Alternatives to Austin’s Tex Mex Scene

By Taylor Baker

Austin has become a prime location in the restaurant scene.  Get out of your food rut, and check out these hot spots. 

●      Odd Duck – If you’re looking for a unique spot with fantastic grub then this place is for you.  Everything on the menu is delicious, from the baked “pretzels” dipped in mustard béchamel to the “fried rice” with soft cooked duck egg, oyster mushroom, shitaake, & hazelnuts.  They offer moscow mules on tap, made with their homemade ginger brew, and the seasonal frozen margaritas are not to be missed.  Check them out for happy hour, lunch, dinner, or brunch (Sundays only).  The atmosphere is also equally as impressive as their menu – quirky, and on point.

●      Sway – This place is, hands down, the best modern thai food restaurant in Austin.  Their food is fresh and flavorful, the atmosphere is intriguing, and the wait staff is knowledgeable and friendly. The seating at Sway is community-style, so it’s perfect if you’re dining with a larger group.  A few stand out dishes (although everything on the menu is delicious) are the pawn miange, XO mussels, nashi pear chicken, and tiger cry.  All of their desserts are a work of art, so definitely save room!

●      Kome – Sushi might truly be the source to all of lifes problems, and Kome does it right.  Their menu offers both traditional and innovative dishes, as well as fresh and delicious sushi and rolls.  Grab a seat at the bar if you can, and watch the sushi masters work their magic.  Also, no matter what roll you order – ask for the Go-Go sauce (you can thank me later).  This is definitely a prime spot for a first date.

●      Quickie Pickie – Whether you’re in a hurry or having a leisurely time, this east side gem has everything you need, any time of the day.  They’re open 7am – midnight, and offer a fantastic assortment of snacks, tacos, sandwiches, salads, seasonal plates and more.  Their beverage selection doesn’t suck either- you can find 24 beers on tap, Counter Culture coffee, and a plethora of wines to choose from. They also love local, and make everything in-house, from scratch.  What’s not to love?

●      Contigo – Have you ever found yourself saying, “I just want to find a delicious restaurant with an incredible outdoor seating situation”?  Contigo is your answer.  They’re tucked away off Airport Blvd., and they only offer outdoor seating (with the exception of the bar area).  This rustic eatery offers small bites such as pigs in a blanket and ox tongue sliders, or more substantial items such as rabbit and dumplings.  Their burger is also incredible.  However, their brunch is definitely a highlight, and is not to be missed.

●      Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar – Go ahead, ask anyone.  Perla’s is one of the best seafood restaurants in Austin.  Their seafood is the freshest, and I could easily eat a couple dozen of their oysters in one sitting.  They have a gorgeous front patio, and an equally alluring interior dining area. Notable menu items are the crab cake, bay scallop pozole verde (my favorite), and the crispy Texas gulf snapper.  Get fancy and order their fresh champagne cocktail of the day.  Bon Appétit!