6 Quintessential Texas Restaurants
The Lone Star State is known for many things, including its longtime culinary traditions. From Tex Mex to barbecue to steaks, its food offers something for every taste. Here, in no particular order, are some eateries serving up both classic Texas dishes and innovative global cuisine.
Starting off the list at #1 is Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery in San Antonio. Co-founded by chef Jeff Balfour, the eatery features the coastal dishes of his Galveston upbringing combined with Southern cuisine and a curated, seasonally shifting menu. Favorites include Gulf oysters, grilled and wood oven roasted ribeye with bacon glace and horseradish cream, and deviled eggs.
Located in the historic Pearl Brewhouse, Southerleigh serves lunch and dinner, and features a brunch menu on the weekends with such items as Southern fried chicken and waffles and braised country ham benedict with jalapeno corn bread and locally sourced eggs. The restaurant also houses a custom manufactured brewery with multiple beers on tap. Among the media outlets to feature it include Eater Austin, the Houston Chronicle, TripSavvy, and Texas Monthly.
At #2 is Ziziki's Restaurant, which focuses on Greek-inspired modern food made with fresh, natural, and organic ingredients. With multiple locations across Dallas, its menu features Mediterranean dishes grilled in olive oil and accompanied by its signature dips, sauces, and seasoning blends. Popular items include salmon, calamari, and Greek lasagna.
Ziziki's Restaurant is known for its award-winning weekend champagne brunch and daily Happy Hour specials, which feature such appetizers as dolmades. Its Greek Wine Flights highlight a selection of reds and whites, and include an informational sheet complete with history and maps of the wine region. The eatery has earned recognition as a USA TODAY "10Best," while Zagat praises the food as "authentic" and "tasty."
In the #3 spot is Matt's El Rancho, a Tex Mex restaurant in Austin. Matt Martinez and his wife, Janie, opened it in 1952 with no employees, making everything from scratch. The eatery is known for its in-house tortilla factory, which grinds non-GMO corn daily, while the margaritas are made with fresh-squeezed lime juice.
The signature dish at Matt's El Rancho, the Bob Armstrong Dip, is named for the state's former land commissioner, and features pico de gallo, guacamole, taco meat, queso, and sour cream. The establishment has been featured in the cookbook "The Tacos of Texas," and Austin Eater named it one of "25 Classic Restaurants Every Austinite Must Try." Famous patrons over the years have included former baseball pitcher Roger Clemens and actors Matthew McConaughey, Timothy Busfield, and Melissa Gilbert.
Coming in at #4 is Jack Allen's Kitchen, which features locally sourced food and Southern-inspired flavors infused with the spice of Southwestern cuisine at its Austin area locations. Co-founded by chef Jack Gilmore, favorite menu items include smashed guacamole with pumpkin seeds and cotija cheese, and its crispy chicken lollipops appetizer. It is also known for its house-made desserts such as apple bourbon pecan cobbler, pineapple upside-down cake, and rustic pear-cranberry tart.
The eatery's cookbook, "Jack Allen's Kitchen: Celebrating the Tastes of Texas," includes seasonal recipes and profiles of local farmers and purveyors. Through its sister restaurant, Salt Traders Coastal Cooking, the team offers fresh seafood dishes such as American red snapper and lobster pot pie with lump blue crab. Media coverage includes the Austin American-Statesman and the Food Network.
Entering the list at #5 is B&B Butchers & Restaurant, an award-winning upscale steakhouse and traditional butcher shop specializing in high-quality meats. At its locations in Houston and Fort Worth, it serves Texas and Japanese Wagyu beef as well as dry-aged USDA Prime, all of which are hand-cut in-house. Specialties include lamb bacon, beef Wellington, and a steakhouse salad with filet mignon, tomatoes, arugula, and caramelized onions.
Prior to opening B&B Butchers & Restaurant, proprietor Benjamin Berg worked for luxury hotels and eateries in Las Vegas, Mexico City, and his hometown of New York. OpenTable named his eatery as one of the "Top 100 Steakhouses in America," and Wine Spectator honored it with an Award of Excellence in recognition of its vino list. Signature cocktails include the 19th Hole, made with Austin-based Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, and the French Diplomat.
Wrapping up the list at #6 is Goode Co. BBQ in Houston. Founded in 1977, the menu features such traditional barbecue favorites as brisket, sausage, and ribs served with sides like macaroni and cheese and potato salad. The eatery is known for using mesquite wood to smoke all of its meats.
The restaurant's shop offers such favorites as pralines, jalapeno cheese bread, and apparel including hats, T-shirts, and bandannas. It is part of the Goode Company chain, which includes restaurants that specialize in seafood, Tex Mex, and fried chicken. Media appearances include the Houston Chronicle, PaperCity Magazine, and Bloomberg.