Photo courtesy of Eldorado Cafe

The Hit ListAustin

The Resy Hit List: Where In Austin You’ll Want to Eat Right Now

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There’s no question we hear more often: Where should I go eat? And while we at Resy know it’s an honor to be the friend who everyone asks for restaurant advice, we also know it’s a complicated task. That’s where the Resy Hit List comes in.

We’ve designed it to be your essential resource for dining in and around Austin: a monthly-updated guide to the restaurants in that you won’t want to miss — tonight or any night. 

Four Things In Austin Not to Miss This Month

  • Celebrate Mom the Right Way: If you’re planning a Mother’s Day celebration for a mom in your life, go beyond subpar breakfast in bed and take her to the kind of spot that she deserves. Top options include Este, Dai Due, and Lenoir. If all are booked, be sure to set Notifies — or browse further into the roster.
  • Notable Newcomers: If you’re looking for somewhere new to try on Resy, East Austin is getting a new, self-proclaimed “weirdo-Italian” spot with Casa Bianca and a rooftop bar called Bar Alcina to check out. And after almost two years closed, Parkside is newly renovated and now available to be booked on Resy. See more below, and check out New On Resy for the latest.
  • Baller Bites: Although UT sports are done for the year, we still have the Austin FC season to enjoy. If you’re looking to grab a bite before the games this month, try Celis Brewery or AKB and Mia Italian Tapas & Bar at the Domain. Be sure to make a Resy so you don’t get stuck with stadium food.
  • Best of the Fests: Closing out the month, Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck food festival is back, with a megalist of chefs participating like Fermin Nuñez of Suerte and Este, Colter Peck of Elementary, and Shane Stark of Mongers in Austin, as well as chefs from outside Austin from Resy spots like Eventide Oyster (Portland, ME), Dakar NOLA (New Orleans), and The Grey (Savannah).

New to the Hit List (May 2024)
Bar Toti, Con Todo, Dai Due, Parkside.

1. Bar Toti Cherrywood

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Photo courtesy of Bar Toti

Your first interaction with Bar Toti was probably grabbing a drink there while waiting for a table at sister restaurant Este. But Toti is worth a visit on its own merits. A select few indoor tables, a communal table, and some outdoor spots under twinkling lights make it an intimate spot for a date or catch-up with a good friend. Everything on the small menu delivers. They’re most known for the smashburgesa and Basque cheesecake, but we’ve also loved the tortilla de patata with serrano ham, shrimp al ajillo, and the focaccia with whipped butter. And they still find room to make great cocktails too like the not-sweet-at-all Palmoita with Tequila, vermouth, and Campari; and the Espresso Milano. Since space is limited, be sure to make a Resy in advance.

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Photo courtesy of Bar Toti

2. Birdie’s East Side

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For date night, Birdie’s has established itself recently as the go-to spot — whether you’re crossing town or flying in, given the national attention heaped on owners Tracy Malechek and Arjav Ezekiel. Their menu is slim but thoughtful and changes regularly. The roasted sweet potato with crispy shallots and beef tartare are favorites, and don’t miss the pastas, or the ever-changing large plates of fish and meat. (Snapper with lemon potatoes was a recent satisfying option.) Since quantities are limited and you order at the counter, come early to be sure you don’t have to wait long, or miss out on any star items. But if you hit a long line, enjoy a glass of wine while you wait, and debate what you’re going to order. It’s the Birdie’s way.

Find more info here.

3. Zoé Tong Zilker

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Taking over the old Austin Eastciders location, this modern Chinese restaurant hails from New Yorkers chef Simone Tong (Little Tong Noodle Shop) and Matthew Hyland (Emmy Squared and Emily). With such a big menu, we recommend making a Resy for a crew so you can try items like sticky ribs, Chinese broccoli, scallion puff rolls, and black cod with miso hoisin. Tong is known for her noodles, so be sure to order the specimens with stir-fried lamb or cold sesame. Cocktails like the lychee slushy or green tea mojito match the menu vibes. Throw in a dog-friendly patio and free valet parking, and you have the perfect Austin mix.

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4. Fonda San Miguel North Austin

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For almost 50 years, Fonda San Miguel has been serving authentic Mexican food, and only gotten better with age. We love hanging out in the bar area for calamari or queso fundido appetizers and the El Rey cocktail (reposado Tequila, whiskey, and mole bitters) or a margarita.

The dining room experience remains as welcoming and warm as our first visit. The cochinita pibil is among Fonda’s most famous dishes, but we also love the carne asada or any of the vegetarian tostadas. Close out your meal with the tres leches or flan and a cafe de olla made with cinnamon, brown sugar, and clove, and remember how deep Austin’s legacy of Mexican cooking runs.

