Ahh the age-old question… what do we do for dinner?

Well, if you’re in Austin, you’re in luck. Food is like an aphrodisiac to me, and there are so many amazing places to eat in town. While I may not know EVERYTHING, I’ve at least tried out a lot of places… it’s my favorite way to get to know a city!

My goal here is to not list the go-to Austin chains like Hopdoddy and Trudy’s. Yeah, they’re delish but let’s do something different! Because of this, you’ll notice my recommendations are mostly in the East Austin/Riverside neighborhoods. I’ve had better luck finding more eclectic (but not TOO hipster) or mom and pop spots around there than further north or south (so if you’ve got a spot you’d like me to add, leave a comment so I can check it out).

*Disclaimer: I have a severe shellfish allergy, so if you’re looking for a cool sushi spot, you will not find one here, since that might kill me. Sorry.

Gabriela’s Downtown

East Austin/Downtown

This has quickly become one of my favorite neighborhood spots. The food is delicious (also very Instagram-able!) and the service is always friendly and quick. Gabby’s Margarita might just be the best marg I’ve ever had, but you can also do a flight of margs to decide which one is your favorite.

Gabriela’s Downtown is on 7th Street, just off of I-35, so it’s gorgeous patios also have great views of the city!

Fareground at One Eleven

Downtown

If you and your date can never quite agree on a type of cuisine for dinner (or you can just never decide what you want), this “cafeteria for grown ups” as I like to call it, has just about every genre of food covered and a bar, too.

Check out all the cool local restaurants you can sample here.

Noble Sandwich Co.

North Austin – Burnet

I don’t have much to say about Noble Sandwich except… make sure you arrive FAMISHED. These bad boys are filling and taste so good, even if you’re full, you won’t want to stop eating. Seriously.

Loro Restaurant

South Lamar

Austinites go on and on about Uchi and people from all over come to visit Franklin Barbeque. These may be wonderful eateries, but they’re too “been there/done that” for this list.

HOWEVER, the geniuses behind both of those hot spots have come together to create Loro Restaurant, and it is de-lish-ous. Pricing there is also fairly reasonable, especially considering its “parents.”

Culinary Dropout

The Domain

This is one of my favorite spots to hang out when I’m around North Austin because its environment is both fun and chill. The patio is huge, covered, and dog friendly, which is always a plus in my book.

There’s an extensive drink menu, with great house cocktails. If you’re like me and love pub food, Culinary Dropout will not disappoint.

Contigo Austin

Mueller Tower District

If you’re looking for something a little less “Austin Chic” and more upscale, give Contigo Austin a try. It’s probably one of the pricier dinner options on this list, but I promise it is worth every penny. The chicken melts beautifully in your mouth and their potatoes are… I have no words for them, they’re so damn good.

888 Pan Asian Restaurant

East Oltorf

Coming from Chicago, I’ve had a hard time finding really good Chinese food here in Austin. I’d pretty much given up finding “authentic” Chinese food here when my date suggested I try his favorite spot… and 888 came in clutch! The worst part was trying to decide what to eat from their extensive menu.

Their staff has also been extremely accommodating with me, given my shellfish allergy, and that goes a LONG way in my book.

Taco More

East Riverside

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It might not look like much as you drive down Riverside, but for delicious and authentic Mexican food, Taco More is the spot. Just don’t fill up on chips and their amazing tacos (like I always do)!

Prices are super reasonable and my favorite part? They serve breakfast tacos all day!

What are your recommendations? Let me know in the comments and I’ll check them out!

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