The Austin Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Austin guide image


The Austin Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Austin

The new spots we checked out—and loved.

The Hit List is where you’ll find our favorite new food and drink experiences in Austin—including food trucks, pop-ups, takeout-only operations, gas station spots, or restaurants. Every week we track new openings across the city, and then visit as many as we can. One thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we have actually visited—and loved. Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself—inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighborhoods, chefs, and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. If you think we missed a great new place, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at

Also see our Bar Hit List, in which we track visited great new bars in Austin that are very much worth the varying degrees of hangover.

New to the Hit List (6/6): Uptown Sports Club, Gangnam Korean BBQ, Mr. Pimento, Desnudo Coffee.


photo credit: Raphael Brion

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Uptown Sports Club


1200 E 6th St, Austin
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Uptown Sports Club only opened in April, but it feels like it’s been here forever. The long-abandoned 19th-century building on East 6th Street is now a scene straight out of a classic New Orleans spot, with exposed brick walls, mosaic tile floors, vintage lighting, and a gorgeous marble and chrome-accented wraparound bar. The all-day bar and restaurant hits all the quintessential New Orleans food notes: a dark, roasty gumbo, Zapp’s potato chips, bottles of Crystal Hot Sauce on every table, and tremendous po‘boys, the standout of which is the gloriously messy roast-beef version with sliced meat drenched in a debris gravy made with Franklin Barbecue’s legendary chopped brisket. Add in expertly-made cocktails, a raw bar with oysters, and a dining room that’s sunny-by-day and boisterous-by-night, and this place is a classic in the making.

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

Gangnam Korean BBQ review image

Gangnam Korean BBQ

Perfect For:Big Groups


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Going out for Korean barbecue usually means choosing between quality meats and a bottomless AYCE experience, but at Gangnam, there’s no need to compromise (as long as you’re willing to fork out a flat-rate $50 at dinner). Classics like bulgogi, marinated pork belly, and kalbi are some of the best versions we’ve had in town, but if you’re in the mood for something a little heftier, simply order a ribeye or two and watch as full-sized steaks arrive for as long as you keep asking (and finishing your plate). We’re just excited that one of the few Korean barbecue options in South Austin also happens to be among the best in the city—giving South Austinities some well-deserved points in the unofficial Austin Regional Rivalries™. 

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The jerk chicken at Mr. Pimento at The Buzz Mill on East Riverside defies poultry physics—it’s impossibly moist on the inside, despite a crispy, charred crust that adds a bit of texture and a smoky element. And just when you thought you’d already found chicken nirvana, the sauce hits. It’s sweet, it’s tangy, and it packs just enough heat to remind you that it’s very much there. There are a lot of styles of jerk chicken in Austin, but this is the one we keep coming back to. Make sure to get it with a side of sweet plantains to maximize the sweet-salty-spicy-crunchy-soft experience. 

The first thing you’ll notice at Desnudo Coffee in East Austin is the line—it’s massive, especially on the weekends. So what is it about this tiny coffee trailer that draws larger crowds than half of the barbecue joints in Austin? We’re sure a chemical dependency on caffeine makes up a small part of it. But the bigger part is the excellent coffees—with a rich, smooth flavor and a subtle, pleasant hint of acidity—that keeps people coming back time and again. If you’re a purist, try a bright, refreshing cold brew, or a drip coffee that’s better than half the pour overs in town. But if you want something more unique, the iced miso brown sugar latte is one of the single best ways we’ve found to start a morning. 

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

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Perfect For:Date Night

From the team behind Canje, Hestia, and Emmer & Rye comes Ezov, an upscale Mediterranean restaurant on East Cesar Chavez that’s basically a spiritual successor to the now-closed TLV (it’s from the same chef). Ezov is a little fancier, with a seasonal menu of dishes inspired by the Galilee region of northern Israel, and a space full of buzzy inner-city energy inspired by Tel Aviv. There’s even graffiti on the walls with the lyrics to Toxic by Britney Spears, in Hebrew. Start with the sigarim—AKA Moroccan cigars—packed full of savory, spiced sweetbreads and chicken hearts in a crispy fried shell, then get the DIY chicken shawarma and put your carving skills to the test.

From the team behind Suerte (and right next door to their other concept Este), it’s a bar, it’s a restaurant, it’s snacks, it’s drinks, it’s dinner. But most of all, it’s a brilliant neighborhood hang, with communal tables and counter height seating in a tiny-ish and energetic space. The menu is mainly Spanish tapas, including sharply executed croquetas, a Spanish tortilla, and Basque cheesecake. The curveball is the Mexican-ish “smashburgesa”—topped with griddled ham, american cheese, chipotle mayo, and escabeche relish. The drink menu bobs and weaves—like wine from a porron and not overly complicated classic cocktails. The only catch is that Bar Toti is only open on Friday and Saturday evenings, and it’s walk-in only, so maybe be prepared for a wait. It’s worth it.

If the name Veracruz sounds familiar, that’s probably because it’s become synonymous with migas and some of the best breakfast tacos in Austin. Now, the same team has a buzzy new all-day spot in Mueller. You can still get breakfast tacos here, but you should also dive into the expanded menu of dishes inspired by Veracruz, Mexico, like shrimp ceviche,  tender banana leaf pork tamales, and sauteed head-on shrimp doused in a rich and spicy chipotle salsa. There’s also a full bar here, so you can grab a “Muellerita” to really round out the views of Mueller lake at sunset.

