Southwestern Cuisine at its Best

In the last decade, the Austin restaurant scene has transformed from cooking up great Tex-Mex to major player in the international culinary scene. Some big names have moved in and opened up successful restaurants, but still maintaining Austin’s unique flavor. The city has proved to be an excellent canvas for a young chef and some of the most creative chefs in the country can be found working in unassuming converted bungalows and downtown warehouses. 

10 Franklin Barbecue
Every day since Franklin Barbecue opened for business as a modest food trailer in 2009, it has sold out of its famous brisket. The barbecue here has been heralded as some of the best in the country, and even with the larger brick and mortar location, you'll still find a line out the door more often than not. (512-653-1187)

9 Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill takes you back to a simpler time. Comfortable and familiar, relaxed and easygoing, Moonshine greets guests like family. Serving up great cooking with an innovative take on classic American comfort food, Moonshine's menu satisfies even the big city tastes. Its ranges from the corndog shrimp start to their horseradish crusted salmon. Moonshine is a true taste of Texas. (512-236-9599)

8 Paggi House
Recognized as one of the best local spots for patio dining, the Paggi House is an iconic Austin restaurant, as well as a historic landmark dating back to the 1840s. Executive Chef Ben Huselton utilizes his culinary prowess to offer seasonal menus utilizing the best in farm-fresh and local ingredients. A sample of the adventurous menu in three courses: oxtail consommé, frisée salad with quail leg confit, and sea scallops with black truffle butter, foie gras mashed potatoes, and asparagus. (5124733700)

7 Parkside
Widely recognized as one of Austin's most creative restaurateurs, Chef Shawn Cirkiel has been impressing area foodies and critics alike since the early 2000s, when he gained the honor of Austin's youngest five-star chef from the Austin American Statesman. Cirkiel was the first to introduce Austin to the gastro pub concept with his casually sophisticated parkside on Sixth Street. The menu ranges from a wide selection of raw oysters to one of the Top 50 Burgers in Texas. (5124749898)

6 Vespaio
Vespaio is one of those places that automatically gets a thumbs up when you mention their name. You'll hear things like "Always a go-to for a good meal" and "We love this place" and "Try the lasagna." Described as bustling and boisterous, Vespaio can sometimes be crowded and a bit noisy but the food is served in a slower paced style. The staff and chefs work to make the meal a success and try not to rush you. The portions are quite large, the restaurant is spotless and your server will start you off with fresh bread and olive oil. The restaurant has a decent selection of wines to go with your meal and the restaurant is known for having a staff that is attentive but not overly attentive. (512-441-6100)

5 Congress Restaurant
Recently named one of Bon Appétit's Best New Restaurants in America, Congress' David Bull describes the prix-fixe menu as "Natural American" cuisine where he selects the highest-quality seasonal ingredients. Five nights a week the chefs create a three-course menu and a seven-course chef's tasting menu using the freshest, premium ingredients available, with a focus on being as local and sustainable as possible. Each presents a refined interpretation of the very best products available each day. (5128272760)

4 FINO Restaurant, Patio & Bar
FINO Restaurant Patio & Bar is well known to locals as a cozy yet modern eatery where executive chef Jason Donoho crafts a menu of local, seasonal items inspired by the flavors, spices & cuisines of the Mediterranean. Spanish, Greek and North African dishes mingle comfortably on the lunch, dinner & brunch menus in both tapas and large plate sizes, inviting shared dining and satisfying appetites of all sizes. (512-474-2905)

3 Perla's Seafood & Oyster Bar
Perla's Seafood & Oyster Bar was founded in the Spring of 2009 by chefs Lawrence McGuire and Thomas Moorman Jr. with the goal of bringing ultra fresh oysters and premium seafood to bustling South Congress Avenue. Perla's features fish and oysters flown in daily from both coasts with an emphasis on the freshest catch from the Gulf of Mexico and simple, clean preparations. (512-291-7300)

2 Eddie V's Edgewater Grille
Eddie V's has selections from the best of America's seafood treats and they do fine dining right. This Austin seafood restaurant features an award-winning combination of prime steaks and fresh seafood with live music. Co-owners Larry Foles and Guy Villavaso are New Orleans natives who brought their skills with them to make this a popular dining spot in Austin. The Fifth street restaurant is their flagship location and it continues to maintain their gold standard of a great meal. (512-472-1860)

1 Uchi
Uchi is constantly touted as Austin's #1 restaurant and 10Best feels no different. Combining local seasonal ingredients with an infinite spectrum of seafood from around the globe is the basis for Uchi's culinary philosophy. They invite their diners to explore their gastronomic boundaries by pairing traditional Japanese offerings with new and refreshing flavors and textures. Chef Tyson Cole continues to impress with a seasonally updated menu and was also recently crowned "Best Chef in the Southwest" by the James Beard Foundation. (512-916-4808)

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Maps and Directions

Franklin Barbecue 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Barbecue
Neighborhood: East Side
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Regional
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Take Out
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
COST: $$
Paggi House 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American
Parkside 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Counter Seating, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Smoking (outdoor area)
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
COST: $$$
Vespaio 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Pastry Chef, Take Out
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: South Congress Avenue
COST: $$
Congress Restaurant 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Chef's Table, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
COST: $$$$
FINO Restaurant, Patio & Bar 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Counter Seating, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Non-Smoking
Cuisine: European, Mediterranean
Neighborhood: North Austin
COST: $$
Perla's Seafood & Oyster Bar 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Counter Seating, Smoking, Smoking (outdoor area), Take Out
Cuisine: Continental, Seafood
COST: $$$
Eddie V's Edgewater Grille 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Group Friendly, Live Music, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
COST: $$
Uchi 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Japanese, Sushi
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Take Out
Neighborhood: Barton Springs District
COST: $$