2018 was a strange year, wasn’t it? Not only for me personally (I lost my job of almost 5 years and then started a new one—and this blog!), but also for the Austin dining scene. Spring saw an astronomical number of openings, while the rest of year saw some sad shutters (Frisco and Bonhomie hurt the most). But, it’s all finally settled down, and it’s time to reflect back on the meals and restaurants that make the capital city so freaking delicious.
So, without further adieu, here are my favorite new Austin restaurants in 2018 (in no particular order).
OK, so I lied. This one is totally in a particular order because the Brewer’s Table was, hands-down, my absolute favorite new restaurant of 2018. I first was treated to a happy hour with the fabulous ladies of Cultivate PR while still working in the magazine biz, but I’ve since been back a handful of times on my own dime as a total nobody and received the exact same incredible experience. I love that this place makes everything out of the rando bits from the beer-making process, which even extends to its incredible desserts. I’ve only had one dish here that I didn’t absolutely love, but the rest have all been so special and delicious. And the service is just top-notch. Oh, and it’s GORGEOUS inside. OK, and the beer is good too. I mean, I’m sorry, I’m just a fan-girl for Brewer’s Table, I just can’t help it. GO NOW.
Technically this adorable Deep Eddy burger joint opened in late 2017, but whatever, it’s my list so I can do what I want! I just simply adore this place. From the burgers to the ambiance and everything in between (those crinkle cuts! the Tiki cocktails!), this place holds a special place in my heart. Make sure to save room for soft serve!
I am a total weirdo and I don’t normally CRAVE pizza. I mean burgers are my thing. Just check out this list! But, I got to check out 40 North this summer, and holy cow was it so good. Not only is the pizza crust just the perfect texture, the toppings are spot-on (get anything with the hot honey on it) and the veggies are also equally delicious. I hear their burger is incredible, but if I’m heading to a pizza joint, you can bet I’m getting a pie! My fave was the Barbe (Tomato, mozz fennel sausage, coppa, red onion, chili, parm, basil), btw.
Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer, cocktails, snacks, sweets, or coffee, this place has you covered. I’ve been back several times, and it only gets better and better. Order the burger, which changes regularly and is typically half off during happy hour. You’re welcome.
I know some reviewers weren’t too keen on this new East Austin eatery, but every time I’ve visited this beautiful house-turned-wine bar-turned restaurant, I’ve had a simply spectacular meal. The service is also just so great with truly kind waiters. Their cocktails are definitely on point (great wine selection too!), and the dishes are delicious. Don’t skip the smoked mushrooms with breaded egg, beef tartare (in bone marrow!), or the barbacoa. Plus, c’mon, the space is stunning. They did such a great job renovating it! Oh, and ask for a cookie for the road.
I didn’t really LOVE Lin Asian Bar. Sorry.
There’s SO much I love about Guild (especially that mac ‘n’ cheese), but the place is way too loud, and it’s really pricey.
I also have mixed feelings about Better Half Coffee & Cocktails. I’ve had great experiences here with delicious breakfast and then some…not-so-great experiences. One time I tried to go for brunch and they told me (after I waited in line for some time and was finally about to order) that food was going to take 90 minutes. Um… hell no. I walked to Whole Foods instead. I do love easy parking, though!
When I went to the media event for She’s Not Here, I loved the food (and the decor is just so gorgeous!), but when I went back I had truly atrocious service. I would definitely give it another try because the seafood is divine.
I am not a huge fan of upscale Mexican food (I know, I’m a total asshole), so I haven’t…GULP…been to Suerte yet. But, I hear amazing things about it!
Also, since I’m no longer in the media world, I don’t have as much access to free food as I used to (and I spent several months being unemployed this summer, so I didn’t have the money to spend on food!), so there are definitely some places I haven’t been to yet I’d like to try that maybe would’ve made this list:
Joann’s Fine Foods—y’all know I love me some McGuire Moorman restaurants, but, again, see the upscale Mexican part above;
Carpenters Hall in the new Carpenter Hotel—I had an amazing burger there for lunch but haven’t been back for dinner yet;
I’ve been to Loro a handful of times but never for a full dinner—nor have I waited in line to eat there—so I just didn’t feel like I could put it on this list without having the full experience
What have been y’all’s favorite new restaurants this year?