Whether you’re back in town for the holidays, or just enjoying a bit of time off at home, you’ll find that Austin has some great new restaurants to explore. There are some new spaces from old friends, more than a few stunning showpieces, and a whole lot of great dishes to warm you up before 2017 has a chance to show us what it’s got. You are where you eat, so why not close out 2016 in style?
Because it turns out that a Mexican restaurant from the team behind Jacoby’s is exactly what Austin needed. Especially when it’s this pretty… and serves margaritas this tasty. // East Side. Book now at Grizzelda’s.
Because it’s gorgeous, grown-up, and has a lively bar with a bopping nightlife. Start in the restaurant with steaks and cocktails, then move to the historic Cedar Tavern or rooftop bar to toast the evening. // South Lamar. (512) 916-9000.
Because this spot is the neighborhood Chinese restaurant the East Side needed, with Uchi/ko alums in the kitchen. Great for late night cravings, Old Thousand is at its best when it’s dressing-up classics like honey prawns, potstickers, and dan dan noodles. // East Side. Walk-ins only.
Because Austin really, truly can’t get enough barbecue. EastSide Tavern serves the classics (brisket, sausage, ribs), as well as its own concoctions (barbecue-smothered tater tots, anyone?). The giant patio and rooftop bar don’t hurt either. // East Side. Walk-ins only.
5/Thai Kun Rock Rose
Because it’s fresh off a thumbs-up review from the Statesman, and it continues to serve some of the best—and spiciest—Thai in town. Yes, it’s in the middle of a mall, but hey– your need for shopping-fuel will be a good excuse to indulge, right? // The Domain. Walk-ins only.
6/June’s All Day
Because there isn’t a more pleasant spot in town to have a mid-afternoon burger and glass of wine. Austin’s not known as a wine town, but that could change if owner/master sommelier June Rodil has anything to say about it. // South Congress. (512) 416-1722
7/Hudson’s on the Bend
Because this iconic fine dining restaurant got a makeover and a new lease on life from new owners, Austin restaurant alums Billy Caruso and Chris McFall. These guys bring the restaurant’s famed focus on game meats into the 21st century, and add a killer new wine list courtesy of the sommelier, McFall. // Lake Travis. (512) 266-1369.
Because thanks to new chef Julio-Cesar Florez, Isla’s got a whole new Peruvian menu. Think killer ceviche made-to-order, grilled anticucho skewers, and all the pisco sours you can handle. // Warehouse District. Book now at Isla.
9/Fresa’s South First
Because the original drive-through location is great and all, but Fresa’s came into its own when it opened this stunning restaurant with a huge patio. Go for the classic chicken dinners, or snack your way through tacos and vegetable sides. Either way, save room for ice cream. // South First. Walk-ins only.
Because the holidays mean one of Austin’s best patios gets a wintertime huîtres makeover. Four words: oysters, bubbles, more oysters. // East Side. Walk-ins only.
Bonus/Ah Sing Den
Because if you haven’t checked out this Asian-inspired makeover of the East Side Showroom space, you’re in for a treat. Snack on dishes like pork ribs, bao, and dumplings while sampling drinks like the Guyanese Sour or the Ah Sing Toddy. // East Sixth. Book now at Ah Sing Den.