Searching for the Best Dish in Austin

When it comes to dinner time in Austin, there’s no need to get stuck in a food rut. With over 1,000 restaurants to choose from, any particular craving can be satisfied. Here, ORANGE’s Food and Drink staff dishes on their favorite meals in Austin. You can follow along on the interactive map above. 

Melyssa Fairfield - Smoked Duck Diablos from Hudson’s on the Bend

On a nice dinner out for your best friend’s birthday, or simply for a “treat yourself” kind of night, Hudson’s on the Bend is the place to dine. When I dine at this snazzy steakhouse, I can’t start my feast without having the Smoked Duck Diablos appetizer.

As described on the menu, the duck is cooked with balsamic-infused jicama, jalapeños and figs, all wrapped tightly in applewood smoked bacon and finished with a red-chili glaze dipping sauce. A little bit of spice in the chili glaze sauce and the jalapeño inside the diablo adds another level to make this appetizer hit every flavor note.

Hudson’s on the Bend
3509 Ranch Rd 620 N
Austin, TX 78734

Darby Kendall - Chloe’s Crepe from Le Café Crepe

When I am in the mood for something sweet or just need that extra sugar to jumpstart my full day of studying, I crave Chloe’s Crepe from Le Café Crepe. With warm nutella, strawberries and vanilla ice cream on top, this French pastry is a perfect pick-me-up for any dessert lover.

I love the crepes because they are simple but delicious. The large menu, ranging from savory to sweet crepes, leaves any grumble of hunger satisfied. And the prices are all within a college student’s budget, which is a perfect plus to this tiny café.

Le Café Crepe
200 San Jacinto Blvd
Austin, TX 78701

Charlotte Burnod - Mr. Natural Burger from Mr. Natural

When it comes to eating burgers in Austin, there is no doubt in anyone’s minds that they will be going to Hopdoddy’s or P. Terrys. But if you are on a health kick, or are simply craving a delicious veggie burger, I recommend the Mr. Natural Burger from Mr. Natural.

The Mr. Natural burger is your classic burger with a homemade soy patty served with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sprouts, pickles, mustard and mayo on homemade organic whole wheat bread. Even if you are not vegetarian, one bite at Mr. Natural's, and you'll forget about meat.

Mr. Natural
1901 E. Cesar Chavez St.
Austin, TX 78702

2414 S. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704

Sarah Roberts - Strozzapreti from NoRTH Italia Restaurant

After a long day of class, sometimes all you need is good Italian comfort food. For my Italian fix, I love the strozzapreti from NoRTH Italia Restaurant.

Strozzapreti is a medley of homemade pasta, chicken, roasted mushrooms, spinach, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cream all stirred together to create a succulent dish.

In a city where barbecue and Tex-Mex rank number one, good Italian food can go unnoticed. Next time your appetite is calling for a good, home-cooked Italian meal, don’t hesitate to try NoRTH’s strozzapreti.

NoRTH Italia Restaurant
The Domain 
11506 Century Oaks Terrace #124
Austin, TX 78758

Jenna Meltzer - Crispy Cauliflower Taco from Fork & Taco

As an out-of-state student from Pennsylvania, I didn’t know how popular tacos were in Texas. After living here for two years, I have developed an obsession. My favorite food in Austin is the crispy cauliflower taco from Fork & Taco.

The crispy cauliflower taco consists of a homemade corn tortilla topped with Mexican street corn, roasted cauliflower, avocado and cilantro. In just one bite of the taco, you get a blend of spice from the street corn, creaminess from the avocado and crunchiness from the cauliflower.

The crispy cauliflower taco is unique, healthy, and delicious.

Fork & Taco
4801 Burnet Rd
Austin, TX 78756

Caroline Richardson - Kale Scramble from Cenoté

On a bright Sunday morning, every student loves to get a good brunch in before they begin a long day of studying. For something healthy and light that will energize you for hours, I recommend the kale scramble from Cenoté.

