pastor and goat barbacoa (barbacoa de chive) are sublime. You hear the pitter patter of the ladies preparing your fresh homemade corn tortilla for the griddle. The pork chunks are well marinated and come out crispy on the outside but tender, and deep with achiote and slightly sweet. This is pastor at its best. The goat tacos are the best goat I've had anywhere, anyhow. 1.75 for nicely stuffed tacos.
I also second the vote for Taco More that's two blocks from my house - it's very good with a great salsa bar and high volume traffic. But I must lament - they don't make their own tortillas. I just don't understand why more places can't whip up tortillas themselves.
You can find these sorts of tacos at Taqueria Arandas on N. Burnet. You'll find the usual meats, for very cheap prices, and the salsas are very good.
More Mexican than Tex-Mex, but you might be interested in checking out El Borrego de Oro on S. Congress. It hasn't been brought up on the board lately, but I've only ever had good food there. It's been a long time since I've been to any of the old Austin Tex-Mex suspects on S. 1st, but perhaps someone who has been lately can recommend one.
"btw, what's the difference between uchiko and uchi?"
Uchi is the first of the two restaurants. It is in a smaller space (an old house), and serves a more traditional sushi menu.
Uchiko is the newer restaurant, and as such, is bigger, flashier, and sexier. Correspondingly, the dishes veer from traditional Japanese a bit more than at Uchi. I've only been to Uchiko, but consensus seems to be that both are excellent choices.
Your two choices for barbecue could not be further apart from each other. On one hand, you have the Salt Lick, which locals usually reserve for visiting groups of visiting relatives or graduation suppers. Don't get me wrong; the food is very good, but what you're buying at the Salt Lick is the chance to sit in that big noisy room and have as much barbecue as you care to eat while drinking beer out of your own cooler. At the other end of the spectrum is Franklin, which is touted as serving some of the best meat in Austin, but which you have to queue up an hour or more before opening time for. Both worth trying, but both very different.
If you don't want Franklin length lines and you have a car that will get you to the Salt Lick you might as well go to Taylor, Lockhart, or Luling. Smitty's or Muellers for brisket, City Market for ribs. Also in Lockhart, q snobs seem to dis Blacks, but it is solid IMHO and has nice sides.
Taco More sounds wonderful. I am less adventuresome than I ought to be, but I have never had a bad taco at Angie's, especially carnitas.
ive become a big fan of a place called taco more lately and one of the things I enjoy about them is their simplicity - tortilla, meat, cilantro, onion. Its my go to taco place for the last few months.... Really wonderful flavor and lots to choose from. mmmmm. might have to grab some tonight!
as far as bbq goes, your going to get a million answers, but for me, its hands down franklin with one huge caveat. the wait - i cant wait in that line anymore. it used to be that on a Saturday i could grab a cup of coffee and get there about 11 and be eating by 1230. 90 minutes is way long enough but the wait is regularly 2-3 hours on saturday now (the only day i can make it there), i just can't do it. everyone there is amazingly gratefull and appreciative which makes all the difference to me, but waiting that long....just cant do it. you could drive to lockhart and back by then. lots of folks here like jmuellers in south austin as an alternative, havent tried it yet. and salt lick is way off the radar.