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Austin is one of those cities that many visitors to Texas manage to miss. It may not be as famous as Houston, or possess a notorious grassy knoll like Dallas, although motor racing fans will converge on the city for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in October.

The motorsport fans may be among the fortunate ones when it comes to dining out, as other visitors concentrating on different parts of the state will miss out on some of the finest culinary offerings in Texas. But which restaurants are standing out in 2023?

In asking this question, it may be reassuring to see that the guides don’t just list a few. While Tripadvisor headlines a top ten (although its list is longer than that), Conde Nast Traveller name-checks 20, while Austin Eater, rightly keen to ensure more places are mentioned, lists no fewer than 38.

Given these multiple guides, it might be assumed the places that appear in all of them are a safe bet to be tagged as the best places to eat. However, the three lists are all very different. For example, of everything on the Tripadvisor list, only the sushi restaurant Uchi appears on the Conde Nast list. Equally, the Austin Eater list bears no resemblance to the other two.

This doesn’t mean there are no stand-out restaurants. Rather, it may indicate there are so many fine places to eat that picking out the best is very hard.

A notable feature of the Austin culinary scene that points to the second of these possibilities being far more likely is the sheer variety on offer, which means so many individual tastes can be catered for that any top list is bound to be subjective.

For instance, apart from the aforementioned Uchi, there is the Mexican Comedor, Indian food at Vixen’s Wedding, Soulju Korean Kitchen and Bar, the Middle Eastern Usta Kababgy, Taste of Ethiopia II, plus Chinese, Caribbean, Italian and, of course, traditionally Texan restaurants.

The take-home message is clear; for sheer variety and quality, Austin is hard to beat. You don’t need to find the ‘best’ restaurant to find a great one.

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June 15, 2023 — Jake Blakey