The Required: Austin

The Required: Austin

A definitive guide to Austin's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ of chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, & other food and beverage pros.

October 14, 2019
The Required: Austin

The Required: Austin

A definitive guide to Austin's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ of chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, & other food and beverage pros.

October 14, 2019

Hello, Austin. Welcome to The Required club.

The Required is our expert version of a "best list," comprised of the stand-out restaurants that have garnered the all-time most recommendations from our expert community. That's 5000+ all-star chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, and more–no black box of food editor committees or user surveys, just plain, crave-able cred.

Read on to plan your next trip—or just to be sure you've checked all the boxes on your home turf. 

East Side King

Plenty of Austin locals have made multiple trips to the vibrant and artistic East Side King, which focuses on “Japanese Street Food with a touch of Austin Soul.” Former Uchi alum, Paul Qui and Moto Utsunomiya created East Side King as a means of creative expression, and have since enlisted the considerable talent of Chef Thai Changthong. Our experts say the Tori Meshi is one of the best dishes to grab: glazed, crispy fried karaagé chicken over a bed of garlic rice, and piled with fresh mint and herbs on top is perfect either before or after a night out on the town. The Beet Home Fries with Kewpie Mayo also make for a satisfying vegetarian snack. 

Foreign & Domestic

Chefs Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley, alumni of another required on this list, Parkside, took over the reins of Austin favorite Foreign & Domestic as owners and Executive Chefs in 2017. Rooted deeply in farm-to-table, nose-to-tail practices, the two pride themselves on their relationships with local farmers, and showcase their produce and meats with pride. Working with the seasons, the menu is built around ingredients that are best and of-the-moment, and has its roots in French Provençal flavors. Foreign & Domestic is perfect for diners experienced enough to know that the cuts of meat most Americans eschew as “weird” are often the most delicious: Crisped Beef Tongue with Watercress and Mint or Black Pasta with Goat Heart Bolognese and Blood Bottarga. For the squeamish or less adventurous in your group, comforting classics like Lion’s Mane Mushroom Risotto and Wagyu Flank Steak with Fingerling Potatoes should do the trick.

Emmer & Rye

You can’t find a more faithful rendition of modern Austin cuisine anywhere other than Emmer & Rye. On one menu you can enjoy constantly changing and evolving seasonal selections featuring small plates for everyone to enjoy, and on the other, you can find Dim Sum featuring creative takes like Beef Tallow Doughnuts with Rye Vinegar Glaze and Smoked Honeydew with Burnt Cucumber and Smoked Shiso. Founders Kevin Fink, Page Pressley, and Tavel Bristol-Joseph insist on making the best of the local ingredients they source in every dish and facet of their operation. The Cacio e Pepe is a favorite amongst our Experts: this simple pasta dish gets a slight twist incorporating fermented tomato water to the creamy, peppery classic. The cocktail list sticks to about a three-ingredient average, creative without being overly fussy or competing with the food. Emmer and Rye is the place for flavors and textures that are unique to this particular moment in Austin’s culinary scene.

Emmer & Rye
Hot Spot
Rainey Street Historic, Austin
$$, Outdoor Seating, Full Bar, Modern, Restaurant, New American
11 Recommendations
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