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5. Kemuri Tatsu-ya Holly

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Photo courtesy of Kemuri Tatsu-ya

Fans of Ramen Tatsu-ya will want to make a beeline for the team’s latest expansion, uriuri Tatsu-ya. Here, the menu blends Japanese and Texas influences with items like taiyaki cornbread, tebasaki wings, and “guaca-poke” with tuna, wasabi, and guacamole. Bright tiki-style cocktails add to the fun ambiance. But don’t let the playful menu fool you into thinking the Tastu-ya team isn’t serious; this is a formula they know how to finesse perfectly. The BBQ tsukemen brisket ramen and pork ribs are full of flavor. You’ll want to make a Resy, to ensure you can settle right into a table and spend your time poring over the menu with your crew.

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Photo courtesy of Kemuri Tatsu-ya

6. La Barbecue East Austin

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Everyone in Austin has a favorite barbecue spot. Ours is La Barbecue: it’s among the best in Texas, and doesn’t require you to wait in a super-long line. Run by LeAnn Mueller of the famous Mueller family and her wife Ali, this is a casual lunch option where you can order meat by the pound or a specialty sandwich if you’d prefer. Let your eyes and nose guide you, but the brisket, sausage, and beef rib (when it’s available) are what make La Barbecue famous. No reservations here, so come early and wait in line to eat at one of the picnic tables.

Find more info here.

7. Dai Due East Austin-Cherrywood

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The team at Dai Due focuses on sourcing the freshest vegetables and organic meats for their creative menu. Even their wine and beer list is local, with options from Marfa to Hye. You can feel the level of care they put into each dish, with details like caramelized fennel-mandarin whipped lard that comes with grilled sourdough and red wine-pickled blueberries accompanied by stuffed quail. The menu rotates based on what’s in season, but you can usually find the antelope and aged wagyu burger, perhaps the most underrated burger in Austin.

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8. Mattie’s Bouldin Creek

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Set on an historic property with roaming peacocks, Mattie’s makes for the ideal backdrop for impressing your parents or just a quiet meal. They are open for brunch and dinner with plenty of in and outdoor seating, but the restaurant is an Austin favorite, so make your Resy in advance. Try the little gem wedge salad, bone-in pork chop with collard greens and all of the sides. For brunch, the Milk Punch French Toast will make you feel special and the biscuits and gravy will make you feel happy and full.

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9. Kinfolk Downtown Austin

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Moonshine has long been serving bar patrons and diners downtown for years. But what most of those folks don’t know is that there is a library and lounge built in 1850 downstairs. The space is intimate, which makes for a great date spot or a locale for someone you actually want to talk to. And the drinks are reminiscent of what the coolest librarian ever might serve. We prefer the classic cocktails like a Manhattan, martini, or whiskey sour, but the staff is incredibly knowledgeable, so you may be inspired to go with the librarian’s choice.

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10. Two Hands Austin South Congress

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Photo courtesy of Two Hands Austin

South Congress is now home to many transplants — tech bros, boutiques, and more. While some are more welcome than others (we’re not naming names) this cafe offshoot from New York provides an important coffee window for the many folks passing by — and a solid breakfast, lunch, and dinner, too. Their Australian Brekky options are some of our favorites, like the tomato toast with prosciutto and poached egg, or smashed avo toast with pickled shallots and Fresno chiles. Dinner includes healthy options like the miso mushroom bowl or salmon green curry. The patio is both dog- and kid-friendly, so bring your favorite small or furry companions.

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Photo courtesy of Two Hands Austin

11. LeRoy and Lewis South Austin

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LeRoy and Lewis has long been a favorite food truck at Cosmic Coffee. It received accolades from Texas Monthly and The New York Times for serving more than the typical Texas barbecue items. Now they expanded their menu and space in a brick-and-mortar spot in South Austin. They offer sliced or chopped beef and a variety of sausages, as well as (gasp!) smoked vegetables. Options also include three burgers all with different kinds of meat, and a smoked Italian beef sandwich with giardiniera. And while you may have had Big Red with your barbecue, they have a frozen Big Red Sangria. A full bar offers beer, wine, and many cocktail options to sip on while you wait in line to order.

Find more info here.

12. Eldorado Cafe North Central

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When seeking out the best Tex-Mex in Austin, you’re going to get strong and often opposing opinions and a range of options from a taco truck to fine dining. Eldorado is perfectly in the middle. Their Mexican breakfast is casual, but you feel like you’re in the right place for Tex-Mex. Huevos rancheros, Short rib machacado and even just the Daily Texan with eggs, bacon, hash and a biscuit — it’s all fresh and filling. We also like the crispy tacos for lunch or the enchiladas verde for dinner. Take a tub of your favorite of their salsas to-go too — they are that good. We’re not alone with the opinion of how great this spot is, so get a Resy so you can sit down right away.

