25 Austin Restaurants to Try this Valentine’s Day or All Year Long!

One of the most popular ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day is by splurging on a fancy meal with your sweethearts or friends, and with the number of highly acclaimed restaurants on today’s Austin culinary scene, narrowing down the list will be no small task. Why not start now?

Below are a few of Austin’s hottest restaurants to get your juices (and taste buds) flowing. Be sure to make your reservation early – February 14 is one of the busiest nights for restaurants all year long, so these places will be sure to fill up fast! Or if you’re more in the mood for a quiet evening in on Valentine’s day, hang the lost on your fridge and make it a goal to check out at least a few of these places in 2016. Now that’s a new year’s resolution you know you can keep!

Dai Due  – Named among the top 10 Best New Restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit magazine, this Manor Road eatery uses only locally sourced food, “so the bounties and scarcities of the seasons are always the theme.” They offer two menus: an a la carte selection and a nightly Supper Club menu that features an appetizer course, a second course of grilled meats or seafood (on Fridays) with a selection of vegetables, and dessert.

Olamaie  – Named Austin’s Best Restaurant by food critic Matthew Odam of the Austin American-Statesman, this modern Southern restaurant at 1610 San Antonio takes what he calls an “updated yet old school approach…reinventing the definition of Southern food with a local bent in the Texas context.”

Launderette  – This warm, homey East Side neighborhood cafe by chefs Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki, the duo behind La Condesa and Sway’s menus, features flavorful, contemporary food that’s “innovative yet unfussy,” with Meditteranean-influenced fare and hearty, comforting dishes.

Qui  – Top Chef and James Beard Award winning chef Paul Qui’s flagship restaurant on East 6th Street features seasonal plates and tasting menus, plus an impressive wine list and cocktails.

Bufalina  – This neighborhood Neapolitan pizzeria on East Cesar Chavez serves some of the best pizza in Austin. The menu changes regularly, but you can count on appetizers featuring mozzarella and burrata made in-house, not to mention house-made ice creams and other tasty treats.

Juniper  – If you’re looking for Northern Italian flavors mixed with local Texas flair, check out Juniper, located on East Cesar Chavez, just west of Pleasant Valley Road. Blending ultra-modern decor with classic tastes of pasta and ragu, this restaurant will transport you to Tuscany and Venice, while being firmly planted on Austin’s hip east side.

Juliet  – Yet another Italian restaurant making the scene, Juliet’s cuisine is inspired by the bounty of the Italian countryside, bringing together an inventive menu with ingredients sourced from across central Texas. It’s located on Barton Springs Road and has a lush patio and outdoor bar, an airy and open main room and smaller, more intimate dining rooms.

Lenoir  – Located in a small, remodeled house on South First, Lenoir offers creative cuisine with Mediterranean and Indian accents, but builds its constantly-changing menu based on the current season and weather. Lenoir also sources its produce, meat and cheese almost exclusively from Texas farmers and food artisans. Seating is limited, so be sure to book early.

Wu Chow  – Located downtown in the brand new IBC Bank Plaza at W. 5th and San Antonio, Wu Chow offers dishes representative of all eight styles of Chinese cuisine as well as dim sum. Blending classic takes on Sichuan and other popular regional Chinese cuisine with an emphasis on farm-to-table ingredients, Wu Chow’s opening has been heralded by many local foodies.

Geraldine’s  – The recently opened Hotel Van Zandt is a new addition to the popular Rainey Street area, and on its fourth floor, you’ll find Geraldine’s. This highly lauded dining spot features shareable plates of new American-style food along with craft cocktails, live music and great views of Lady Bird Lake.

Central Standard and Café No Sé – Two establishments at the South Congress Hotel, Central Standard is a classic American bar and grill with a wraparound patio that’s perfect for people watching, while Cafe No Se is a California-style cafe with homemade pastries and seasonal offerings.

Apis  – Apis also made Odam’s Top 10 list in the Statesman and Texas Monthly’s “9 Best New Restaurants of 2015” list and has won a number of other accolades. Located in Spicewood, the combination restaurant and apiary serves up an elegant, seasonal New American menu, with honey made in the backyard working its way into several dishes.

Counter 3. Five. VII  – Patrons at this intimate American eatery feast on a prix fixe 3-, 5- or 7-course tasting menu determined by the best ingredients available, and seated at a counter surrounding the chef. The restaurant’s American cuisine changes seasonally, and it even has its own in-house Urban Cultivator, a growing system that provides greens and herbs.

Prelog’s  – Located in downtown Austin, this contemporary, French fusion kitchen and bar has an open kitchen that allows diners to watch chefs prep and cook each course, and modernist decor and big windows that create a lively, yet refined, atmosphere.

Gardner  – Hailed by Bon Appetit as one of America’s 50 Best New Restaurants in 2015, the team behind Contigo Austin emphasizes seasonal vegetables, also serving meat and game, from its East 6th Street location.

Clark’s  – Often referred to as “Perla’s little brother,” Clark’s is a small West Austin neighborhood spot that features a great raw bar, house-baked sourdough, fresh fish, lobster roles and more. It has indoor and outdoor seating and has garnered acclaim for not only for its food, but also its attention to detail, including attentive staff, efficient seating, and a number of niceties such as delicious homemade bread, served at every table.

Jacoby’s  – At this East Austin, family-owned establishment, diners enjoy a ranch-to-table experience featuring Southern classics and farm-fresh ingredients delivered in a rustic space with a lush garden.

Swift’s Attic  – This downtown restaurants serves up modern American small plates that focus on the “creative, whimsical delicious.” Swift’s Attic was nominated for Food & Wine magazine’s “People’s Choice Best New Chef” in 2013 and 2014 and “Best New Pastry Chef” awards in 2013; has been featured numerous times in DETAILS magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Texas Monthly and Austin Monthly, among many others; and most recently was featured on Bravo network’s “Best New Resturant.”

Bullfight  – The latest project from Shawn Cirkiel, the resturanteur behind Parkside, the Backspace and Olive & June, this neighborhood restaurant on Airport Boulevard brings a modern take on Spanish classics, serving up Spanish seafood, meats, cheeses and wine.

Josephine House  – This stylish yet casual Clarksville spot, the sister restaurant to Austin fine dining institution Jeffrey’s, serves up fresh, seasonal foods in a charming cottage with indoor and outdoor seating that evokes lazy, midsummer days from a bygone era. Many ingredients are locally sourced and the menu, featuring New American cuisine, changes daily.

Odd Duck  – This brick and mortar restaurant serves brunch, lunch and dinner on the exact spot the original trailer where Odd Duck made its first splash once stood. Whether from a trailer or its current South Lamar location, Odd Duck has maintained the philosophy of supporting local farmers, making everything on its menu, which “is inspired by the Texas seasons,” from scratch.

This list is by no means complete – we haven’t even mentioned Austin favorites Uchi, Justine’s Brasserie, Wink and Jeffrey’s – but it does go to show how Austin has certainly transformed into a foodie town over the past decade, with a multitude of restaurants to suit everyone’s taste. We hope the list gets you inspired to take advantage of the many culinary delights our city has to offer. From everyone at Blairfield Realty, happy Valentine’s Day, and bon appétit!

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