Notes on

Austin Restaurants

 

 

Brief reviews

 

 

 

Austin restaurants we have been to in the last year or two.

The ratings use the same scale as we use for wines.  The price indicators are pretty much the same as you'll find in most magazines, from $ = cheap, two for lunch less than $20, all inclusive, up to $$$$ = consult your banker before entering.  

It is rumored that Austin has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S.  Well, that's hard to believe after being in New York, but, well, New York has ten times as many capitae, but may not quite have ten times as many restaurants.  

name rating price comments
Abuelo's 7 $$ Pretty good Mex, but Chuy's has nothing to worry about.  
Alamo Cafe (San Antonio) 8 $ Worth the drive to San Antonio.  Inexpensive, very good, and, consequently, crowded.  Absolutely outstanding fresh flour tortillas with the chips and salsa.  Try the bbq brisket quesadilla as an appetizer.  
Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas 7 $ The food's pretty good, but the movies are great!  Can't beat watching new or old movies with beer and pizza.  Burgers good, fries great, pizza okay, Buffalo chicken salad wonderful.  
Al Capone's 4 $ Cheap red Italian lunches.  Not interesting.  
Alligator Grill (died) 6 $$ Very good, unusual seafood and pasta dishes.
Antonio's Mexican 7 $$ Good to very good.  Better than most of the other places around.  Second  or third to Chuy's but that's still ahead of the rest.  
Artz Ribs 8 $$ Wonderful.  Killer ribs of several varieties.  Always voted best ribs in Austin, and for good reason.  Little place, music evenings. 
El Arroyo 5 $$ Okay Mexican for lunch.  
Austin Land and Cattle Company 8 $$$$ Very good steakhouse, but expensive and long waits.  Not to be confused with the Texas Land & Cattle Co.  
Austin Pizza Garden 5 $ Great building (old courthouse) but ordinary pizza.  Crust and sauce okay, undistinguished.  
Azul Tequila (Round Rock) (died) 6 $ Good for lunch.  Unusual menu, e.g., six types of chili rellenos.  Avoid the tortilla soup.  
Baby Acapulco 5 $ Very indifferent Mex.  Big local chain, though. The purple marg is all alcohol and no flavor.  
The Bagelry (died) 3 $ Pass on this one.  Tough and bland.  Dead now, I think.
Bahama Breeze (died) 7 $$ Very good food, mainly Caribbean seafood and chicken.  Large portions = leftovers.  But the noise level at dinner is painful; lunch is quieter.  
Bangkok Cuisine 5 $$ Competent pad thai, other dishes okay.  They don't really understand peanut sauce, though.  Needs more research.  
Banzai Sushi 7 $ Very cost-effective, student place.  Nigiri good, except tamago is substandard.  
B B Rovers 6 $ Good weekend breakfasts.  Haven't tried the burgers yet.  
Bear Rock Cafe 7 $$ Chain, but very good salads and sandwiches.  
Bellagio 8 $$$ Terrific Italian restaurant, innovative dishes.  Patio with heaters and umbrellas.  Hidden in an unassuming shopping center in the Jester area. 
Benny's Bagels (died) 8 $ Best of the local bagel places.  Soft bagels in the modern style, not jaw-rigor-mortis-chewy, and very flavorful.  Chain of some sort, but a good one.  
Bill Miller's BBQ 5 $ Weak.  Large local chain.  Acceptable meats, brisket okay, but boring sides.  
Boatyard Grill 6 $ Indoor/outdoor, next to Hula Hut, also owned by Chuy's.  Burgers, sandwiches, salads.  
Boiling Pot (died) 7 $$ Boiled crab, shrimp, crawfish, and, for the non-seafood-faring, sausage.  Rip 'em apart with your fingers, up to your elbows in shells and heads, yum.  
Brick Oven 6 $$ Interesting pizzas, some good pasta dishes.