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13. Paperboy East Side

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A busy brunch spot can be a good indication of people looking for an excuse to drink at breakfast — or revealing their inability to flip a fried egg. Whichever it is, Austinites trust Paperboy with their brunch needs. Sweeter dishes like cinnamon toast with whipped mascarpone or the pancake with brown butter and blueberries are totally appropriate to eat as your meal. But heartier options like the hash with pork and sweet potato or healthier options like kale salad are just as satisfying. There’s a small indoor space, patio, and a big rooftop, all of which are usually full (so put your ask in early).

 Find more info here.

14. Nixta Taqueria East Side

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It’s hard to stand out in a taco town like Austin, but James Beard award-winning chef Edgar Rico and his wife Sara Mardanbigi found a way. Their tacos are a blend of traditional Mexican ingredients and flavors with a more modern American twist like the duck carnitas taco or the beet tartare taco. It’s casual, so you can walk-up, wait in a (hopefully) short line, and eat at their picnic tables out back. And if you want the ultimate experience, you can book their taco omakase to get multiple off-menu tacos and dessert.

Find more info here.

15. TRONA East Austin

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We’ll let you in on the secret that is Trona on the East Side. Start by making a Resy for an evening when you want a full cocktail experience with a plus one or crew of friends. Follow the subtle signs to this speakeasy and step into a 49-seat dark bar inspired by Oaxaca and Japan. Try the Wakata, which is made with Japanese whisky infused with coffee beans or El Kyoto made with Tequila and lychee. You can thank us later.

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16. Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop East Side

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Officially the oldest spot on our hit list, Joe’s Bakery has been in Austin since 1962 and still is absolutely a must-hit spot. This family-run restaurant serves breakfast and tacos, as well as Mexican baked goods and has somehow managed to keep their prices affordable. Try the huevos rancheros or pork chop plate if you’re feeling more hungry. Stop by the glass case up front to get some pastries to-go and chat with the family who still works there.

Find more info here.

17. Fresa’s – South First Travis Heights

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Fresa’s is our go-to spot for a really strong weekday meal or a more casual weekend margarita-filled one. If you don’t want to share, the Power Bol with chicken, sweet potato, chickpeas and roasted cauliflower is perfectly portioned for just you. If you want to make a Resy for a bigger group, they have a huge patio that is very kid-friendly. The sharable menu options work great for groups like the chimichurri skirt steak or the achiote chicken. The group meals come with sides of charro beans, rice and tortillas to fully outfit the meal for everyone.

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18. Parkside Downtown Austin

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After more than 15 years on Sixth Street, Parkside was in need of some updates. Chef Shawn Cirkiel (who also owns Backspace) closed Parkside to rethink the space and menu. Located in a historic building in the heart of downtown, the new Parkside keeps the charm of its old space, but with a fresh build-out. The menu features a solid raw-bar selection and craft cocktails. We recommend making a Resy before a show at Stubb’s or Comedy Mothership or for happy hour to get the best deals like the bacon cheeseburger, crab fritter, or oyster platter.

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19. Con Todo Domain

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Tucked away at Celis Brewery, find one of Austin’s most celebrated food trucks. Don’t come here expecting a boring bean and cheese taco. These authentic tacos are Rio Grande Valley style, which means corn tortillas topped with onion and cilantro, and meats like barbacoa and carne asada. Try the bistec Matamoros with grilled onions, queso fresco, and guacamole and the pollo en mole and be sure to try all the salsas depending on your appreciation of that kind of heat. There’s great history and technique behind the tacos at Con Todo, so be sure to make time to chat with the folks taking your order — assuming the line isn’t huge behind you.

Find more info here.

20. Suerte East Austin

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Photo courtesy of Suerte

Of all the Resys you might be trying to get, the Suerte Resy is among the most coveted. This East Side spot from chef Fermin Nunez serves fancier Mexican food, is equipped with a full bar, and is always packed. They are most known for the Suadero tacos made with wagyu brisket and black magic oil, but everything on the menu has been known to impress. Hamachi crudo a la their sister restaurant Este, carnitas and sweet potatoes with lime aioli are some of the other stand-outs. And don’t sleep on that brunch Resy. They serve many of the dishes already mentioned during the day, as well as a smoked salmon tostada, brisket hash and other brunch favorites.

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Photo courtesy of Suerte