The Best Dishes in Austin, According to a Local

Foodspotting @ SXSW 2012 · Austin Top 10 Guide · created almost 6 years ago

We worked with our friend Megan Giller, who writes about food for Tribeza, Texas Monthly and other publications, to give you the local's look at the best food Austin has to offer.

Discover these less-known gems around SXSW!

Also read more of Megan's work at megangiller.com.

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    Fried Brussels Sprout Salad at East Side King in Austin, Tx

    A SHORT WALK AWAY: The crispy nuggets at this landmark trailer are sautéed to perfection, then nestled into chopped cabbage, fresh basil, cilantro, and mint and topped with the house sweet-and-spicy sauce. The intense bursts of flavor will make you cry almost as joyfully as co-owner and Executive Chef at Uchiko Paul Qui did on Top Chef when he was reunited with his boss, Uchi and Uchiko owner Tyson Cole. **TIP: Don’t forget to load up on “Poor Qui” pork belly steamed buns and beet home fries too.

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    Curried Mussels at The Clay Pit in Austin, TX

    A SHORT WALK AWAY: They say the historic building that houses the Indian restaurant is haunted with partying ghosts, but the spacious stone dining room is a nice getaway from the madness of SXSW. Pair juicy steamed mussels in a thick garlic–red wine curry with to-die-for naan and you have yourself a divine meal.

  • Boy Dakar Burger at Cazamance in Austin, Tx

    A SHORT WALK AWAY: Anything on the menu at this West African trailer is destined to be delicious, but the succulently spiced ground lamb and melted Brie in the Boy Dakar Burger is a favorite. Get it on the “bunny chow” (like a bread bowl but much better) and you’re golden.

  • Steak Taco at Garrido's in Austin, TX

    A SHORT WALK AWAY: Breakfast tacos may be Austin’s official food, but Garrido’s lunch and dinner taco plates will make you feel less guilty about sleeping in. The hip, upscale spot dishes out several delectable varieties, including coffee-marinated ribeye tacos, topped with crumbly asadero cheese, chipotle horseradish aioli and chunky pico de gallo.

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    Aborrajado at Casa Colombia in Austin, TX

    A SHORT WALK AWAY: A traditional appetizer of sweet batter-fried plantains stuffed with decadent mozzarella cheese, “aborrajado” may be hard to say, but it’s well worth the trouble at this homey restaurant. Save room for the Venezuelan pabellón entrée, with shredded beef and zesty criolla sauce.

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    Brisket at JMueller BBQ in Austin, TX

    A SHORT DRIVE AWAY: The Mueller family is Texas barbecue royalty (drive out to Louis Mueller Barbecue in Taylor if you want to visit the original), and this trailer from son John delivers succulent, fall-apart brisket with a side of attitude and a saucy reputation. **TIP: Be sure to try his famous baked squash too.

  • Beet and Mint Ice Cream at Lick Ice Creams in Austin, Texas

    A SHORT DRIVE AWAY: The owners of this casual walk-in take local and organic to a new level with their ultra-local and natural gourmet ice creams. Unusual flavors like earthy beet and mint or refreshing cilantro and lime are great, and old standbys like milk chocolate and strawberries and cream are given new depths.

  • Road Runner Roll at Musashino Sushi Dokoro in Austin, TX

    A SHORT DRIVE AWAY: The fish is as fresh as the interior is trendy at this noodle-by-day and sushi-by-night location just off Mopac (Loop 1). For dinner, order one of the many house specialty rolls with squid ink rice: We like the Road Runner, a twist on a dragon roll with midnight-black rice and avocado wrapped around soft-shell crab and habanero-infused masago, topped with garlicky hybrid sauce and tempura flakes.

  • Pork Lemongrass Bahn Mi at LuLu B's in Austin, TX

    A SHORT DRIVE AWAY: One of Austin’s veteran food trailers (it’s been open since 2008), Lulu B’s offers amazing, affordable Vietnamese food. Anything with lemongrass pork is a good choice, and the shrimp spring rolls are tasty too. **TIP: Call ahead to place your order to avoid a wait.

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    Migas Taco at Tacodeli in Austin, TX

    A SHORT DRIVE AWAY: Oh, the thick tortillas, Monterey Jack cheese, and farm-fresh eggs with or without the spicy migas sauce. The local, organic ingredients and care are what makes the breakfast and lunch tacos at this to-go spot superior. For example, Texas farmers often grow jalapeños specifically for Tacodeli and its insatiable customers. **TIP: If there’s a crowd, grab a premade taco or two from the bin at the front.