Broken Spoke 6 $ One doesn't really go here for the food, but the bbq is pretty good.  This is mainly a music venue with a stage in the back room and table seating for several hundred.  
Brooklyn Pie Co. 7 $$ Huge NY-style slices, by the slice, or whole pies.  Toppings include a couple sausages and Italian meatball, which is dandy.  
Bubba's Ice House
(Cedar Park)
5 $$ Good burgers, chicken fried steak, other Texas fare. 
Buca di Beppo 7 $$ Family-style Italian: giant dishes serve two or more.  Very good, red and white.  Don't go with fewer than four people.  
Buffet Palace 7 $ Better than it used to be, recently improved.  Wide variety of Chinese and Japanese dishes, including all-you-can-stand sushi, some of which is quite good.  
Cafe Josie 7 $$$ Excellent food and wine list.  Varied southwestern and other dishes.  Very small; plan ahead.  
Cafe Mia 7 $ Great sandwich and pasta place.  Pick ingredients from many choices.  Try the gyro or the meatloaf.   
Canyon Cafe (died) 7 $$ Very good southwestern spin on Mexican.  Unusual and tasty.   
Johnny Carino's Country Italian 8 $$ Very good Italian, usual and unusual meat and pasta dishes.  Must have the pepperoni bread.  Try the chicken pasta with gorgonzola sauce, killer.  
Carrabba's Italian Grill 7 $$ Good, innovative Italian, and the crowds to prove it.  Several in Austin.  Romano cheese instead of Parmesan in all the recipes for some reason. 
Catfish Parlour 5 $ Fried fish, shrimp, cheese, taters, and salad bar.  Cheap, homey, a cholesterol-rich environment. 
Central Market Cafe 7 $$ Very good sandwiches, soups, salads.  Terrace for good weather.  The parking is murder, but it's worth it.  
Chango's 7 $ Handmade Mexican semi-fast food.  Very good.
El Chico 6 $ Round Rock.  Pretty good Tex-Mex, very good for a chain.  
China Cafe 6 $$ Better than average, and good for take-out.  
China One
(Round Rock)
3 $ Chinese and other buffet.  Didn't like it.  
China Star Buffet 5 $$ Large buffet but not as good as advertised.  Said to be by far the best.  Nope. 
Chinatown 6 $$ One dish good, one bland.  Try again.  
Chipotle 6 $ Good sandwich place.  Well, burrito-style roll-ups, not sandwiches, and limited selection, but good.
Chuy's 9 $ Best Mexican in town. Several locations, all crowded because they're great.  The "chili festival" dishes are killer.  And the Elvis special chicken!  
CiCi's Pizza 6 $ Chain pizza buffet.  Mainly for the kiddies, but even my local pizza snob likes it.  
Clay Pit 5 $$$ Good Indian, some unusual dishes, sauces very rich. (Too rich for me.)  
Conan's Pizza 5 $ Pretty bland.
Cool River Cafe 6 $$$$ Mucho expensive.  And a good wine list at monstrous prices.  Nice food and good service, but not for this kid.  
The County Line 6 $$ Famous BBQ chain from Houston, not as wonderful as its PR, overrated.
Cozzoli's Pizza 8 $ Great pizza!  Maybe second to Homeslice, but not by much.  Good crust, sauce, cheese, great crumbled sausage.  
Curra's Grill 6 $$ Varied and unusual Mexican menu.  Try the differently-spiced seafood and meat dishes.  Avoid the chorizo (greasy).  
D & J's BBQ (died) 6 $ Tiny little sandwich and take-out place on Burnet, back by the farmer's market and Dog Almighty.  Good bbq brisket, very cost-effective.   
Dave & Buster's 3 $$ Go for the video games, car racing, motorcycles, skee ball, and such, but not for the food.   
Din Ho Chinese Bar-b-q 6 $$ So authentic that it's hard to find someone who speaks English to translate the menu.  Very tasty food, though, whatever it was.   
Dog Almighty 6 $ Good local hot dog and fixin's place.  
