This is one of my favorite posts of the year!! Today we’re talking about the top 10 restaurants that opened in Austin in 2019. Per usual, dozens of restaurants, food trucks, and breweries opened in Austin in the past calendar year…and dozens shuttered as well. (RIP Hut’s and Noble Sandwich Co. So sad..)
I love looking back at the year and reflecting on a few favorite new restaurants that have graced the Austin dining scene with their presence! (Click here to see the top 10 Austin restaurants that opened in 2018.) We had some phenomenal new options join us this year. It was a good year of eating.
Top 10 Restaurants That Opened in Austin In 2019
1. Bar Peached
Eric Silverstein (creator of Peached Tortilla and author of the new Peached Tortilla cookbook) opened Bar Peached, his bar concept, at the very beginning of 2019. This Asian-southern fusion restaurant and cocktail bar took over the space that used to hold Winflo Osteria, but the space was renovated extensively (and lemme tell ya – everything in instagramable!) Go to Bar Peached for cocktails and tacos with a group of girlfriends, mapo bolognese and pesto udon noodles for date night, or just show up for their phenomenal Korean bingsu birthday cake milky ice dessert.
2. Uncle Nicky’s Italian
Before you think, “great…another Italian restaurant in Austin,” step into Uncle Nicky’s and give it a try. We had yet to get an authentic, northern Italian, all-day café in Austin until Uncle Nicky’s arrived. It’s small, quick, and as comfy as it can be. Stop in for an espresso and homemade donut to start your morning, or meet a friend for a quick lunch of pane tostato and salad. Of course, appertivo hour is so fun! I absolutely adore this little cafe and I think it feels like you’re walking into a little café on a busy street in Milan. Super fun.
Comedor has been winning awards left and right since they opened in their new-build (and STUNNING, might I add?) location in downtown Austin. In fact, it just got the number 10 spot on Esquire’s list of Best New Restaurants in America, 2019. But let’s start with the aesthetics, because that’s what we all notice first when we walk into a new restaurant, right? Comedor almost seems like a speakeasy…its black brick and high, hidden windows give off a dark, chilly feel, but right when you walk into the restaurant you realize it’s flooded with light from the gorgeous courtyard and abundant windows opening up to the downtown sky. The creative modern Mexican fare keeps me constantly excited about trying just one more dish… Y’all, those bone marrow tacos are so good and so unique!
4. Mum Foods Deli
Elaine’s Pork and Pie closed, which was a little bit sad…but Mum Foods Deli, a long-time farmers market favorite, took over the space (and even played homage to Elaine’s by keeping pies on the menu) as their first brick-and-mortar. Everything they do is upstanding and high-quality, like sourcing humanely-raised Akaushi, using produce from local Texas farmers, and making everything in the kitchen from scratch. Y’all: you HAVE to stop in and try “The Original” sandwich made with 1/2 pound of hot pastrami. Holy Moly.
This fun Korean restaurant opened in the spring and it’s such a gem! I haven’t had a lot of Korean food, but the food was thoroughly explained to me during my dining experience at Oseyo so I could a) know what I was ordering, and b) enjoy all the little condiments that come with the meal. It’s really such a fun, lively, interactive food experience…and really great for kids, too!
I was a little sad when Bullfight tapas restaurant closed, but the space was renovated into a fantastic ranch-style Tex-Mex restaurant the I truly love. I know, I know….does Austin really need yet another Tex-mex place? Well actually…yes! Vamonos fills a niche by being sparkling and cute (kinda like Grizzelda’s on the east side, but this restaurant is in north Austin), and sharing “ranch-style” food, like enchiladas, taco salad, and grilled gulf shrimp and redfish. Plus, the meat is hormone-free (and the taste reveals that!) and the margaritas are incredible. Great little spot!
7. Dip Dip Dip Tatsu-ya
The Ramen Tatsu-ya team opened this Shabu Shabu restaurant in the middle of 2019, and it was an instant hit and reservations filled up instantly. They’ve taken the traditional Shabu Shabu experience, where meats and vegetables are cooked in a communal simmering pot, and elevated it with seasonal ingredients and a uniquely “Texas” flare, like a queso dipping sauce. Dip Dip Dip is a fun, interactive, exciting place to dine for date night. I think this is a great place for people to go if they’re worried about a lull in the conversation, because the food will keep you busy! Haha.. Have an awkward relative you need to hang out with? Take them to Dip Dip Dip!
8. Vixen’s Wedding
Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher (husband-wife team behind Lenoir) are sharing their interpretation of Goan food at Vixen’s Wedding, a 2019 restaurant on the ground floor of new hotel ARRIVE East Austin. The tall ceilings, bright walls, and colorful textiles have easily made this one of the most beautiful restaurants in Austin. So, what is Goan food, exactly? Well, it’s food from a Portuguese colony on the edge of India, so it has influences from all three of those cultures. It’s less rich and creamy than the heavy sauces in Indian food, and focuses more on Goan spices like cinnamon and turmeric and citrus fruits. Go for dinner to try the full menu, or stop in for some happy hour bites and drinks. Everything is yummy.
9. Nixta Taqueria
I barely snuck in this restaurant visit at the end of my pregnancy before I had my baby, but I’m sooo glad I got to try a few of these tasty tacos! Nixta was a heavily anticipated restaurant opening, and it stood up to the hype. The homemade corn tortillas (made through the process of nixtamilization, hence the name of the restaurant) reflect the ancient aztec painstaking process of making high-quality food. The ingredients and fillings are just at succulent as the tortillas, and y’all…these are some bomb. ass. tacos.
10. Franklin BBQ Taco Truck
Well, it’s about time!! Franklin BBQ, arguably the most well-known barbecue restaurant in the country, finally opened up a little breakfast taco truck in their parking lot, and everyone is obsessed. Here’s why this truck is such a great idea: Franklin BBQ already has the most important taco filling (meat), and they already have hundreds of the hungriest people waiting in line on their property (see my experience here about standing in line at Franklin BBQ), so all they needed were tortillas, eggs, and a cash register. Cha-ching. But seriously, these breakfast tacos are absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t believe how rich and creamy the eggs were! And the brisket filling is obviously perfection. However, I’m going to finish this blog post with a bold statement: Valentina’s breakfast tacos blow Franklin’s out of the water. Yep. Those homemade flour tortillas at Valentina’s are just too dang good!!
Ok, those are my top 10 picks for 2019! Any you’d care to add to the list? I’ll be honest, it was really hard to pare it down to just 10! There was just one restaurant I didn’t get to try that I’m guessing would have been a strong contender for the top 10, and that’s Hestia. It just opened a few weeks ago, and newborn baby life hasn’t allowed me to check it out yet. But if you’ve been and you feel like it deserves a spot on this list, chime in.
Here’s to another great year of eating, my friends!