Andiamo Ristorante. 2521 Rutland Drive. 512-719-3377, AndiamoItaliano.com. Authentic Italian in North Austin with a family-owned vibe and travelogue photos on the wall of the Italian peninsula. Try the ravioli di zucca.
Asti. 408 E. 43rd St. 512-451-1218, astiaustin.com. Neighborhood Italian with a sophisticated touch in the middle of Hyde Park. Get the rigatoni and add sausage.
Bartlett’s. 2408 W. Anderson Lane. 512-451-7333, bartlettsaustin.com. This restaurant has changed little since its transition from Houston’s, and that’s a good thing. You can still expect dishes like the popular French dip and an applewood-smoked pork.
Blue Dahlia Bistro. 1115 E. 11th St. 512-542-9542, BlueDahliaBistro.com. The shady back patio is something of a secret garden; the menu, an ode to light French cuisine.
The Bonneville. 202 W. Cesar Chavez St. 512-428-4643, TheBonnevilleAustin.com. Despite being located downtown, this spot can be hard to find. Attentive service and dishes like chicken under a brick make the discovery worth the search.
Café Josie. 1200 W. Sixth St. 512-322-9226, CafeJosie.com. You can still find plenty of fish at this West Austin staple that once boasted more of a Caribbean menu, but you can also enjoy items such as balsamic-glazed goat ribs.
Carillon. 1900 University Ave. 512-404-3655, thecarillonrestaurant.com. Thoughtful execution and robust flavors come from chef Josh Watkins’ kitchen in this high-ceilinged restaurant on the UT campus.
Chez Nous. 510 Neches St. 512-473-2413, ChezNousAustin.com. A little bit of French class amidst the boozy grumble and stumble of Sixth Street. Try the duck confit or housemade charcuterie.
Due Forni. 106 E. 6th St. 512-391-9300, dueforni.com. The restaurant serves Roman and Neapolitan pizzas, using two separate ovens. That means one group of pies with a thicker, puffier edge and another with a thin, crackery crust. Happy hour includes meatballs, charcutterie and cheese, and gnocchi for five dollars.
Eastside Café. 2113 Manor Road. 512-476-5858, EastsideCafeAustin.com. Comforting dishes that take a light approach, relying on seasonal vegetables at this quaint house in East Austin.
El Naranjo. 85 Rainey St. 512-474-2776, www.elnaranjo-restaurant.com. Renowned Mexico City chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita recently told me that El Naranjo chef/owner Iliana de la Vega is the best Mexican-born chef working in the United States. That’s all the bona fides you need to hear. Her restaurant is an oasis amid the Rainey Street noise.
Fabi & Rosi. 509 Hearn St. 512-236-0642, fabiandrosi.com. A pan-European menu is served in this elegant restaurant just west of MoPac.
Fino. 2905 San Gabriel St. 512-474-2905, FinoAustin.com. Mediterranean flavors dominate the menu at this handsome restaurant that features a relaxing wrap-around patio, perfect for enjoying one of the restaurant’s solid cocktails.
Green Pastures. 811 W. Live Oak St. 512-444-1888, greenpasturesrestaurant.com. Peacocks strut around the lush grounds of this Austin classic, where you can get a great rack of lamb and tempura fried lobster.
Roaring Fork. 701 Congress Ave. 512-583-0000; 10850 Stonelake Blvd. 512-342-2700, RoaringFork.com. Big Texas flavors in dishes such as tortilla soup, blackened redfish and beef short ribs in this restaurant tucked inside the bottom of the Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental Hotel.
Texas French Bread. 2900 Rio Grande St. 512-499-0544, TexasFrenchBread.com. Mild-mannered sunlit bakery by day, Texas French Bread turns down the lights and puts on some cool music at night (maybe Iron & Wine, maybe one of Radiohead’s mellower records) for a bistro that feels almost like a dinner party, which is how dinner service here originated.
Zax. 312 Barton Springs Road. 512-481-0100, ZaxAustin.com. A friendly atmosphere pervades this restaurant that features a quality tap wall and solid dishes such as Caesar salad, mussels and fries, and pan-seared duck breast. At lunch try one of their pizzas or the pulled pork quesadilla.