October 21, 2015
By Matthew Odam
Vision, innovation, collaboration and passion have long fueled Austin’s creative spirit. Those qualities are also propelling the city’s best chefs, who garner more local devotees and national attention each year.
It’s an exciting and rewarding time to be a diner in Austin. The city’s competitive dining scene is almost unrecognizable from the one of a decade ago. Only two of the restaurants in this year’s Top 25 have been around longer than 10 years, and about half of them opened within the past five years. Seven of the Top 25 opened since last year’s dining guide.
None of which is to imply that newness alone qualified a restaurant to make the list. The restaurants that separated themselves from the rest of Austin’s dining universe did so thanks to their execution and commitment to quality, craftsmanship and service. They are restaurants with decisive points of view and identifiable personalities, regardless of price points or cuisine.
I visited all of these restaurants (and dozens more) at least once since last October, and restaurants had to have opened by July 1 of this year to be considered. Of course, this is all just one (well-fed and humble) man’s opinion. I hope it inspires you to try new places, visit old ones and give me a piece of your mind, which you can do via email (email@example.com), phone (512-912-5986) or Twitter (@odam).
#25: Swift's Attic
315 CONGRESS AVE.
This restaurant pumps and prances like a dance club, but the food means business. The kitchen can do light and simple — a seasonal fig salad or grilled cauliflower with lemon — as well as it does complex and robust — seared scallops with roasted sunchoke, pepper coulis and pickled peppercorn chimichurri. Flavors swing from South Texas (puffy tacos) to East Asia (Korean barbecue flank steak with jumeok bap cake), and executive chef Zack Northcutt loves to experiment with burgers.