Double Dave's Pizza 7 $ Outstanding crust.  Weak tomato sauce and cheese.  But try again.  Take it home, sprinkle oregano on it, and re-bake it.  
El Gringo 6 $$ Unusual dishes, not just average enchiladas.
Emperor Garden 5 $$ Good sushi but not great. 
European Bistro (aka Hungarian Bistro) 6 $$ Budapest comes to Pflugerville.  Mixed reviews: some food very good, some just okay.  Good atmosphere.  Service weak.   
EZ's 5 $ Diner across from Central Market, popular.  Salads mediocre.  Burgers rumored to be good, but haven't had yet.  
Fazoli's 5 $ Bland Italian fast food.  Several locally.  
La Feria 5 $ Mediocre Mex.  Just not much distinctive flavor.  The neon rates a 7, the food 5, the mariachis 4.
Filling Station 6 $ Very good burger-and-fries place.  Crowded but lots of parking in back.  
Fire Bowl Cafe 6 $ Quick stir-fry dishes for lunchor dinner, pretty good.  Order then sit.  
Fish Daddy 7 $ Surprisingly good for a chain.  Reasonable selection of fish done various ways.  
Flores Mexican 4 $$ Mediocre, bland.  Don't go back.  
Flying Tomato Pizza 7 $ Not the best but very good, and variety.  Lunch buffet, too, as many places do.  
Fran's Hamburgers 5 $ Good burgers and fries, but not the best, as was rumored.  Smile as the grease drips down your elbows and your arteries harden. 
Freda's Seafood 8 $$ Varied and very good seafood dishes, many with a Cajun flavor, not just plain fish.  Also does Sunday buffet brunch, very nice.  
Fredericksburg Brewing Company 7 $$ In Fredericksburg, this is the place to go.  Crowded, lines, but very good comfort food.  You can wait in the bar at the back and choose from several beers from their brewery.  
Freebird's World Burrito 7 $ Design your own from a large variety of ingredients, then make figures out of the aluminum foil afterwards.  Much more varied and better than Chipotle.  
Fresh Choice 6 $ Salad and soup cafeteria with lots of other dishes as well.  Much better than its competition. 
Fujiyama 5 $ Well-made sushi, but bland, no flavor in the fish or the rice.  
Gattiland 5 $ Another pizza buffet for the kiddies.  Acceptable if that's what you want.  
Gino's (Round Rock) 7 $ Good plain red Italian.  Very good, cheap lunches.  Pizza sometimes terrific, sometimes okay.  
Golden Wok 6 $$ Dim sum or Chinese off the menu.  Unusual flavors in the sauces, not bad but not great.  
Green Mesquite BBQ 6 $ Better than average, but not great by Texas standards.  Okay brisket, good sausage.  
Guero's 5 $$ Good and unusual Mexican on South Congress.  Clinton liked it.  
Gumbo's 9 $$$ Wonderful Cajun dishes.  And crowded because of it.  Go early to get a table.  Sunday brunch buffet now, too, but downtown only.  Killer.  News: sorry, no Sunday buffet downtown.
Habana 8 $$ Great Cuban in south Austin.  Crowded, noisy, family place with real food.  
Hangtown Grill 6 $ Okay sandwiches.  
Hao-Hao (Round Rock) 5 $ Okay but undistinguished Vietnamese noodles and soups.  
Heavenly Dog 7 $ Great hot dogs, variety of trimmings.  Tiny place.
Hill Country Pasta House
(620 S of 183)
6 $$ Good Italian out in the 'burbs. Pray that you don't get the moron waiter we got last time.
Hole in the Wall 7 $ Great hamburger joint.  The homemade kettle-fried chips are outstanding.  Thirteen beers on tap.  
Homeslice Pizza 9 $ Great pizzeria, but the slice or by the pie.  The best we have found in Austin.  Terrific crust, sauce, cheese, very NY-style.  
Hoover's Cooking 6 $$ Good, basic eats, like Threadgill's with a little more spice.  The chicken-fried steak is similarly overrated.  
