Sep 07, 2016 09:32AM
● By Ashley Pape
In your younger years, a trip to Austin might have involved spending the majority of your time on Sixth Street listening to local bands and having the time of your carefree, mortgage-free life. But these days, you will probably find yourself wandering the city streets looking to fill your belly more than wet your whistle. Discover four great Austin restaurants worth a visit on your next road trip south.
Clark’s Oyster Bar
1200 West Sixth Street
Located in the Old West Austin district of the Lone Star’s capitol, you’ll find Clark’s Oyster Bar, a small neighborhood joint offering some of the city’s best seafood. The striped yellow awning and seaside-town façade at Clark’s make it stand out among the other restaurants that line West Sixth Street. Whether you choose to dine indoors or alfresco on the patio, there’s no denying the casual and cozy atmosphere throughout. Open for brunch, lunch, happy hour and dinner, Clark’s is a can’t-miss seafood restaurant to put on your list of Austin favorites.
The oysters at Clark’s hail from the Northern Pacific state of Washington and the upper Northern Atlantic states famous for their seafood. Known for its house-made breads, burgers and lobster rolls, the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menu will have you hooked. But we’ve heard stories about Clark’s desserts that aren’t just embellished fish tales. The restaurant’s famous Key Lime Tart is made from torched meringue, toasted coconut and lime zest. Another favorite is the Basque Cake (cherry preserves, cream cheese ice cream and Marcona almonds).
Matt’s Famous El Rancho
2613 South Lamar Boulevard
In Texas, a city’s roundup of restaurants is only as good as its best Tex-Mex eateries. You’ve hit the jackpot in Austin! With more than 100 Mexican/Tex-Mexican restaurants located in the city limits, it was more than challenging to settle on just one. We sought out Austin originals and restaurants that have seen the city grow into the big shoes it had to fill as the capitol city of our great state. In the end, we chose to recommend Matt’s Famous El Rancho’s made-from-scratch salsa and tortillas.
When Matt and Janie Martinez opened the Tex-Mex eatery more than 60 years ago, there was seating for 40. Now, Matt’s Famous El Rancho has room for 500. Still family-owned and -operated, the restaurant’s atmosphere is casual and friendly. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Matt’s has received accolades and reached the top of many a list when it comes to its food. If you’re up for a daily dinner special, try Thursday’s Shrimp Mojo de Ajo: six grilled jumbo Gulf shrimp served with avocado salad, veggie rice, grilled vegetables and black beans. Or if you just want to relax on the patio, we suggest you pair Matt’s Knockout Martini with a batch of freshly made corn tortilla chips and the restaurant’s epic queso.
801 Red River
Stubb’s Bar-B-Q may be a city favorite, but it’s not native to Austin. It turns out Lubbock, Texas, isn’t just about tumbleweeds and Texas Tech—it’s also the birthplace of Stubb’s Bar-B-Q. Although the doors of the west Texas location have long been closed, Austin’s outpost is alive and kicking with crazy-great meats, ice-cold beer and plenty of live music listening opportunities. The restaurant has become much more than an eatery; it’s an iconic venue in Austin. Although people may say they come for the live entertainment, we’re pretty sure it’s the barbecue that keeps ’em coming.
Stubb’s brisket and beans may be just about as barbecue basic as you can get, but it’s anything but simple in taste. The restaurant uses house-made rubs, locally grown post oak for smoking and hand-selected cuts of meat that include beef, chicken, turkey and pork—all smoked daily onsite. The menu features all-you-can-eat, family-style dining, combo plates, salads and sandwiches. And, as to be expected, all side items, from the slaw to the mashed sweet potatoes, are made fresh on the premises as well.
Voodoo Doughnut V
212 East Sixth Street
Performing wedding ceremonies is not why the founders of Voodoo Doughnut got into the business of baking pastries. Two friends who simply wanted to start a business together did some soul searching and settled on doughnuts. However, if you want to get married at any of the five U.S. locations, legally, you can. But let’s assume you are more in the mood for good Austin (eclectic) food than you are to tie the knot. A trip to Voodoo Doughnut V, so-named for being the fifth store to open and also the only Austin location, is in order. Adorned with chandeliers and voodoo-esque images on walls and windows, this 24/7 restaurant is set up to allow patrons to dine in or grab their dough to go.
And, oh, what dough there is to be had! While the doughnut itself is a palate-pleasing pastry, it mainly serves as a blank canvas for the magic that must take place to create the works of art Voodoo Doughnut treats truly are. From the basic chocolate-covered cake or powdered sugar doughnut to the Captain Crunch-covered treat, Voodoo Doughnut has a creation to match your breakfast pastry personality. Whether it’s topped with cereal, lemonade powder or bacon, each one is a uniquely named edible masterpiece. For a full visual list of doughnuts, visit the restaurant’s website. But we must warn you, some of the doughnuts are adult-only themed.