2012 Austin Food Blogger Favorites

By March 5, 2012General

In early 2012, we asked members of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance to fill out a survey about their favorite eats and drinks in Austin. Those that filled out the survey first had the opportunity to write a blog post about the category of their choice, to be shared in the 2012 Austin City Guide.

A total of 53 members of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance filled out the 43 category survey, with 45 members pitching in to write over 65 posts for the Austin City Guide. As of this blog post writing, there are currently 107 members of the Alliance. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a member, click here.

The following businesses placed in the top four in multiple categories:

  • Contigo and Uchiko — six categories
  • Foreign & Domestic, La Condesa, and Uchi — four categories
  • Asti, Hopfields, Fonda San Miguel, Justine’s, The Peached Tortilla, Polvos, and Second Bar & Kitchen — three categories
  • 24 Diner, Apothecary, Bar Congress, Blue Dahlia, Carillon, Casa de Luz, Counter Cafe, Curra’s, East Side King, Elizabeth Street Cafe, Hai Ky, Jack Allen’s, Kerbey Lane, Kome, Lamberts, Perla’s, The Tigress, Trudy’s, Veggie Heaven, Vino Vino, Vivo, Wasota African Cuisine, Whip in and Wink —  two categories

And without further ado, here are the 2012 Austin Food Blogger Favorites:

New Bar/Lounge

  1. Bar Congress
  2. Hopfields
  3. TIE: ContigoDive BarThe Living Room at the W, and The Tigress

New Food Trailer

  1. Peached Tortilla
  2. TIE: Three Little Pigs, The Seedling Truck, and Wasota African Cuisine

New Restaurant

  1. TIE: Contigo and Kome

Asian Fusion

  1. TIE: East Side King and Uchiko
  2. TIE: Chi’Lantro and Uchi
  3. TIE: Hai Ky and The Peached Tortilla


  1. Evangeline
  2. Nubian Queen Lola’s Cajun Soul Food Cafe
  3. Gumbo’s
  4. Sambets (Closed due to fire)


  1. Din Ho Chinese BBQ
  2. Asia Cafe
  3. A+A Sichuan
  4. TIE: Ho Ho Chinese BBQ and Rice Bowl Cafe


  1. Justine’s
  2. Chez Nous


  1. Clay Pit
  2. G’raj Mahal
  3. TIE: Tarka and Whip in
  4. Bombay Bistro


  1. Asti
  2. TIE: Mandola’s and Vespaio
  3. TIE: Enoteca Vespaio and La Traviata
  4. Cipollina


  1. Kome
  2. Uchiko
  3. Uchi


  1. Korea House
  2. TIE: Coreanos and Koriente


  1. Fonda San Miguel
  2. La Condesa
  3. TIE: Polvos and Sazon
  4. TIE: El Naranjo and El Taquito


  1. Maudie’s
  2. TIE: Curra’s, Matt’s El Rancho, Polvos, Trudy’s
  3. TIE: Chuy’s, Enchiladas Y Mas, Guero’s, Habanero


  1. Titaya’s
  2. Madam Mam’s
  3. Thai Fresh


  1. Sunflower
  2. Tam Deli
  3. TIE: Elizabeth Street Cafe, Hai Ky, Pho Dan
  4. Baguette House

BBQ in Austin

  1. Franklin Barbecue
  2. TIE: Lamberts, Ruby’s, Rudy’s, and JMueller

BBQ Outside of Austin

  1. Salt Lick
  2. Louis Mueller
  3. Smitty’s
  4. TIE: Kreuz and Luling City Market


  1. Hopdoddy
  2. P. Terry’s
  3. Mighty Fine
  4. TIE: Burger Tex, Casino el Camino, Counter Cafe, and Hopfields


  1. Uchiko
  2. TIE: CarillonLa Condesa, and Second Bar & Kitchen

Frozen Treat

  1. Amy’s
  2. Lick
  3. Teo
  4. TIE: Bananarchy, Central Market, Coolhaus, and Sweet Ritual

Breakfast Taco

  1. Tacodeli
  2. Torchy’s
  3. TIE: Tamale House and Whole Foods


  1. Home Slice
  2. Salvation
  3. TIE: Backspace, Bola, and House Pizza


  1. Noble Pig
  2. Food Heads
  3. Fricanos


  1. Perla’s
  2. Quality Seafood
  3. Eddie V’s
  4. TIE: Deckhand Oyster Bar and Wink

Gluten-Free Friendly

  1. TIE: Snap Kitchen and Z’Tejas


  1. Leaf
  2. Alamo Drafthouse
  3. TIE: Blue Dahlia and Fogo de Chao

Vegan Dishes

  1. TIE: Casa de Luz and Counter Culture
  2. TIE: Beets Cafe and Veggie Heaven


  1. Casa de Luz
  2. TIE: Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse and Eastside Cafe
  3. TIE: Mother’s, Swad, Veggie Heaven