Equal parts cocktail bar and cafe, Holiday on East 7th is a great patio spot. The bright and airy dining room is beautiful, too, but the outside feels like the backyard of some affluent designer-turned-restaurateur. The menu is made up mostly of small European-inspired plates that clearly spent some time in Texas, with dishes like Lonestar steamed mussel and boquerones with cultured butter. And while you could probably cobble together a meal out of a few small plates, this is mostly a place to grab a light bite and enjoy multiple rounds of cocktails, including a frozen Mexican martini served in a cactus glass.

Most of the time that we’re “dining at a gas station,” we’re really just grabbing a hot dog and a bag of Doritos. But right in the heart of West Campus, at the Shell gas station at 24th and Rio, you’ll find Wee’s Cozy Kitchen, a Malaysian restaurant operating out of a small open kitchen in the back (that also sells dishes like burgers, wings, and orange chicken). Grab an order of nasi lemak for a mound of creamy coconut milk rice with a fiery anchovy sambal to share, then work your way through the menu of rich curry laksas, wok-seared char kway teow, and a sweet, spicy beef rendang that falls apart with a touch of the fork.

Inside the food court at the grocery store Hana World Market in North Austin, Ramen Del Barrio is slinging out some of the most inventive Mexican-Japanese fusion dishes we’ve come across. Hardcore mole fans will enjoy plunging thick tsukemen noodles into a bowl of rich, chocolatey broth, and the yaki-tacos pair skewers of savory grilled beef tongue or pork belly with warm corn tortillas—just pull out the stick, fold, and enjoy. But the star of the show here is the carnitas tonkotsu bowl. The broth has all the creaminess of an excellent bowl of tonkotsu, plus tender chunks of slow-cooked pork belly and buche. Squeeze a lime over it all and it’s like eating the taco-ramen hybrid we never knew we needed.

With a hip hop-fueled playlist, dim red lights, and plenty of wine to go around, at Sammataro on West 10th Street you’ll  probably feel more like you’re waiting to get into a hot new nightclub than to take down some pizza. Go straight for the pies. They’re on the more well-done side, with a blistered crust and a soft center, kind of like a hybrid between a New York and Neapolitan pie. The pizzas here are pricey too, but a few bites of perfectly chewy crust feels like it eases the burn just a little. And if you’d rather eat at home, you can still grab takeout pies from their trailer on East 11th Street.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

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Mum Foods

Perfect For:Lunch

After years serving smoked meats at Austin-area farmers markets, Mum Foods finally opened a permanent location in Windsor Park. While the primary focus here is on pastrami, the added space means they’ve also branched out into other avenues of barbecue—including brisket, ribs, and turkey—creating a sort of hybrid between a Central Texas smokehouse and a New York Jewish deli (complete with matzo ball soup). But if it’s your first visit, grab an original pastrami sandwich on house-baked rye (there’s also a corned beef and a reuben) and prepare to share the massive second half with a dining partner.

Located in a busy shopping center in West Lake Hills, Baldinucci’s counter also doubles as a giant glass viewing area full of whole pizzas and pre-cut slices that allow you to window shop before pointing at the piece (or eight) that you want. The focus is split between a couple different pizza styles here, but it’s the puffy Roman square style we’re here for, with an incredible crunch and pillowy interior,  preferably topped with hand whipped ricotta and a pile of mushrooms.While the space has all the expected atmosphere of a strip mall pizza joint, you can also just get the slices to-go.

Bufalina, Austin's cool kid pizza-and-natural-wine spot in East Austin, is back and better than ever—with the same homey lo-fi bootstrapped vibes. In 2021 it closed to make way for a condo development, and now it has reopened, not far from the original on Cesar Chavez. The pizzas are classically Neapolitan (with the slightly yeasty dough), the wine list is as phenomenal as always, and there’s an expanded pasta menu (from the chef behind the recently closed Italian pop-up Le Cowboy). The biggest challenge is figuring out how many different kinds of pasta and pizza you’re going to order, and how many leftovers you’re going to take home.

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

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JewBoy Sliders

Perfect For:Late Night Eats

From the people behind JewBoy Burgers and JewBoy Subs comes the next, tinier step in sandwich evolution: sliders. Served out of a trailer parked in front of Violet Crown Social Club on East Sixth, here the sliders are done just the way we like them, with a thin, smashed, and griddled patty on a toasted potato roll. They’re small enough that you can eat a few of them, which is ideal since they come in a couple different varieties—including our favorite with grilled jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, and Hatch chile ranch. And just like at their big sibling burger restaurant, you can add a latke to any of the sliders (or get them on their own), which takes the whole thing to new crispy, potato-y heights. 

Parked next to Revival Coffee on East 7th, Pinches Tacos joins the ever-growing scene of East Austin tacos trucks with a menu that spans pretty much the entire tortilla-based spectrum, from breakfast tacos to birria tacos, and everything in between (plus tortas). And while there are a couple of more “classic” meat fillings—including grilled chicken and carne asada—it’s when they offer things like braised beef “trompo” al pastor or put beef bacon in their breakfast tacos that they fly to savory new heights. The trompo meat gets sliced into thick strips and griddled on every side to maximize the meat’s crispy-to-juicy ratio. We like it on the taco plate with five smaller tacos on double-wrapped fluffy corn tortillas, alongside a fiery roasted salsa.

Bringing an entirely new combination of flavors to Austin (and maybe the world?) is KG BBQ—a barbecue trailer specializing in Central Texas-style smoked meats with Egyptian and Mediterranean influences. That means dishes like sticky pomegranate glazed pork ribs, rich brisket shawarmas, and smoked lamb chops with za'atar. The brisket is seasoned a little more classic, but with expert-level preparation—and a side of tangy pomegranate barbecue sauce—we wouldn’t be surprised to one day find it in the ranks of the Austin barbecue juggernauts. The trailer is parked at Oddwood Brewing, so you can get some excellent beers to pair with it all.

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Suggested Reading

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