Houston's 6 $$$ Pretty good standard American dishes, but not as good as reputed to be.  
Hudson's on the Bend 6 $$$$ Very famous game restaurant.  Overrated.  
Hula Hut 6 $$ Mexican (owned by Chuy's) on the lake, crowded, noisy.  Patio in good weather.  Not up to Chuy's standards.  
Hunan Lion 7 $$ Very good Chinese, very flavorful.  Lunches and  Sunday brunch buffet.
Hut's Hamburgers 8 $ An Austin institution.  Great greaseburgers, great fries, onion rings you can use as bracelets.
Hwa Yuan 5 $ Chinese buffet, well down the list in this town.  
Hyde Park Grill 8 $$ Great burgers, tuna steak sandwiches, good salads.  In the running for the best fries in Austin.  An institution.  
Ichiban Sushi 7 $$ Good sushi, above average.  I noted that some of the fish was pre-sliced, for speed I assume.  And, yes, the service was fast.  
Iguana Grill 5 $$ On Lake Travis.  Fun, pretty good margaritas.  Food not wonderful.  The Oasis has a much better view.
Iron Cactus 8 $$$ Excellent Southwestern restaurant. One of our favorites.  Fun bar, too.  Sixth Street and Arboretum.  Free valet parking at Arboretum / Gateway site.  Now does a Sunday brunch, too, roll-your-own omelets and fajitas.  
Iron Works Barbecue 7 $$ Good bbq downtown.  Have to go again to try more things. 
Japon Sushi 5 $$ Not thrilled, though some patrons were.  
Jazz 6 $$ Cajun on Sixth St.  Gumbo and creole good; blackened fish not very blackened.  Try again.  
Jim's Family Restaurant 3 $ Pretty terrible.  Avoid.  
Ka-Prow 7 $$ Good sushi and Thai.  Some unusual menu items.  
Katz's Deli 6 $$ "Katz's Never Kloses."  24 hour breakfast and deli.  Good, not great.  Hardly the Carnegie Deli. Manny Hattan's is better (but not at midnight).  
K-Bob's Steakhouse 4 $$ Good plain food, but a little too plain.  The much-touted chicken fried steak is maybe a little better than average.  Many desserts on the salad bar, if that's what you're looking for.
Kerbey Lane Cafe 6 $ Okay local joint.  Very popular for breakfast and lunch items. Killer pancakes for breakfast and some good salads and burgers.  
Kim Phung 7 $$ THE noodle restaurant in this town.  Several kinds of noodles with lots of toppings.  The non-noodle dishes are pretty weak, though.  
Kitchen Door 6 $ Good sandwiches and soups.  Limited selection at Far West Blvd location, which is tiny.
Kobe Steak House 7 $$$ Very good Japanese hibachi-style (think Benihana).  New sushi bar, too, that we haven't tried yet.  
Korea Garden Sushi 5 $$ Okay, perfectly acceptable, undistinguished.
Korea House 6 $ Sushi only medium, but tamago was good.  Popular, even crowded.  Big portions, but bland (for bulkogi).  Have to try again, since a lot of people seem to like it.  
Koreana 4 $$$ Okay Korean, not great.  Haven't tried the sushi. 
Kyoto II 7 $$ Good sushi and Japanese dishes.  Well above average.
Landry's Seafood House (died) 5 $$$ Good but not great.  Overrated.
Little Saigon (died) 4 $ Vietnamese and Chinese.  Some good, some not so good, overall not wonderful.  Might give it a second try.
Logan's Road House 5 $ Okay burgers and such, but very, very salty.  Killer rolls the only redeeming item I could find.  
Lone Star Cafe 5 $ Good burgers and other family fare. Big local chain.  
Louisiana Longhorn Cafe (Round Rock) 7 $$ Very tasty Cajun po-boys, etouffee, dirty rice.  Outstanding boudins (Cajun sausage).  
