The 6 Places You Have to Try for Austin Restaurant Week

Austin Restaurant Week is finally here! This twice-yearly event happens in the spring and fall, and the springtime event will be Sundays through Wednesdays, May 11-14 and 18-21. This year’s prix-fixe menus include $12-$17 for two-course lunches (though, I admit, I didn’t see any $12 lunches on the site), $17 brunch, and $27-$37 for three-course dinners.

Austinites like to do everything different, including Restaurant Week, so not only does this fine week of eating boast its own app, it also is primarily a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels and More, a service that cares for home-bound older adults. In the five years that Austin Restaurant Week has been running, the event has managed to raise over $72,000, so keep the trend going and eat heartily: for every meal you purchase, $2 will be donated to Meals on Wheels and More.

Not sure where to eat? Here are my 6 top picks.

Russian House NaZadorovye ($37 Dinner)

The Russian House NaZadorovye is offering a feast for Restaurant Week, and you should also know that they have over 70 house-infused Russian vodkas available at the bar. For dinner I’ll be ordering the Meat Delicacy appetizer, a platter that includes Hungarian salami, beef tongue, house-smoked beef and pork, all served with homemade mustard and horseradish. For my entree, I’ll order the Chicken Tabaka, which, the Russian House NaZadorovye claims, is the “legendary Soviet dish!” The Chicken Tabaka is made of a whole chicken that is marinated in garlic and wine sauce, then pan-fried in its own juices under a heavy press. It’s served with grilled vegetables and adjika sauce (which is a Slavic hot sauce that is used on everything). For dessert, I’ll be ordering the Babushka Rosa, a rich, hard chocolate fudge served with walnuts and biscuits. 307 E. 5th Street | 512.428.5442

Mulberry ($27 Dinner)

Mulberry’s fun options sound delicious, so for my appetizer, I’ll be ordering the Devils on Horseback, which has mission figs, gorgonzola, and peppered bacon. The Red Fish entree sounds like the perfect blend of sweet and savory, with artichoke, oregano oil, candied grapefruit, and a pecan crumble. For dessert, I can’t resist the Sweet Potato Creme Brûlée. Mulberry is also known for their carefully curated wine selection, so be prepared to order a bottle or two while you’re dining. 360 Nueces #20 | 512.320.0297

Siena Ristorante Toscana ($17 Lunch)

For an under-$20 lunch, the menu at Siena Ristorante Toscana is a steal. I’m going to order the Bruschetta al Cinghiale appetizer, with Chianti-braised wild boar shoulder served with a wood-grilled homemade baguette. For my decadent lunch entree, I have to have the the Walnut Crusted Chicken Breast, which is served with a crimini mushroom/sage cream sauce, rosemary roasted potatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash. 6203 Cap. of Tx. Hwy. N. Bldg. B | 512.349.7667

Olivia ($37 Dinner)

Olivia was voted one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America, and has a killer Restaurant Week menu. Their most irresistible appetizer is the Grilled Romaine, with buffalo octopus (yeah, you read that right), celery, wild ramp ranch, and red chili oil. For my entree course, I’ll be ordering the Babyback Ribs, which boast a sarsparilla and watermelon glaze, as well as sichuan, baby potatoes, and kewpie mayo. Not enough? I’ll also be getting the Beggar’s Purse dessert, which holds apple, mint, matcha, and almond cake. 4023 S. Lamar | 512.804.2700

Trace ($17 Brunch)

Trace’s brunch includes drinks and lavishly decadent options. For my order, I’ll be starting with a Bloody Mary, then I’ll follow it up with the Trace Benedict entree, which has poached eggs and house-cured bacon, served on a buttermilk biscuit, and topped with hollandaise sauce. Bloody Mary and hollandaise? Yeah, if you’re being decadent, you need to go all the way. That’s why I’ll finish my brunch with a luscious, included dessert: the Fried Candy Bar, house-made and filled with rice crisps, salted caramel, and dark chocolate, and served with warm dipping sauces. 200 Lavaca Street | 512.542.3660

Salty Sow ($37 Dinner)

The Salty Sow focuses their offerings on hand-crafted meats, sourced from local farms. Their Restaurant Week offerings are yet another success. For my appetizer, I’ll have to order the Truffled Deviled Eggs, which are served with Salty Sow bacon and chives. The Candied Pork Belly sounds like a delicious entree, especially considering that it’s served with collard greens and soy balsamic syrup. For dessert, I’ll have to keep the dinner trend going and order the other type of truffle: Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake. 1917 Manor Road | 512.391.2337

I recommend that you check out all of these restaurants during the two weeks of Austin Restaurant Week, but if you’re hesitant to go out six times in only two weeks, remember that this week of delicious food only comes twice a year, and also remember that $2 of every meal that you purchase during Austin Restaurant Week goes straight to Meals on Wheels and More. If you go out to each of these restaurants once, you will have eaten delicious food and given $12 to charity. If you bring a friend to dine with you, you’ll have donated $24. It’s all for a good cause, so make sure to live it up this spring. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll see me at the next table.

Photo licensed by Michael Davis-Burchat