Austinites know a thing or two about Sunday brunch; in fact, it’s practically the official meal of the city. With a few breakfast options, a few lunch options and full permission to do a little day drinking, it combines the best of everything on a day when work is the last thing on anyone’s mind. Epicerie
, a new eatery in Central Austin, has perfected the art of offering a little of this and a little of that all week long at all times of day. Stop in and enjoy some local wine and cheese, a delectable array of pastries, a full meal or just a cup of coffee; it’s got something for everyone, including a serene little outdoor seating area for enjoying the perfect fall weather up ahead.
Sun 10:30am-3pm; M-Th 10:30am-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 10:30am-10:30pm
The time has finally arrived: one of Austin’s most highly-acclaimed and recognizable chefs, second perhaps only to BBQ maverick Aaron Franklin on the national culinary stage, has opened his own much-anticipated restaurant. Paul Qui, the Top Chef winner who rose to fame locally as the executive chef of Uchiko, is now welcoming hungry patrons at his eponymous hot spot, Qui
, for whimsical Texan-tinged Asian dishes like “Rabbit 7 Ways,” Filipino ceviche, and smoked baby squid, as well as desserts ranging from “qui” lime pie to a cheddar cheese ice cream sandwich that has to be consumed to be believed. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so plan for a long evening filled with an array of flavors that are well worth the wait.
Qui, 1600 East 6th Street (view menu online)
Mon-Thurs 5-10 pm, Fri-Sat 5-11 pm, closed Sunday
In a tex-mex, BBQ and gourmet-obsessed environment in which everybody’s got an opinion, a recommendation or a story about where to eat, a tried-and-true basic is often overlooked: the classic burger. Although Austin has its share of newfangled gourmand burger joints (Hopdoddy, anyone?), one neighborhood staple has stood for decades, serving up good old-fashioned char-grilled deliciousness in an unpretentious space that’s practically untouched by time. Step back into the late 70s/early 80s at Top Notch in north central Austin and order a simple cheeseburger and fries; while your cholesterol level might rise a bit, so will your taste buds… and your mood.
Top Notch, 7525 Burnet Road
Open 7 days a week, 11am-10pm
When a local restaurant brands itself with phrasing like “More meat. Bigger ideas.” you know they mean business and probably don’t specialize in salads. Sure enough, Man Bites Dog
offers no fewer than 15 meaty hot dogs with a wide array of toppings at its two locations. Try the Banh Mi, for instance, with pork sausage, peanut sauce, cucumber, carrots, jalapenos and cilantro, or the Buffalo Hottie, with a beef frank, bleu cheese crumbles, buffalo sauce and green onions. And if that’s not enough to satisfy your appetite, there’s always a heaping helping of tater tots, hand-cut fries or — of course — ice cream to sink your teeth into. If that’s not a recipe for happiness, we don’t know what is.
Man Bites Dog‘s two locations:
5222 Burnet Road and 3005 South Lamar
Sun-Thurs 11 am-9 pm. Fri-Sat 11 am – 10 pm
As much as we love a good square meal around here, and as much of a reputation as Austin is garnering as an up-and-coming foodie paradise with all its Tex-Mex, barbecue and farm-to-table inventiveness, Italian fare just isn’t something we’re known for. Although we’ve already shared one of the city’s best kept secrets in the realm of pizza (The Backspace at 5th and San Jacinto), we’ve since uncovered another respectable trattoria: Asti at Duval Street and 43rd. Its simple, straightforward menu of antipasti, pizza and pasta doesn’t disappoint. Try the daily risotto with a glass of Chianti; it’s a dinner fit for The Godfather indeed. That’s Italian!
Asti Trattoria, 408 East 43rd Street
Mon-Thurs 11a-10p, Fri 11a-11p, Sat 5-11p (happy hour M-F, 4-6p)