  1. Foreign & Domestic
  2. Olivia
  3. South Congress Cafe
  4. TIE: Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse, Contigo, Fonda San Miguel, Jack Allen’s, Lamberts

Date Spot

  1. TIE: Foreign & Domestic and Justine’s
  2. TIE: Asti and Uchiko
  3. TIE: Parkside and Uchi


  1. 24 Diner
  2. Counter Cafe
  3. TIE: Foreign & Domestic and Kerbey Lane

Fine Dining

  1. TIE: Congress and Uchiko
  2. Uchi
  3. Carillon
  4. FINO

Neighborhood Bistro

  1. Foreign & Domestic (North Loop)
  2. TIE: Blue Dahlia(East Austin) and Asti (Hyde Park)
  3. TIE: Apothecary (Central Austin), Bess (Downtown), Cipollina (Clarksville) and Elizabeth Street Cafe (South Austin)
  4. Vino Vino (Central Austin)


  1. Contigo
  2. Vivo
  3. Perla’s
  4. TIE: Paggi House and Red’s Porch


Downtown Austin Food Trailer

  1. The Peached Tortilla
  2. TIE: Jalopy, Kebabilicious, and Lucky’s Puccias

East Austin Food Trailer

  1. East Side King
  2. Bits and Druthers
  3. Love Balls
  4. TIE: Arlo’s and Three Little Pigs

South Austin Food Trailer

  1. TIE: Gourdough’s and Luke’s Inside Out
  2. TIE: La Boite, Lulu B’s, The Mighty Cone, Wasota African Cuisine


  1. The Draughthouse
  2. Hopfields
  3. Whip in
  4. TIE: Black Star Coop, The Ginger Man


  1. Peche
  2. The Tigress
  3. TIE: Bar Congress and Second Bar & Kitchen
  4. TIE: Contigo and East Side Show Room


  1. Caffe Medici
  2. Houndstooth
  3. jo’s
  4. TIE: Summermoon, Thunderbird

Happy Hour

  1. La Condesa
  2. TIE: Parkside, TRIO, Uchiko
  3. TIE: Contigo, Paggi House


  1. La Condesa
  2. TIE: Curra’s and Polvos
  3. TIE: Fonda San Miguel, Jack Allen’s, Trudy’s, Vivo

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

  1. Juiceland
  2. TIE: Austin Java and Daily Juice


  1. Vino Vino
  2. Apothecary
  3. House Wine
  4. TIE: Second Bar & Kitchen, Uncorked, and Wink

24-hour or Late-Night Restaurant

  1. 24 Diner
  2. Kerbey Lane
  3. TIE: Justine’s and Magnolia
  4. Max’s Wine Dive

Which of the groups picks to you agree with? Where do you think we got it wrong? Please do keep in mind that 53 people participated in the survey, and we by no means represent all of Austin, nor is our opinion the last word on the best eats and drinks in town. Feel free to comment here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter — use the #atxfoodguide hashtag and/or mention us @atxfoodblogs.

Join the discussion 31 Comments

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  • Aaron C. says:

    Good list. But Tacodeli might be one of the worst places to get BREAKFAST tacos. Great tacos otherwise. But those mashed/whipped/whatever potatoes suck in breakfast tacos. Torchy’s has great potatoes. Whole Foods is great for vegan breakfast tacos. Also, I love La Cocina de Consuelo’s breakfast tacos.

    • austinfoodbloggers says:

      Thanks for weighing in, Aaron!

    • Mike says:

      Agreed, Aaron. Definitely DON’T like those whipped potatoes. Combined with the eggs, it’s just one big roll of mush. Whole Foods is my vote for best breakfast taco, with close runner ups from Bacon and Torchy’s.

    • Michelle says:

      The spicy mashed potatoes are my favorite part of Tacodeli’s breakfast tacos. And their Dona sauce makes just about everything taste better. I agree with you that La Cocina de Consuelo’s has pretty awesome breakfast tacos and I love that you get to watch Consuelo make it right before your eyes.