Luby's 5 $ Local cafeteria chain.  Weak but not dangerous.  
Lucky Dog 8 $ Chicago comes to Austin: spicy sausage sandwiches, several kinds, and steak sandwiches.  Great place for lunch.  
Macaroni Grill (Romano's) 7 $$ Chain of Italian grills.  Okay, and recently improved. Better if you're picky about what you have.  
La Madeleine 7 $$ Chain of very good French cafeterias and bakeries.  Real butter, real quiche, great soups and breads. 
Magnolia 7 $$ A little of everything, and all of it great.  Little diner with little parking lot and big fan club. 
Maiko 7 $$ Good sushi and sashimi, some unusual roll combinations.  Trendy and crowded.  
Malaga Tapas & Bar 8 $$ Excellent.  Wide variety of tapas dishes of seafood, veggies, meats, cheeses, sauces.  Stay for a couple hours having one of these, one of those.  Good wine selection, too.  
Mama Fu's  7 $ Order then sit, unusual selection of Chinese dishes, some very good.  
Mandola's 8 $$$ Great new Italian bistro owned by famous chef.  Dining inside in dining room, inside in the store area, or outside.  Order then go find a table.  
Mangia Chicago Stuffed Pizza 6 $$ Pizza, upside-down Chicago style, they say.  In any case, good toppings and sauce. The wheat crust is too dry, though.   
Manny Hattan's 9 $$ Great deli!  Not the Carnegie, but then nothing else is.  Outstanding meats, sandwiches.  Beware the greasy (but tasty) onion rings.  
Manuel's 6 $$$ Good Mexican.  Inconsistent.  Sometimes very good.  
La Margarita 6 $$ Good Mexican, not great or unusual.  
Matt's El Rancho 6 $$ Very good Mexican.  A local institution in south Austin.  
Maudie's Cafe 6 $$ Good Tex-Mex.  Small, crowded.  Queso rumored to be the best in town.  
McCormick & Schmick 7 $$ In the Frost Bank building.  Great bar food happy hours and weekends, cheap with the drinks.  Calamari and burgers to start.
El Mercado 4 $$ Good but not great.  Overrated. 
Mesa Hills Cafe 5 $$ Okay salads, undistinguished.  But a large menu that requires more sampling.  
Mesa Ranch 7 $$ Dandy country place with steaks and lots of other things on the menu.  Go back and try some more.  
Mesa Rosa 8 $ Good local Mexican neighborhood place, and inexpensive and fast, and loud and crowded and fun.  Some unusual dishes, too.  Best restaurant neon in town at the new 620 location.  
Mesquite Grill BBQ 6 $ Good to very good, esp. sausage, but not up to Rudy's.  
Mezzaluna (died) (twice) 5 $$$ Unusual Italian, spotty quality.  Tried several times.  
Midori Sushi 7 $$ Very good sushi and a moderate Japanese menu, too.  Change of management, 100% staff turnover.  Not sure if quality will be up to par for a while.  Slow.   
Mom's Cafe (Round Rock) 6 $ Pretty good burgers and sandwiches for lunch.  
Mongolian Grill 7 $ Standard Mongolian-type grill, many choices of ingredients and make-your-own sauces.  Very tasty, good, economical.  
Montana Mike's 6 $$ Family-style steak house, pretty good steak and mashed.  
Moonshine 7 $$ Really nice restaurant in old downtown building.  Steaks, fish, pork, all with great coatings and sauces, unusual salad combos.  
Ms. B's 7 $$ Heart-stopping (rich, not spicy) Cajun.  Bisque and etouffee sauce start with a stick of butter.  Flavors to die for.  
Musashino 9 $$$ Best sushi in town, great.  Said by many travelers to be as good as Tokyo.  Three or four chefs, so fast service.  Open dinner only, 5:30-10:30, no Mondays.
New China Buffet 6 $$ Good Chinese dinner buffet.  Many dishes, varied, very good.  Better than Buffet Palace, in my opinion.  Glad it's in my neighborhood. 
