Citygram Magazine has partnered with the Austin Food Blogger Alliance to create an exhaustive – and easy to navigate – app to help you pick the perfect Austin dining option to fit your every mood. Available inside each issue of Citygram, this ultra-useful guide is organized by neighborhood and the reviews are written by local food bloggers. Rest assured that whether your in the mood for breakfast or burritos, great eats are never far from reach.
AFWF: What prompted you to put together this robust offering of restaurant recs?
Citygram as a magazine is all about connecting people to the great local things in Austin. I love pushing the envelope with our digital app, and integrating a guide aspect into the magazine is an idea I’ve wanted to explore for quite some time. When the marketing chair [Tiffany Young] of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance [AFBA] approached me about collaborating with Citygram on their annual Cityguide, I thought it would be a great way to introduce that concept.
Our goal was to create that go-to restaurant list – something that would be inclusive for all areas of Austin, something that would represent the diversity of food options in each region, and something you could always have in your pocket.
For out of town visitors to Austin, what part of the city’s food scene are you most excited about sharing?
Most visitors arriving into Austin are here to experience the music and food culture they’ve read about in magazines or seen on TV. One thing I don’t think people grasp until they get here is the high percentage of quality establishments the “Keep Austin Weird” mentality has fostered. Great food is everywhere; high-end restaurants (such as Wink in Central : Date Night), food trucks (Patrizi’s in East : Food Trucks), and in unsuspecting strip malls (Soto in North : Asian).
But I think I’m most excited for visitors to see the spirit and enthusiasm our community has for food. Small talk about weather is replaced by conversations about what you ate last week. We’re in a city that has around 150 registered food bloggers (Austin Food Blogger Alliance). I don’t think there’s anything like that anywhere else, and to me it really speaks to how passionate people are and how excited they are to share their voice and opinion.
Central: Date Night
Lisa Rawlinson of Full & Content
The original Austin restaurant from chef Shawn Cirkiel continues to draw Austinites to its downtown location in the heart of 6th Street. A nice launching point for a night out, it boasts some of the best happy hour deals in town, and it’s just upscale enough to turn a night out into a celebration or a special event. The dinner menu is a spin on standard gastro-pub fare and comfort food, and while some items are more successful than others, the dining experience overall is more than worth a peek into the creative minds within the Parkside kitchen.
What to order: The oysters and raw bar are not to be missed. Begin there, then opt for the tempura quail as a starter. Order their take on a Moscow Mule, the Siberian Donkey, and follow up with the lamb osso bucco or the dayboat scallops plus a side of the roasted sweet potatoes with rosemary marshmallow fluff or the broccolini. Finish with the tiramisu doughnuts, and you’ll be sure to leave with a smile on your face.
East: Happy Hour
Brew & Brew
If you haven’t made your way to the corner of East 5th and San Marcos to perk up or wind down, plan to pay a visit to Wright Bros Brew & Brew in the very immediate future. Owned and operated by brothers Matt and Grady Wright and Matthew Bolick, the part specialty coffee shop and part craft beer bar offers a comfortable, community-centric space to enjoy your beverage of choice no matter the time of day. Coffee connoisseurs enjoy lattes and mochas made with locally roasted Flat Track Coffee or an espresso brewed with San Francisco beans, while beer fanatics drool over the 38 taps the brothers keep well-stocked with local favorites and rare seasonal suds. With events like bike crawls, special release firkins, and beer bashes chock-full of rare beers happening all the time, there is never not a reason to check in and brew with the bros.
What to order: The off-menu Brew & Brew: a snifter of beer – typically a darker pour that the knowledgeable staff is more than happy to assist in picking – paired with a caffeine kick in the form of a cortado.
Mary Helen of Mary Makes Dinner
This family-run restaurant serves up Neopolatin style pizza handcrafted to obsessive perfection. Details like hand kneaded dough, house-made mozzarella, and blazing hot ovens make meals at Pieous into something like a religious experience for the pizza obsessed. While it’s off the beaten path, don’t think of the thirty minute trek out on 290 West as a long drive. Think of it as a pizza pilgrimage.
What to Order: The Margherita, Fat Queen, or Brussels & Jam pizzas, house-made pastrami by the pound, craft beers and house wine on tap.
West: Quick Bites
Kristi Willis of Kristi’s Farm to Table
To classify Noble Sandwiches a sandwich shop doesn’t do it justice. Yes, they serve sandwiches, but the ingredients are so well prepared with such care that the dishes are significantly better than your average sandwich. The shop serves breakfast and lunch daily and is well worth the drive to Northwest Austin. Their soon-to-open Burnet location will be a welcome addition to the local food scene.
What to Order: For breakfast, try the chorizo and egg sandwich. For lunch, the smoked duck pastrami with Russian dressing or the Noble Pig, stacked high with spicy ham, pulled pork, provolone and bacon are favorites.
Amy Drohen of Sushi in the ATX
Soto Japanese Cuisine offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience by incorporating the senses of taste, smell and sight in each dish. Guests relish the presentation of menu items such as fire salmon, hamachi toro tartare served on blocks of ice, and fresh uni served in its shell.
What to order: Fire salmon, Uni pasta, Chef’s choice sushi, Kawasaki lunch, Ginger Manhattan cocktail