    • Eli Castro says:

      Gotta say I’m with you on that one Aaron. Tacodeli is nothing if not divisive (not through any fault of their own – they have hearts of gold). Some people love the papas, some people (me included), don’t. I like TacoDeli for the non-potato varieties, but my new favorite is Senior Buddy’s, a Curra’s outpost down off 290 west of town.

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  • where is swad says:

    Srsly, how is clay pit #1 of indian and swad is delegated to a tie for #3 in vegetarian?

  • Austin Greg says:

    The Alliance 53 should try Billy’s on Burnet for Beer, Burgers , Patio, Sandwich and believe it or not Vegetarian categories. It’s Austin and wonderful. Not to say we shouldn’t all drink high priced wine all the time, but mix beer and a local non chain burger in too folks. I suggest Opal Divine, Dog and Duck for several of these categories as well… For the “Asian Fusion” or Thai Or Chinese try some Peony, Thai Noodle House, Satay, too. How about Shalimar for Indian?

  • Andrea says:

    I love this list, but I’m pretty disappointed with the Tex Mex selections… I know locals love Maudie’s, but they don’t make their own Tortillas! In my book, that’s a requirement for top Tex-Mex.

    • austinfoodbloggers says:

      Thanks, Andrea! What would you have liked to see included? Also, do you have a list of places that make their own tortillas?

    • Hilah says:

      I also really like Vivo. I don’t know about their tortillas because I only ever get the awesome puffy tacos. And fresh margaritas.

    • Tiffany says:

      I agree. Maudie’s is just so-so to me. I like their breakfast more than dinner or lunch. That being said … their margaritas are really good.

    • Andie says:

      For Tex-Mex you have to venture to the Eastside! How about Juan in a Million for breakfast tacos? Or El Azteca?! The Tex-Mex in this survey is all very “white bread” for lack of a better term. I’m sure there are a few other hole in the wall spots I’m missing but I am pretty sure that Maudie’s and Chuy’s are not the best Austin has to offer. If you want some amazing Tex Mex drive down to San Marcos and hit up Herberts or Garcias.

  • Mark H. says:

    I just ate at Foodheads for the first time the other day. I live South but a friend suggested it for lunch. It was an amazing sandwich and the location is super quaint and relaxing. I would also recommend Bacon over off Lamar, their burgers are really yummy, and it’s called Bacon so…ya know. If you’re in South Austin and need a sandwich craving filled, I also recommend Tucci’s for their warm sandwiches. They have one called the Poultarian that is amazing. It just melts in your mouth. Another category I’d love to see in this contest, or a sub rating in each winner measure, is good for family dining or not. Often I see recommendations online for great food, atmosphere, etc, then we get there and its not appropriate for our two year old, or our 6 month old. For various reasons, (loud, cramped, extremely quiet, etc…) So anyway, maybe of the winners announced in each category one could be picked as “best for family dining in this category”. Then I might go try number 3 before number 1 if that’s the best option for us. Thanks for the list!!!

  • Can’t tell you how much I love to hear input from the world surrounding our little blogosphere. Keep ’em coming, folks.

  • Austin Blues says:

    Asti as the best Italian?.. I will say that I enjoy my lunches there, since their polenta bowls are just great. However, the couple of times I had dinner, they couldn’t cook a decent risotto to save their lives. A real shocker was Vespaio and Mandola as a tie?.. that to me is like comparing Fonda San Miguel to Taco Bell. Incredibly average food at Mandola’s where as Vespaio is creative, fresh and delicious. Last time in, I enjoyed their soft-shell crab risotto, which simply was hands down the best meal I have ever had in Austin to date. Two soft-shell crabs the size of my hand and a creamy, soft and flavorful risotto was perfect and just not available anywhere else in Austin, especially not at Asti or Mandola’s…

  • Melissa says:

    UGH!! What a predictable list and some very questionable entries too. Clay Pit for Indian??? Are you kidding me?!?!? Ask any Indian in town, and they’ll tell you that’s one of the worst, non-authentic places. BBQ outside of Austin, and no Snows??? Wow…bloggers, you need help. Stick with your day jobs, please!

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  • Callie says:

    you might want to update the Foreign and Domestic listing under brunch because their website says they’re only open for dinner…

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  • Andy says:

    I couldn’t disagree any more with your top 3 new bars. Bar Congress and Hopfields? Those places are both WAY overpriced. As in if you want a good ambiance to enjoy a reasonably priced drink, they are still overpriced. Dive Bar is great. Add Chicago House and Gourdough’s Public House (Craft Pride gets honorable mention, even more so now that Via 313 is out back) and you have a deal. I disagree with you on the best “bar” front, but you are spot on with most restaurants.

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