Ninfa's Mexican 7 $$ Really good.  The best frijoles we've ever had.  But the chain (from Houston) just changed hands, we hear.  
Noodleism 7 $$ Very good various noodles with oriental things on top.  Very modern interior place down on 5th Street.  
North & South China 8 $$ Excellent Chinese buffet, the best we've found in this area so far.  The dishes on the large buffet all taste distinctly different, and mostly wonderful.  
North by Northwest  6 $$ Variety of American and Continental fare, pretty good but not exceptional.  
The Oasis 6 $$ Terrific view overlooking Lake Travis, a big tourist attraction.  Food better than expected.  The Chili Relleno is the best I've had in Austin, but not always available. 
Oishi Sushi House (died) (twice)  :-( n/a n/a Thai and sushi buffet.  The sushi slices may be a bit thin, but you can always get more.  Take a big group for a fun lunch.  
Died recently but was reborn as a similar Thai restaurant and sushi bar.
Died again, reborn as mediocre Chinese buffet.
Old Alligator Grill, The 8 $$ Very good Cajun in very informal old wood bar atmosphere. Try blackened fish covered with etoufee and dirty rice on the side, yum.  Part of the movie Office Space was shot in here.  
The Omelettry 6 $ Popular and inexpensive neighborhood place for breakfast and lunch.  Pretty good.  
Origami 4 $$ Sushi barely acceptable. 
Osaka 7 $$ Good sushi, good Japanese dishes, but limited selection.  Very nice neighborhood Japanese place.  
Pacific Star Seafood 7 $ Good broiled and fried fish.  A little heavy on the butter, but that may be a forgivable sin.  
Pappadeaux Seafood 6 $$ Cajun seafood chain from Houston, owned by the same family as Pappasito's Mexican.  Extremely crowded at any time, bring a book to wait. 
Pappasito's 7 $$ Local chain from Houston.  Haven't actually been to this one, but the ones in Houston are very good Tex-Mex.
Pavarotti Italian (died) 3 $$ A real disappointment.  Three dishes with very different descriptions all had the same sauce: bland, bland, and bland.  Could it have been the chef's night off on a Saturday?
Peony 7 $$$ Very good Chinese, great variety as well as traditional dishes.  
P. F. Chang's China Bistro 6 $$$ Very good, very unusual Chinese food.  Extremely crowded, too.  Free valet parking.  (Chain from San Diego.)
Pho Kim 6 $ Vietnamese soup and noodle bowl place, good for lunch, and popular.  
Pizza Nizza 4 $$ Unusual, very crispy crust and very little cheese.  Mediocre.  
Pok-e-Jo's Smoke house 3 $$ The weakest of the local chains.  Most of the time the meats are dry and flavorless.
Polvo's 4 $ Much advertising, but the day I had their lunch buffet it was all the same, and not very interesting.
Pyramids 7 $$ Good  Greek.  Some traditional dishes absent from the menu, but some very tasty unusual dishes added.  
Quality Seafood 6 $ Good fish dinners and sandwiches.  Also, the only serious fish market in town.
Razoo's 5 $$ New Cajun place from Dallas.  Good for the kiddies, or for adults whose arteries can withstand fried everything.  Good blackened fish, though.  
Reale's 8 $ Very good red Italian and pizzas.  Neighborhood place, not much known, but crowded anyway.
Red Brick Pizza 4 $ Pizza lite.  Insubstantial crusts and strange flavors at that.  
Red, Hot & Blue (died) 6 $ Various forms of bbq, Memphis style, good so far.  Actually has good pulled pork.  Chain, I'm told.  
El Rey Mexican Food 4 $$ Had the signature dish, nothing special.  Good but not great.  Rumored to be Sonoran rather than Tex-Mex.  Overrated. 
Rockfish (died) 7 $$ Good to very good fish, unusual preparations, sauces.  Terrif for lunch.  
