Festival season in Austin kicks off with South By Southwest, the massive, 10-day convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Downtown doubles in size with the influx of attendees from across the States and around the world. And while there’s plenty of amazing new acts, ideas, and technologies to discover, we all know the food is one of the major attractions of the Lone Star State’s capital. Since you’ll have plenty of options all the breakfast tacos and barbecue you can eat, we’re highlighting four new Texan SXSW restaurants that are absolutely worth a try — if you can get a break between sessions.
This inventive bistro from Texas Chef Tim Love draws inspiration from Western cuisine with bold flavors. Starting with the spit-roasted fettine (small bites) through the main courses and hand-cut steaks, the menu is a wild game-heavy one that promises to delight carnivores. Though it’s hard to choose the best dishes, standouts include the duck and rabbit-rattlesnake sausage fettine, succulent wild boar ribs, the juicy roasted garlic stuffed beef tenderloin, seared Colorado lamb chop, and the flavor intense burnt carrots. Make a reservation at Lonesome Dove.
Revival Public House
The restaurant formerly known as Crave has transformed into a spacious pub serving Texas-inspired fare with nods to neighboring Southern food havens. Their extensive small plates offer innovative twists such as Kimchi Frito Pie, house-pickled zucchini, and red fish tacos. The ‘737’ Burger is garnished with creamy pimiento cheese and decadent bacon jam. The pork carnitas steak offers a big-flavored twist on the traditional Mexican dish. And don’t forget to order up a frosty mug of chilly hops and barley: Their extensive beer menu is curated from a wide variety of local craft brewers. Make a reservation at Revival Public House.
Stella San Jac
Inside the newly opened Westin, Stella San Jac’s focus is comfort food revised with New Texan flavors. The perfectly seared Berkshire pork chop sits on Brussels sprouts kicked-up with candied jalapeños. The Stella burger is crowned with tangy BBQ mayo and frizzled onions. Creamy fried avocado salad is balanced with Cholula ranch and esquite-styled charred corn. Legend has it that the flaky, #16 biscuits are named for the number of times the recipe was revised to perfection. Make a reservation at Stella San Jac.
Progressive Southern supper with Texas and Louisiana flair is served with a heaping side of ambiance in this stunning downtown spot. Fresh, warm biscuits are baked to order, and the tangy potato salad is garnished with a tiny taste of pig’s blood gelee. Make sure not to miss the chicken, which is fried to crispy perfection and accompanied by a bed of sautéed kale. Head over to the grits section and let the good times roll with the sublime Gulf shrimp and grits, which are crowned with a sprinkling of salty bottarga. Make a reservation at Fixe.
Are you headed to #SXSW? So is OpenTable! Find out what we’re up to during the festival by following us on Instagram — and tag us in all your favorite food photos from restaurants on the network.
Christy Goldfeder is a writer and world traveler living in Austin, TX. She’s not afraid of street foods and has eaten at night markets around the world without getting food poisoning. When not seeing live music, she’s sampling the best of Austin’s latest food offerings. Follow her on Instagram: @clgink
Photo credits: Aimee Wenske (Lonesome Dove).