My Top 5 Favorite Local Austin Restaurants and Drinking Holes

Let’s be honest, I’m not a huge foodie nor really do I have that great of taste. I mean, actual taste (though your opinion may mean more than just food). I don’t smell or taste well, so my range of taste is much more narrow than others.

But I like to go to restaurants and get rinks regardless. It’s an easy way to hang out with your friends. And Austin has tons of great places to choose from.

Here are my current Top 5 Restaurants and Drinking Holes in Austin:

1. Cantine Italian Cafe and Bar

Cantine is a relatively new restaurant and bar over in the South Lamar plaza that also contains the Alamo Drafthouse and Highball. It offers a variety of personal dishes with Italian flare, from salads to meat plates.

They often have a special or two to offer, and all the food I have gotten there has been good. I don’t have a favorite dish particularly.

The atmosphere of the place is great, and offers both a romantic vibe for those looking to go on a date and also a friendly vibe for those looking to have a meal with friends.

My favorite part of the bar is the cocktails. I typically enjoy whiskey, bourbon, vodka and gin based beverages (not all at once), and they have a bunch of great infusions that use these. A standard Moscow Mule still tastes delicious no matter where I go!

2. Barley Swine

While a now standard choice among Austinites, I recently went to Barley Swine for the first time before the South Side location closed. It was simply amazing. Lots of excellent small dishes so you can taste a wide variety of flavors.

They will pair a wine with each of your dishes as well, enhancing the experience even more. The service was great and everyone really knew their stuff.

If you like a fancier meal and want a place to take your date, I highly recommend Barley Swine. The chef is Bryce Gilmore, a highly successful chef and for good reason: his food and concepts are great.

3. Odd Duck

Since we’re talking about Bryce, we may as well bring up Odd Duck, another incredible restaurant that Bryce owns.This restaurant makes use of a similar concept of small plates but in a slightly different way.

The plates mostly are made up of wild game type meats and delicious paleo-like food that will leave you full and satisfied. I had the Wagyu Beef dish and I had to literally save the last bite for that last piece of beef it was so good.

Instead of focusing on wine, this restaurant focuses more on its cocktails and other drinks and it has a great variety. I had a couple of bourbon based drinks that were twists on the classic Old Fashioned and I was very pleased. The smokiness goes well with the dishes.

Highly recommend this newer concept from Bryce Gilmore.

4. The Roosevelt Room

Now that I made myself thirsty thinking about drinks, I should mention my all time favorite cocktail bar in Austin: the Roosevelt Room. You will find every cocktail that you can imagine in this bar, from every era of time since the cocktail was invented.

Bartender Justin Lavenue is the talent behind the majority of the drinks, and has been voted one of the top cocktail chefs in the country by many different groups, including Zagat and Bombay Sapphire.

If you want a dark, comfortable cocktail bar that you can listen to some live jazz and have a good time with your friends, you’ll enjoy the environment in this high class lounge.

5. Juniper

I don’t know how to properly describe Juniper, because I’m simply not advanced enough in the food arts. So I’ll explain it in my own words: holy crap its delicious.

There are tons of small plates here, and some of the best ones you wouldn’t guess. You’ll just have to go and try them for yourself and see what chef Nick Yanes is up to. The menu changes fairly frequently.

The atmosphere in the bar is great, nice and open with an open-view kitchen so you can watch the artists make your food. Sit at the bar if you want a really great view. I love watching them make the desserts.

I’ll rave about the cocktails here as well: they are also insanely good and there are a lot to choose from.

If that wasn’t enough, Juniper has a brunch as well. The variety of dishes and pastries, as well as brunch drinks like mimosas and bloody marys will leave you rubbing your belly and wishing you would never get full.

Hope You Enjoyed

I hope you enjoyed my current top 5 pick on the Austin food and beverage scene. I know you’ll enjoy the food at these great places!

If you have any questions about the restaurants or talent, or are looking to hire the talent, contact Resplendent Hospitality at They manage the PR for these great places.