Rockin' Tomato Pizza 7 $ Good pizza, salad, soup buffet.  The soups are surprisingly good.  The cheesesteak and pepperoni stromboli are absolutely killer.  
Romeo's 9 $$ Wonderful Italian restaurant.  The one on Barton Springs Road has a lovely outdoor patio for temperate lunches and dinners. 
Roppolo's Pizza 8 $ Probably the best in the area.  Good crust, good toppings, not too runny.  Dandy.  
Rosie's Tamale House 4 $ Very different Mexican, not great, but very inexpensive, family place.
Round Rock BBQ 5 $ Until recently, the only place in the area with decent pulled pork.  Little hole in the wall.  
Rudy's BBQ 8 $ The best bbq in the area, we think.  (Except for ribs; go to Artz.)  Plastic trays and butcher paper.  Moist brisket is killer; lean brisket and smoked turkey breast are wonderful.  Several kinds of ribs.  At least three sites in Austin.
Saltgrass Steakhouse (Round Rock) 7 $$ Surprisingly decent for a chain steakhouse.  Good steaks and salads.  Also retail sales of steaks. 
Salvation Pizza 5 $ Acceptable but undistinguished.    
Sambet's Cajun Deli 7 $ Wonderful soups and sandwiches.  However, the place doesn't really feel clean, so you may wish to get your food to go.  
Sarovar 7 $$ Very good northern Indian.  Excellent dishes with sauces and breads.  Okay rice.  Sweet mango chutney, homemade, was weak.  
Satay 6 $$ Good Thai, especially take-out.  Classic pad thai, satay, chicken-basil dishes.  Popular.
Seranno's Cafe 4 $$ Mediocre Mexican food plus higher prices add up to no return trip. 
Shady Grove 6 $ Good outdoor place on Barton Spring.   Queso, burgers, salads, fun.  
Shanghai River 4 $ Weak buffet, bland, some greasy.  Too bad.  Would be nice to have another good choice right next to Alamo Drafthouse North.  
Shilla Sushi 7 $$ The only Korean BBQ place we've found in Austin
Shoal Creek Saloon 7 $ Very good Cajun food and burgers in rowdy, fun bar atmosphere.  
Sirloin Stockade 6 $ Better than average chain of American dinner buffet places. Better than Golden Corral, fersherr.   
Son Thai 7 $ Vietnamese noodle bowls and rice plates.  Very tasty chicken and pork, spring rolls.  And fruit smoothies with pearls.  
South Congress Cafe 8 $$ Terrific, imaginative Southwestern, in comfortable modern surroundings.  Wonderful flavors and combinations.  
Star of India 4 $ Barely passable Indian.  A lot of Indians won't go there.  Lunch/dinner buffet.
Stone House Grill 3 $$ Not good.  Maybe we just had the wrong dishes, but really didn't like it.  
Stubb's 6 $$ Good bbq, but not the best.  The Sunday morning gospel buffet is fun if you get a good band.  
Sushi Sake 5 $$$ Good sushi but not great.  The best sticky sushi rice I have ever tasted, but other elements bland. 
Suzi's China Grill 8 $$ Very good Chinese, unusual and unique dishes.  Good atmosphere, popular.  
Taj Palace 7 $$ Very good Indian.  Great curries and bread.  Tried this again several times, not quite up to the first experience.  Not quite Gaylord's of Palo Alto, but then what is.  
T&S Seafood 8 $$ Really, really good for weekend dim sum.  Some westernized, some authentic.  Crowded, so go early.  
Taqueria Arandas 6 $ (The one on Burnet Rd.)  Popular, ultra-cheap, lots of food, and pretty good.  The pork is especially tasty.  
Tea House 7 $ Brand new, Vietnamese and Chinese.  Good noodle bowls (bun).  Now does dim sum Sundays, very good.  
Texadelphia 3 $ Sort of a steak sandwich, but the city of Philadelphia should sue for misuse of the name. 
Texas French Bread Co. 3 $ Disappointingly bland.  The French should sue.  