This hearty dish consists of scrambled eggs, kale, tomatoes, and onion, with goat cheese crumbles and sliced avocado on top. Although it is a fairly big portion, I continually find myself scraping up the last morsels of goat cheese and practically licking the plate clean — it is just that good.

1010 E. Cesar Chavez
Austin, TX 78702

Nina Hua - Meat Lover’s Pizza from Mandola’s Italian Restaurant

All pizza lovers know that the best place to go for a pie is from an authentic Italian restaurant. Even though all pizzas from this restaurant are to die for, I found my favorite the meat lovers’ pizza.

Perfect to share with friends, this pizza strikes a perfect balance between the meat and sauce. The meat lovers’ consists of a cheese base with meatballs, Sicilian fennel sausage, pancetta, pepperoni and red peppers piled on top. All of the ingredients are fresh, natural and of the highest quality what more you can you ask for in a perfect pizza?

It leaves your stomach filled and satisfied, and the $13 price leaves your wallet happy, too.

Mandola’s Italian Market
4700 West Guadalupe St., #12
Austin, TX 78751

Ashley Lopez - Crème Brulée French Toast from Chez Zee

If you haven’t tried the award-winning crème brulée French toast from Chez Zee, you are missing out on a life-changing experience. This delectable treat is my favorite breakfast to have in Austin.

This French toast is amplified to the highest level — the chewy challah bread is soaked in a crème brulee mixture overnight, and then toasted to order. It is so sweet and moist, it’s like having dessert for breakfast.

Chez Zee American Bistro
5406 Balcones Drive
Austin, TX 78731

Kristen Hubby- Tonkotsu Sho-Yu from Ramen Tatsu-ya

When my stomach is rumbling for some authentic Japanese comfort food from Austin’s first Ramen restaurant, Ramen Tatsu-ya, I know exactly what to order the Tonkotsu Sho-Yu.

Consisting of soy sauce blend, soy-braised pork belly, marinated soft-boiled egg, marinated bamboo shoot, crushed peppercorns, scallions and roasted seaweed, this heavenly dish leaves your mouth bursting with flavors.

Ramen Tatsu-ya has gained national popularity, so if you are wanting to have a party in your mouth, arrive early. Lines are typically out the door.

Ramen Tatsu-ya
8557 Research Blvd. #126
Austin, TX 78758

1234 S. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704

Alejandra Martinez - Any type of pancake from Kerbey Lane Café

It is needless to say that if you go to UT, you have been to Kerbey Lane Cafe and tried their famous pancakes.

Some say it is over hyped, but the pancakes here are phenomenal. I have tried the buttermilk, apple wheat, blueberry and pumpkin pancakes, and all of them have a richness that makes my mouth water.

Kerbey Lane cooks up buttermilk, gingerbread, apple whole wheat and blueberry pancakes 24 hours a day for all those random cravings. They even offer weekly and  vegan flavors for any pancake lover’s taste buds.

Kerbey Lane Café
2606 Guadalupe St.
Austin, TX 78705

Check out their other locations at their website:

Tierra Neubaum- Primetime Burger from Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Hopdoddy is a staple in Austin just drive by the restaurant, and you’ll see a line wrapped around the building just to get a table. But no line is long enough to stop me from ordering the Primetime Burger from my favorite burger bar.

The Primetime Burger consists of Texas Akaushi beef — which is healthier than regular beef and is an Austin staple brie cheese, truffle aioli, arugula, caramelized onions and steak sauce, all between delicious whole-wheat buns.

When I order my burger, I change it to my liking. I have my meat grilled to medium rare — it’s normal to eat Akaushi Beef at that temperature. I also substitute brie cheese for goat cheese.

If you have not tried the Primetime Burger from Hopdoddy yet, definitely make that a top priorityyou won’t be let down.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar
1400 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78704

2438A W. Anderson Lane
Austin, Texas 78757