Certain restaurants are known for their expertise at turning out signature foods really well. They've pinned down the ingredients, mastered the process, and gained a strong following as a result. Austin has had much success creating a substantial market for Dessert. Locals can't get enough of the city's excellent food, and you'll often find them, along with eager tourists, at popular Mozart's Coffee Roasters or at Sweetish Hill Bakery, a major player in the field. Make sure you see what all the fuss is about!


George Dreyfus and Dominique Dreyfus-Leon, a brother and sister team and French natives, love crepes and love crepes created lovingly in the French tradition. Their cafe, Le Cafe Crepe, serves a variety of crepes. You'll find traditional breakfast crepes filled with eggs, ham, and spinach. Ask for a relaxing cup of coffee to go with it. If you are in for dessert, try the Pomme Cannelle, a luscious combination of sugar, butter, baked apples, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream. Le Cafe Crepe also serves wine to complement your selections. The Eiffel features chicken, provolone cheese, tomatoes, and asparagus making it a perfect meal. Diners can also create their own crepes by requesting specific fillings.

Local Expert tip: The Bacon, Egg and Cheese Crepe has been described as heavenly.

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When you see the moving cows, you know you've found Amy's. This famous Austin creamery specializes in homemade ice cream in a wide variety of flavors and even supplies their wonderful creations to a number of Austin's restaurants. Open until 1am on weekends for that late-night sweet tooth.

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This European-style cafe with its soaring ceilings and brick-clad walls overlooks Lake Austin and features a host of specialty coffees, espressos, gourmet teas, and granitas, not to mention an array of stellar desserts and pastries made in-house. Live music is offered on weekend evenings as well. Be sure to check out the views from the huge, tree-shaded deck.

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This neighborhood bakery is a favorite gathering spot for light breakfast fare of freshly baked croissants, danishes, bagels, and pastries. Soups and sandwiches are available for lunch. Desserts are worthy as well.

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Quack's is something of an Austin landmark and still retains a bit of its original slacker vibe. The space is appealing, thanks to local artwork and an assortment of board games and reading materials that help pass the time. The laid-back place is also ideal for enjoying a quick breakfast pastry or for whiling away an afternoon when you have no particular plans in mind. Brownies and eclairs are some of the best in the city. Other tasty choices include Key lime pie, muffins, and fresh-baked artisan breads.

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Start your day at Russell's with a steaming cup of coffee and a homemade cinnamon roll, danish, muffin, or scone. Or stop by for soup or a sandwich – the Italian Godfather (turkey, ham, salami, provolone, and a splash of Italian dressing) has garnered much local praise. Cookies and cakes are the house specialty, and among the choices are indulgent chocolate truffle cake and moist coconut cake, plus adorable hand-painted cookies and old-fashioned favorites like chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter.

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To start, 1886 Café & Bakery serves great sandwiches and casual American fare, and their grilled cheese panini is second to none. But their desserts – rich, complex concoctions with mood-altering properties – cause folks to swoon. To try: chocolate mousse cake (with bittersweet chocolate-caramel mousse over a layer of moist devil's food cake) and lemon chiffon cake (with layers of blueberry compote and rosemary-scented lemon cream). Even ice cream sundaes are noteworthy: Peanut Butter Fantasia is peanut butter ice cream, caramel, and a peanut butter cookie, while Second Wind adds hot fudge, biscotti, and chocolate espresso beans to cappuccino ice cream.

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Chez Zee was almost instantly loved when it opened in 1989, and its popularity has never waned. Part of the appeal is due to a leafy central courtyard, local art, and live piano music several nights a week. Lunch and dinner consist of casual American dishes, including salads and pastas, and there's a fantastic weekend brunch, too. Even so, many people come just for dessert. Notable choices include signature individual deep-pan apple pies served with caramel sauce, multi-layered chocolate decadence and Italian cream cakes, and a sinful Kahlua-chocolate pie. Well worth the drive from downtown Austin.

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