Austin may be known for its barbeque, but there are a lot more food options than just smoked meats. With its proximity to Houston, there is an abundance of seafood and the restaurants offer everything from comfort food to creative plates that are sure to please. Needless to say, we could only sample a few of the many restaurants in this historic old city, but we enjoyed everything that we were able to taste. It isn’t just the food, though, the ambiance and historic feel of many of the restaurants provide an atmosphere that invites you with southern charm or surround you with a feeling of elegance.
We definitely had to get some barbeque while we were in Austin and, to be more specific, we had to get some beef brisket. As always, we asked the locals for recommendations and received several, but we decided to go to the Ironworks in the Red River District. Fortunately for us, we arrived early as the line was starting to really grow by the time we left. We sat at the outside deck, slathered our sandwich with barbeque sauce, and had some corn on the cob and potato salad. The brisket literally melted in your mouth it was so tender from being smoked over a low heat for hours.
For seafood, we had two very unique and different experiences. In downtown Austin, we went to Truluck’s Seafood Restaurant for an upscale dining experience. We couldn’t resist getting a dozen oysters on the half shell, but the escargot was different than usual and the presentation of their shrimp cocktail was equal to the restaurant’s atmosphere. For pure comfort food, we went to Sam’s Boat in the suburbs of Austin, which was near our hotel. With its abundance of options like po-boys, fried oysters, crawfish, and shrimp, they offered seafood comfort food.
For more unique experiences, we went to a couple of different taverns for drinks as well as small bites. We enjoyed Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill in the Red River District, which had a good happy hour and friendly bar staff. They offer a nice variety of southern and Texas options, all with their eclectic flair. The Southern Grit Cake was definitely an unusual option with fried crawfish, aioli, and hot sauce served over a grit cake. For a wide variety of local beers, North by Northwest (NXNW) couldn’t be beat. They too were located in the Arboretum area of Texas and were relatively new, but that didn’t keep the crowds from filling up their outdoor seating area.
We seem to find an Irish pub wherever we go and Austin was no different. We enjoyed an Irish Boxty while listening to some wonderful country-western music. We could have spent all afternoon sitting and listening the band if it weren’t for the fact that we had places to go. For a classic cocktail, the Driskill Bar inside of the famous landmark hotel serves up anything that you like in an relaxed, yet upscale, atmosphere. There are also many rooftop bars in downtown Austin that will give you great views of the city and a refreshing drink while you try to beat the heat.
Regardless of your style of dining, Austin has something for everyone. If you make your way to Texas, you have to try some barbeque, but don’t be afraid to try something a little more unique. Austin claims that they are “weird”, but really they are just authentic, friendly, and have a true southern charm. We are looking forward to our next visit where we can try even more of the wonderful options that Austin has to offer.