Texas Grill
(Bastrop)
7 $ Out of the area, but deserves a mention for their absolutely outstanding chicken fried steak. 
Texas Land and Cattle Co. 7 $$ Not great but pretty durn good.  At least three locations in Austin.  Crowded, long waits.  The "signature smoked sirloin," the chipotle chicken, and the salads are good to very good.  Tends to be salty, but not so bad as Outback.
Thai Spice 7 $ Dandy lunch buffet, very tasty and varied.  In the little shopping center next to Fry's.
Just took over the late Oishi Sushi House, now sushi buffet plus limited Thai menu; still pretty good.  
34th Street Cafe 7 $$$ Very tasty food, trendy city atmosphere.  Just off Lamar.  
Threadgill's 6 $$ Another local institution.  Good, plain food, comfort food. Sorry to report that the chicken fried steak is way overrated, mediocre.  Claim to fame: Janis Joplin got her start here.  
Tien Hong 7 $$ Dim sum weekends.  Good, but the food is just not as good as T&S.  Better atmosphere, tablecloths and all, and.
TinTinNio (died) 8 $$$ Outstanding new, imaginative Italian restaurant.  Wonderful combination dishes, and very attentive.  
Tokyo Steak House 7 $$ Sushi and Japanese grilled dishes.  Sushi definitely above average.  
Tree House 6 $$$ Good Italian.  Nice atmosphere, experience.  Local landmark with giant tree.  
Tres Amigos 6 $$ Good but not great.  Very cheesy.  
Trudy's Mexican 7 $ Another local institution.  Good Tex-Mex, imaginative, tasty.  One location has a breakfast buffet on weekends that is very good.  
Tuscany Market 4 $$$ Very overpriced, typical $40-and-still-nothing-for-dinner kind of place, price per serving way out of line.  And boring pizza.  
Twin Dragon 6 $$ Good dim sum, wide selection.  Maybe even a little too authentic, with duck feet and tripe soup.  
Ultimate Cheesecake 5 $$ Cheesecakes of various types to go; also delivery.  Not bad but not nearly so good as the owner says it is.  
Umi Sushi 8 $$ Great sushi, decor, moderate prices.  Too bad it's so far south, hard to get to from our neighborhood.  
Verandah 6 $$ Good burgers and salads.  Huge menu with amazing variety.  But too nice for its location in a downscale shopping center.  
Vespaio 7 $$$ Famous, popular, expensive Italian cuisine, dinner only.  
Walburg Biergarten 7 $$ Real sauerbraten and wienerscnhitzel, and imported German beer bottled and on tap.  
Waterloo Ice House (Round Rock) 3 $ Big menu but blah.  And appallingly bad service.  
West Lynn Cafe 7 $$ Vegetarian, very good, variety of complex dishes.  
WhichWich 7 $ Outstanding design-your-own sandwich place, crowded at lunch because it's really good.  
Yaghi's New York Pizza 7 $$ Very good pizza, great crust, yes New York style.  However, weak tomato sauce, needs doctoring with oregano.  
Zax 6 $$ Interesting fare, varied and unusual menu, well done.
Zen 7 $ Japanese fast food, believe it or not.  Rice dishes covered with spicy chicken and other goodies.  Very tasty, fast, nice people.  
Zio's 4 $ New Italian chain that just opened.  First try was indifferent.
Zorba's (Round Rock) 6 $ Decent Greek for lunch.  Gyro plate with meat, bread, soup or salad, couple sides.   
Z Tejas 9 $$$ Excellent Southwestern fare, one of our favorite places.  On Sixth Street and at the Arboretum, where they even have a deck with a view of Great Hills. 
Comments and flames to the author. "Why use rational argument when there's a flame-thrower handy?"  Hey, go ahead. I didn't exactly leave the gloves on when I wrote this.  webmaster@ricksoft.com

All contents copyright 1995-2003, Richard Landau. All rights reserved.
Revised: 2005/07/09.